Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

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.

ALSO TRENDING:

Obama's to do list: Fix E-Verify, bring home our troops, learn to synch mouth with thoughts

The best solution for the Mississippi River

Drilling for oil on our turf

S.F.'s anti-circumcision proposition

America's changing morality

--Alexandra Le Tellier

 

Comments () | Archives (9)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Mitchell Young

'Beware' is ripping off, pretty much word for word, Peggy McIntosh's 'White Privilege [sic]: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack' . But maybe, as copyright and intellectual property laws are concepts created by eighteenth-century white men, by lifting McIntosh's work without attribution the poster striking a blow against the racist patriarchy.


blackaren

Ladies and gentlemen of the melanin-challenged persuasion may I have your attention for a minute. Reverse discrimination? Oom-galla-galla. There ain't no such animal. Ain't, ain't, ain't. When was thelast time you saw a unicorn? Now if you as the melanin-challenged are "upset" by being on the receiving end of what you have dished out throughout the history of America I can see where you would be a tad "testy".Because I don't care how you dice it, slice it, or deny it, y'all can dish it out but y'all can't take it. Reverse discrimination. Give me a break. It is just too ridiculous for words. But obviously not for you the melanin-challenged have "coined" one.I ain't upset that you've "coined" a word, I ain't even upset that you're up-in-arms about the injustice of it. What I am upset about is that you, the melanin-challenged are sellin' the bill of goods and "expect" me to buy it. Okay so I look dumb. Believe me when I tell you I am far from it. I'll continue this.

blackaren

I'm b-a-a-a-c-k. Oops, maybe I should have said I'm b-l-a-a-a-c-k. But I don't think this is a secret. Reverse discrimination Ain't that a kick in the head. That is right up there with "good" slave owners. I know what the implication is. But explain to me like I am a four year old how you can "own" another human and yet perceive yourself as "good"? It boggles my mind.It's the same premise behind reverse-discrimination. It don't woik. Although if I were melanin-challenged I am sure I would have the "proper" appreciation for such a term. In spite of the idiocy.Y'all the melanin-challenged need to stop trippin'. And even though a lot of melanin-challenged feel outrage at the idea of reverse-discrimination, I know all melanin-challenged folk ain't the "enemy" of the people of color. I don't even dislike the melanin-challenged who dislike people of color. I don't trust them but I don't dislike them. Hey maybe the Supreme Court will rule that reverse -discrimination is unconstitutional. They ruled that discrimination was.Hopefully the melanin-challened won't have to wait on a decision as long as the people of color did.

Julio Childers

If Whites could be trusted in hiring equally then there wouldn't be a problem, but Whites believe they are more entitled in employment over minorities and that is the real issue.

Mitchell Young

@Julio

Why is it that just about every employee in McDonalds, Jack in the Box, etc, these days is Mexican or Mexican-American? It's not like these are 'jobs that Americans (black, white, etc) won't do' -- right here in SoCal your neighborhood In-n-Out will have an integrated workforce. I suspect that ethnic networks keep non-Latinos out, a dynamic that is probably at work in other fields, such as construction. It would be interesting to find out, but I won't hold my breath for the current DOJ or any academic to look at such practices.

Test Test

"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."

NOT TRUE. A white male under 5'6" will be asked if he works at Best Buy if he's shopping there and wearing a Polo shirt. If he's wearing a T-Shirt, people will assume he's unemployed.

"I can take a job with an affirmative action employer and not have everyone suspect that's how I got the job."

And the Affirmative Action manager, who is your boss, will simply say "jealous?" And if you play his game, and respond in an way way, you'll be fired.

Affirmative Action beneficiaries aren't ashamed the standards are lower for them anymore. They are proud of the fact that it is easier for them to succeed, and that they have greater probability of success.

"I can easily choose to work where most, if not all, are the same race as me"

Clearly not in New York or Los Angeles. I'm not sure what decade you're getting your demographic statitics from.

You cannot, legally, work for any government contractor in which most of the employees are white. They MUST have an affirmative action plan in place. Nor, can you, legally, work for any government agency with such an expectation. In fact, expressing such a desire would not only be impractical, it would get you fired. You're not allowed to dream of such a world.

On the other hand, there's plenty of minority-owned SDB contractors where nearly every employee is black. There's plenty where nearly every employee is Indian. There's plenty where nearly every employee is Hispanic. They have no legal requirement to change.


Finally, as mentioned below, 'Beware' is copying and pasting from a book published in 1989. A year in which, notably, most employees who are just staring their career would have been two years old.

Perhaps this argument was already as out of date when it was published, and is laughable now. I mean, Botha was running South Africa when this book came out. Now, whites in South Africa can't get jobs and have to flee--and if they head north up to Zimbabwae they'll be killed. If things change that fast in South Africa, how quickly did they change in the US?

Only current facts count, Thanks.

-----

Finally, I started out my post with the example of a white male who is 5' 5" or less. (This group would include myself.)

I would say that before Affirmative Action, very short whites were equal to minorities--as far as where their looks would get them. Life seemed somewhat fair--a person could be black and tall, or white and short--but would be unlikely to be both black and short. By reducing the number of variables--through affirmative action--the plight of short white males got worse.

Ask yourself, do you know any white males under 5'5" who are wealthy, personally--without resorting to a history book or a national magazine? How many?

Do you personally know any blacks who are wealthy?

Who's worse off?

Test Test

"I suspect that ethnic networks keep non-Latinos out"

Pienso es la idoma. Y si no es la idioma, es el acento. Tu padres hablan espanol?

Mine didn't and it shows.

And yes, if we asked "did you parents speak English?" for any job except radio announcer it probably would be descrimination.

unclesmrgol

What we expect as individuals is that our various governments, all bound by the Constitution of the United States, will treat each of us in a fair manner, and will not hold our race, creed, or national origin against us. When governmental organizations are required or allowed to consider race in the awarding of benefits, there's a problem, period.

reverse discrimination exists and has existed since the early 1970's. When an applicant for the Teacher Corps is rejected merely because his skin is not brown enough, and unqualified people accepted in his place, that's just as bad as when an HR person at a large corporation doing business with the Government deliberately downscores minority applicants and upscores his white friends for a Government-sponsored training program.

In both cases, people far outside the individuals involved are affected -- the kids in the Teacher Corps case get teachers who look like them but who can't teach mathematics, and in the HR case, the individuals are unqualified for the work for which they are trained.

blackkaren might not see the similarities in the two situations (use of government resources to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, or national origin), but I do, having witnessed them both.

sailhardy241

Unhappily, affirmative action is a denial of Martin Luther King Jr's dream. He said that he hoped his children would be judged "by the content of their character, not the colour of their skin." Affirmative action does require judgement by skin colour. It should also be noted that our president, in his speech on race in Philadelphia, 2008, said that affirmative action penalises people who have done nothing wrong. Thus far, he has done nothing about that, but that may be because he does not care much that people are denied opportunity because of their race. He, personally, has not been denied anything because of his race.


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video


Categories


Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »

Archives
 


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



In Case You Missed It...