Reversing Discrimination: The Case for Affirmative Action

Reversing Discrimination: The Case for Affirmative Action

Reversing Discrimination: The Case for Affirmative Action

Reversing Discrimination: The Case for Affirmative Action

Synopsis

A thorough overview and hard-hitting polemic for more affirmative action as the best path to more democracy now, on a path to socialism.

Excerpt

Affirmative action is the name given to a number of policies designed to overcome past and present discrimination and provide opportunity for those traditionally denied it. Although African Americans are often singled out as the sole beneficiary of affirmative action, the fact is that recipients have included Latinos, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and--perhaps the most significant beneficiary--non-ethnic minority women. It is apparent that the effort to point to affirmative action as a "black program" and not what it is, i.e., a program designed to benefit the nation's majority, is just another effort to build on racial resentments backed by centuries of "Afro-phobia!" in order to hamper steps toward equality.

Affirmative action in this country traditionally has been limited to employment and education. Yet, in the broadest sense affirmative action can be viewed as any conscious efforts to reverse discrimination. Most often in the U.S., however, affirmative action is the term used to describe such relatively benign steps as insuring that job openings are advertised in mass media usually read by affirmative action recipients, e.g., ms. magazine or the Washington Afro-American; or fire departments setting up tables in Harlem to insure that job openings are brought to the attention of African Americans; or a university making special steps to insure that schools in heavily Latino East Los Angeles receive their brochures. Affirmative action can also mean that employers or schools must meet goals and timetables to make sure that their labor force or student body is racially and ethnically diverse and gender balanced. As we approach the 21st century and it becomes clear that a larger percentage of the work force will be oppressed minorities and non-minority women, affirmative action looms as not a matter of charity but a tool to insure economic viability. Otherwise this . . .

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