Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Affirmative Actionomics



Forgive me in advance, but when a Black man says that affirmative action should be repealed because it hurts White people it conjures up Richard Pryor's old comedy album, "That Negro's (sic) Crazy". Now I am not trying to start or end an N-word debate, just having a fit of unplugged, cold-filtered, honesty.

Nevertheless, this brief relief only makes it all the more difficult to argue in concert for the repeal of affirmative action, mind you not for its unfairness to Whites, per the words of he who shall not be named, but rather what it has wrought upon its targeted benefactors, Blacks. When you shift a whole group of people from their center of competence, you may not knock them out of the game, but you sure as heck knock them off their competitive stride. So it is no wonder that the under performance of Blacks which we witness in higher education makes its way to the workplace, and throughout every nook-and-cranny of our census tracks.

Who would argue with the logic of not putting average students in high school into advanced placement (AP) classes? To do so would surely commit those students to needless struggle, hampered learning, and under achievement. Yet this is exactly what affirmative action does in college admissions. The ethnic plus factors propels said recipients into more rigorous settings that drag down their performance, grades, attitudes, and future success.

As it stands, we could aptly rename this brand of affirmative action as 'catch and release' owing to recruitment programs, lower grades, and higher dropout rates. This recurring sham is the direct result of promoting Black students into situations where the competition takes them to task, minus the protection of the admission's officers, donning their peel-and-stick gold stars for whatever 'lure' worked this season.

Programs to help Blacks and others earn their way into all tiers of higher education are definitely needed and will deliver if given the chance. What is not helping is the 'set-up' for greater failure that affirmative action delivers today, as some perennially sing 'we shall overcome…someday'.

James C. Collier

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3 comments:

Asabagna said...

nice post! Happy New Year!

Professor Zero said...

But the principle of affirmative action is not to place people in situations they can't handle. It's to give an advantage to the Black candidate when there are two equally qualified candidates, one white and one Black. Why? To correct centuries of having done the opposite.

James C. Collier said...

Affirmative action assumes inequality and was never meant to be a tie-breaker, but rather a race-based boost to compensate Blacks for a history of inadequate support. The addmissions boost is not sustainable as reflected in lower grades and higher drop-outs/academic dismissals. The net result is fewer degreed Black professionals, with the greater disparity this brings.