Friday, July 30, 2004

III. Issues Where I Disagree with Nader or Feel He Isn’t Being Honest
a) Affirmative Action

"Maintain commitment to affirmative action"
After more than 300 years of affirmative action to benefit white males, we definitely need affirmative action for people of color and women to offset enduring historic wrongs as well as present-day inequalities.

First off, jews don’t receive any benefit of 300 years of affirmative action, although they received quite a few quotas over the years and continue to be victims of discrimination. Many other groups who were victims of historic discrimination such as the Irish, the Italians, and peoples from the Orient are not included in this group.
Members of groups that are given benefits, such as African-American, Hispanic, and Native American are not tested individually to see if they have personally suffered the effects of discrimination. One can be a recent immigrant to this country from Nigeria, having never had family that suffered under the aftereffects of slavery, yet count as having suffered from historic discrimination as an African American. Somebody can be the scion of wealthy immigrants from Mexico City, yet be viewed as disadvantaged and receive help. Your father could be the beneficiary of millions of dollars of casino wealth, yet still you have mysteriously suffered because you are half Native American.

If we want to have a policy of Affirmative Action, let’s have a policy where people must prove, through documentation, the historical discrimination that they have suffered. Otherwise we will end up with stories like these – of individuals who seem to be doing quite fine, yet get bumped up with the unneeded help of Affirmative Action.

Affirmative-action programs should not be based on quotas, and race and gender should not be the predominant factor in choosing qualified applicants. A good affirmative- action program uses a variety of methods to achieve the goal of increasing diversity, including using race and gender as one of many factors in evaluating the suitability of an applicant.

Here the platform disavows quotas, but does not specify how strong should the factor should be. What assurances do we have that the factor will not end up being just the right strength to ensure the number of applicants that would have present with a quota? And since admissions to jobs or schools is often a zero-sum game, having a quota to raise one group up necessitates lowering other groups that are “overrepresented,” such as Jews, Asians, and Indians. What assurances do these groups have that this will not occur?

Another problem with Affirmative Action is that it is not promoting racial reconciliation. Rather Rather studies have shown quite the opposite. Worse, it may promote a new era of racism, as the groups discriminated against by the programs resent the groups that they feel have unjustly benefited. And those that succeed on their own, without the help of affirmative action, are stuck with the unremovable stigma that they took advantage of the system as my mentor, Professor Marcus Cole, personally describes here.

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