The other day, I made a comment to someone about my dissatisfaction with the results of the Presidential election. Immediately, this other person accused me of racism. And, no matter how many reasons, pretty good reasons to my way of thinking, that I gave, this person insisted my vote had to be based on racism. That is an untrue charge and that person refused to accept my arguments because he didn’t recognize the sweeping, societal changes that have occurred. In today’s America, a person should be able to choose a candidate, or employee, or friend, based on the individual’s personal qualities, and not the skin color. To blatantly label any decision not favoring a given ethnic group is racist.
We Americans have changed since the Civil Rights movement began. We began financial, governmental and legal policies to erase the effects of slavery and the discrimination that stemmed from it. One response, affirmative action , attempted to reduce discrimination in college entrances, job promotions, sports, and almost every sphere of American society. Personally, I think affirmative action in its original form is unAmerican. Good governmental policies should never hurt one group in order to help another, especially when the helping hand usually meant welfare. No, market forces actually drove discrimination away. Discrimination disappeared because it wasn’t economically feasible to keep talented people out of the work force or schools, based on their ethnicity. After all, we need the most skilled person in every job!
Now, we have a President elect who is half black. Certainly the presidency carries the greatest prestige of almost any job in the world — and that fact should provide positive proof that discrimination no longer is a determining factor for the majority of Americans!
With Senator Obama’s election, a Black man or Asian woman or Hispanic or just about anyone knows that he/she can achieve whatever he sets out to do in America. For the last eight years, President Bush’s hiring policies were mostly ignored, but he was a classic example of someone who recognized an individual’s talents, not the color of package those talents came in. All of these changes show that Americans want to move past discrimination. Affirmative action, as originally designed, no longer is needed and should be eliminated so that we choose the “best”, available person for every job without consideration of skin color.
It is time for affirmative action to be redefined to mean actively seeking the best person for the job or position….affirming that someone is the right person for the job. Black, Asian, or Hispanic people should not be given extra points just for being non-White because that ultimately destroys their achievement if they succeed. No. All should compete on a level playing field and even a White person should have an equal opportunity to compete. Let’s leave racism, or suggestions of racism behind. Affirmative action can, and should, be the “New Deal”.