Affirmative action counterproductive

Chris Johnson

During the latter days of high school, a couple of my friends were complaining about a potential, and they believed common, consequence of affirmative action: a hard working white person is denied entry into a college because the school must enroll an undeserving African-American. This is a dangerously simple viewpoint of affirmative action, yet it might not be all that irrational. If a reward’s only prerequisite is an ascribed status (in this case, race), then there will be those unfairly denied. Regardless of the prerequisite’s reason, the denied are punished for something for which they have no control.

The reasoning of the program reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld. During this episode, George develops a theory that if everything he does is wrong, then “the opposite must be right.” By doing the opposite of whatever he would normally do, George gets a girlfriend, an apartment and a job with the New York Yankees.

Yet, George’s rags-to-riches fairytale can only happen in a polarized, scripted world. There may be plenty of Americans who view a polarized world, but our world has many unforeseen, random events. In our repercussive world, doing the opposite will only change the victims of the problem.

However, our black and white country did the opposite. The new victims of the same problem are, as chosen by the solution, the lower-class whites. In theory, affirmative action is much more likely to aid a middle-class or upper-class minority than a lower-class white. The stupidity of the situation is that not all minorities are poor, not all whites are middle-class, and people can belong to multiple races.

Yet, that is the prevailing viewpoint held by affirmative action; a dangerously simple viewpoint much like the one I described above (and one that is more irrational). As of now, the only thing affirmative action has conclusively accomplished is transferring America’s academic discrimination from the minorities to the lower-class whites. There is no girlfriend, no apartment and no job – only the same problem with different victims.

Affirmative action is not a plan; it’s the scapegoat’s reaction to a problem. By transferring the same problem unto the opposite party, the scapegoat has shut up those specific complainers. The problem does not lie within the product; it lies within the complainer. By making them stop their complaining, you have solved the problem. Reaction and repetition, but no prevention.