Sunday, August 24, 2003

Why do they always blame America first?

The recent celebrations of Martin Luther King's triumphs brought to mind a related subject: Affirmative action. At least for me, most of the blogging on that issue I've googled up seems to be from June or July. Some of it is excellent though.

From Alas, A blog:

Here's the choice we have: do we have a big overall advantage for whites (no affirmative action), or do we have a somewhat smaller overall advantage for whites (affirmative action)? In real life, that's the choice we have as a society, right now. We don't get to choose whether racism exists or not (it does); we don't get to choose to make the white advantage go away (it won't). All we can choose is whether or not we'll support a policy which will reduce the extent of the pro-white discrimination.

When America dealt with racial strife a few decades ago, they did something that to my knowledge no other nation has ever done in similar circumstances. They recognized that many Americans were disenfranchised, a few to the point where they did not always consider America's gain to be their gain. They made laws against racial discrimination, but they knew those laws would be impossible to enforce. Who can really prove one man refused to hire another for a certain reason? Of course in the case of some large corporations statistical studies could be done, but there would always be excuses. Nobody applied. They didn't have the right education because somebody else discriminated against them, so it's not our fault! The dog ate our homework, err, records, ect.

To partially compensate for the imposibility of enforcing the law, affirmative action was created. It was done not merely out of idealism, but also to strengthen America. The vast majority of minorities came to believe they had at least a chance to succeed in America, and that her gain was their gain. From the armed forces to all the easier jobs, they have invested themselves in America.

Now there are some who say that this policy, practiced as far as I know by nobody but Americans, (certainly not the French!) was wrong. They say that African Americans who achieve are stigmatized because people believe they only did so through affirmative action. Many people who believe this would hate them for other reasons even if there were no affirmative action. The program is not perfect, but when we look at how other nations around the world have dealt with minorities disenfranchised to the point of violence, it brings renewed appreciation of the American way. Those who say we are wrong and everyone else is right should think hard before being so eager to blame America first.

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