May 31 buzz: Accusations of reverse discrimination
Most viewed, commented and shared: The unhappy white majority
Gregory Rodriguez's column addresses a recent Wall Street Journal article about a survey on how whites and blacks view one another.
Over the past decade, we've seen a rising tide of aggrieved white folks. Accusations of reverse discrimination have increased, along with high-profile court cases like the one filed by firefighters in New Haven, Conn., in which white men claimed they were denied potential promotions because of their race. (The Supreme Court agreed.)
Reader "Beware" weighs in on the discussion board with what it means to live in a society with institutionalized racism, including this entry:
- I can curse, wear raggedy clothes, speak loudly or clown around in public without it being contributed to the detriment of the bad morals or illiteracy of my entire race.
- If I am asked for ID I can reasonably be sure my race had no consideration in the request. Whether it is from a store when writing a check or using a credit card, or questioning from law enforcement.
- I don’t worry about my children being treated unfairly because of their race and I can protect them from most people who might not like them.
- I can go into any grocery store and find food that fits my cultural traditions, I can walk into any salon and find someone able to cut my hair.
- I can easily choose to work where most, if not all, are the same race as me.
- When I watch tv or read a magazine most of the people represented are the same race as me.
- On the news and in the newspaper most people are depicted in a positive way.
- If I was involved in a natural (or otherwise) disaster and out of necessity had to scavenge for food, I would most likely not be thought a looter or criminal.
- I am never asked to speak for my entire race.
- I can take a job with an affirmative action employer and not have everyone suspect that's how I got the job.
Is there a remedy? Here is reader “GregMaragos” on the topic:
Affirmative Action and other well-intentioned programs like it are paradoxical in that they attempt to counter the ill-effects of racial discrimination with more racial discrimination--but racial discrimination that is carefully engineered to achieve a desirable social outcome. In effect, we've accepted--even embraced--racial discrimination as an unavoidable fact of everyday life that will always define who we are as human beings and what we are able to achieve in society. Therefore, since we cannot eliminate bad racial discrimination, we must counterbalance its effects with "good" racial discrimination. The end result should greatly resemble, at least in theory, a society with NO racial discrimination, since these two competing forces will more or less cancel one another out.
The spirit of Affirmative Action says, "let's help somebody overcome these unjust social constructs and achieve everything he is capable of". In practice it says, "I'm sorry, Mr. Jones--your grades are good and your SAT's score is stellar--but, darn it, I'm looking at your skin, and it's just not the right color. You can't attend the University of Michigan Law School. Better luck next time!"
Racial equality SHOULD mean that you treat everybody the same, REGARDLESS of race. Rodriguez and others, however, still believe race plays a role in YOUR role in society.
--Alexandra Le Tellier