The affirmative action debate ebbs and flows with prevailing political tides, surfacing recently in a proposed class-based version. Despite continuing battles over race-based affirmative action, the Obama administration appears strongly in support of such programs. That hasn't stopped critics from finding new, and more interesting, ways of attacking them.
In an op-ed contribution for The Los Angeles Times, Gregory Rodriguez asserts that affirmative action should be abolished in order to prevent "destructive white backlash" that will damage an increasingly diverse America. Instead of questioning affirmative action on its merits, Rodriguez urges halting the initiatives to assuage a "growing perception among whites that the deck has been stacked against them." While he admits that the programs, when first conceived, were filled with good intentions, they have ultimately outgrown their intended benefits to "a small percentage of the U.S. population."
Here are the highlights of his case:
Is there hard evidence that whites are hurt by affirmative action? No...But such data are not likely to change the growing perception among whites that the deck has been stacked against them. The number of court cases in which whites claim reverse discrimination is going up, and we're routinely hearing the cries of white minority victimhood. And it's not just coming from white nationalists.
On a potential "white backlash":
As whites in more states become the minority, they will seek to protect what they perceive to be their self-interest, or will be seduced by the siren song of minority victimology that has captivated other groups. Or both. As I see it, we can either end such programs sooner with less pain or suffer the consequences of a much more brutally divisive battle later. It's hard enough to get along in a diverse society. We don't need the remedy for institutionalized racism to create more racial tensions.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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