The richest quality that the United States should take pride in is the diversity of our people. Diversity includes the very intricate and complex cultures and races that make up our population. In American history, however, certain racial groups were not treated equally which caused serious damage to the advancement of these oppressed groups.
President Kennedy issued an executive order in 1961 to combat the damage of oppression on minority groups. The order called for institutions to take “affirmative action to ensure” equal opportunity. This policy applied to schools, contractors, agencies, and businesses alike.
The question then is, in 2017 is it still necessary to implement policies such as affirmative action or is the idea in itself inherently racist?
It is so ironic that in the process of repairing past injustices, the affirmative action policy completely contradicts the entire civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that he strives to “look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” With affirmative action, this really isn’t the case.
Affirmative action, though a remedy at one point in American history, fails to create a color-blind community that we constantly strive for. It overprotects groups of people who are completely capable of competing for a seat in a school or entry-level job position without a “booster seat.” Affirmative action does not let true academic and personal achievements decide the entry of a student, but whether or not they will help a race quota be met.
The Supreme Court has also seen its fair share of court cases regarding affirmative action from both sides of the aisle. A famous case, University of California v. Bakke, explored the fine line of reverse racism and racial quotas that resulted from these affirmative policies. Allan Bakke, a white male, applied to the University of California medical school only to be denied twice. The school maintained an affirmative action policy that reserved sixteen out of one-hundred seats for qualified minorities. Bakke’s qualifications far surpassed those who achieved these sixteen spots.
University of California v. Bakke shows that all applicants, despite race, are being reviewed with their ethnicity in mind, causing legal problems. In reality, race has nothing to do with academic or professional ability.
As suggested, the entry of a job or school should not be judged by ethnicity. Character, academic achievement, and merit should constitute advancement. This argument is in no way suggesting that racism isn’t still alive, because it is. It is just showing that assisting a certain group in society is actually not pursuing diversity, it is ignoring honest work ethic. Affirmative action policies are falsely focusing on a person’s skin, when really it should be focusing on value.