Does Racism Still Exist? Do We Still Need Affirmative Action?

  • Scholarships that use race as a determining factor are inherently racist.
  • Affirmative action programs are inherently racist.
  • Racism exists, but not to the extent that the media portrays.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines racism as “racial prejudice or discrimination.” There are thousands of scholarships available exclusively for African-Americans, Latino Americans, or Arab Americans. And while it is true that every few years someone attempts to start a very minor scholarship for Caucasians only, these scholarships often become defunct and quickly fall under intense scrutiny for being racist or for promoting white supremacy.

Affirmative Action policies encourage or mandate preference be given to groups of minority status for hiring or admission purposes. There are a large amount of federal affirmative action laws and twenty eight states have programs or policies that directly encourage or mandate preference be given to minority groups in college admissions, state employment, and state contracting.

The term “affirmative action” was first used in the United States in “Executive Order No. 10925”, signed by President John F. Kennedy on 6 March 1961, which included a provision that government contractors “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin”.

In 2014 the Supreme Court ruled that States could end affirmative action programs, however the Supreme Court has also ruled that affirmative action programs and using race as a factor in college admissions is constitutional. They made their decision despite multiple cases challenging that using race as a factor in admissions violates the Fourteenth Amendment.

Currently a group of Asian-Americans is suing Harvard because they believe that Harvard discriminates against Asians because of their high achievement as a race. The group argues that Harvard gives preference to the applications of minority groups such as African-Americans, Latino-Americans, and Arab-Americans.

Most readers have probably been able to figure out where this argument is going. Using race as a factor in employment, college admissions, and scholarship eligibility is inherently racist. If racism is to cease to exist in modern America then race cannot be a factor in determining hiring, admission, or scholarships. And, if you truly want to help those at a disadvantage, artificially raising them up because of their race is not the best way to do it.

Texas eliminated their affirmative action program relating to college admissions and replaced it with a policy that guarantees high school graduates in the top ten percent of their class would get into a state college. This program guarantees that if you have the intelligence and put in the work you are guaranteed college admissions, without race being a factor. Scholarships should be based solely on necessity and merit, race should play no part.

The only demographics that should be taken into account for scholarships is income and academic performance. This makes sure that scholarships go where they are needed most and where they are earned. It makes sure that a scholarship is not going to someone because of their race.

The largest argument for affirmative action policies, may be the best argument against them. The argument is that minorities could not take advantage of these scholarships or the ten percent plan. This is because without the built in curve of affirmative action, because of decades of oppression and the environment in which they were raised, minorities simply could not, in large amounts, get into the top ten percent of their class, or get into college. This argument hits at the very crux of the issue. Because of the culture and environment, created through decades of oppression, impoverished minorities would have a hard time competing with wealthier Caucasians without a built in advantage.

So is the solution to give minorities a built in advantage? Absolutely not. This will do nothing but increase dependence on that built in advantage and perpetuate the problem. The solution is to change the environment in which many minorities are unfortunately born into, the inner cities, the low rent housing projects, and the many ghettos that exist throughout America. If racism is to end, this has to become a reality.

Morgan Freeman (born June 1, 1937) is an American actor, film director, and film narrator. Freeman won an Academy Award in 2005 for Best Supporting Actor with Million Dollar Baby (2004), and he has received Oscar nominations for his performances in Street Smart (1987), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), and Invictus (2009).

Another question to be asked is, how prevalent is racism? According to the media and society in general, racism is extremely prevalent. However, I don’t know anyone who I’ve seen commit a racist act or harbor a racist opinion. Am I saying that racism does not exist? Of course not. The existence of organizations such as the Klu Klux Klan or neo-Nazi groups proves this is not true. However those groups have far less power now than they once did and the vast majority of society would support the dissolution of these groups.

Why than does it seem like every time you turn around there is some horrifying display of racism? It is because society looks for racism everywhere? With every incident of a police officer shooting a black man, justified or not, the media and activists alike are quick to call it a blatant act of racism. Every tweet that could be interpreted to even hint at race, is immediately categorized as a statement advocating for white supremacy and Jim Crow. Whoever wrote the tweet is immediately fired and blacklisted.

Race, like so many other demographics, has become something that must be tiptoed around, and if you slip up you are ostracized and ridiculed. Perhaps the issue is not having enough black actors in your movie, or perhaps you simply don’t like or agree with some aspect of a minority’s culture. Whatever the case, very few times is it actually racist or intentional.

As a white guy many would argue that I don’t have the right or the knowledge to talk about racism. So let me borrow the words of a black man, and my absolute favorite actor, Morgan Freeman. When an interviewer asked Mr. Freeman how we should end racism, his response was unexpected and beautiful. He simply responded, “well stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”

Does this mean that if you see a horrendous display of racism then you shouldn’t do something? Of course not. What this means is that you shouldn’t make everything about race and you shouldn’t go out into the world looking for racism. If you wake up looking to find racism you will, regardless of whether or not it’s actually there. Instead wake up looking to find the good in people and the good in society, because it is that kind of attitude that will end racism.

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Kyle Reynolds

I'm a young political activist who loves commenting and writing about politics and political trends. I love to write about the stories that interest and intrigue me and I love being able to get the writing out there and being able to see the reactions to my writing. 

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