Saturday, November 18, 2006

Affirmative Action – The 'Ugly' Truth

Whether you agree with this article or not, please forward it to anyone you know who is concerned with the issue of Affirmative Action in the Black Community. If you love what I have to say and it empowers you, or even if you hate it and think I'm crazy, pass it on for the sake of critical analysis. We must begin to think more critically about Affirmative Action, and not simply assume that since it was created for our benefit that it is automatically beneficial.

If you can't be objective and pass this on, it's probably because you know I'm right and don't want to admit it...

On Tuesday, November 9th, Affirmative Action was overturned in Michigan. I don't have to tell you how heated most Detroiters were about this. I know that many assumed that the racists in West Michigan passed Proposal 2, and that it was because nobody wants the Black man to get ahead.

However, I supported Proposal 2 as well. Me; a Black woman from Detroit, from the 'hood, not living high on the hog by any means (yet), and not what many of us would call 'an Oreo'. Me, with my Black self, was glad that Proposal 2 passed.

Now here it comes...

'What? How could you be glad about that? Are you one of those Black Republicans that thinks racism no longer exists in America? What about systematic and institutional racism? Did you think that went away? What are you, a sell out?'

I know that racism still exists. Yes, I am a Black Republican, but I used to be a Democrat, and I wasn't a fan of Affirmative Action then, either. And no, I'm not a sell out.

I'm a truth seeker. And the truth is that the issue of whether or not Black Americans should support Affirmative Action has little to do with racism any more at all. The issue is whether or not it's working...and its not.

'How can you say it's not working? There are thousands of Black people who have received opportunities that otherwise would not be afforded them without Affirmative Action. You sound like a house nigger...'

Sigh...Affirmative Action is not working as an agent for change like the architects may have thought it would. Affirmative Action is not creating a more racially tolerant, evenly integrated academic and corporate 'playing field' in this country. Affirmative Action is a 'nigga quota', everybody knows it (except us apparently), and it is actually having the opposite effect on American culture. It's dividing the races; many White Americans resent it and us because of it. Those who foster a paternalistic view of Black America anyway because of their cultural environment feel justified when they examine our love and devotion to Affirmative Action. White students and coworkers often assume that Black attendance at certain schools and employment at certain levels are due to Affirmative Action, and not because those people deserve to be there. What's even worse is that instead of encouraging Black Americans to be more excellent, Affirmative Action actually encourages those who take advantage of it to harbor feelings of entitlement and to accept mediocrity because the competitive playing field must be manually 'leveled' for the sake of their Blackness, regardless of the competence and confidence found in those who exhibit superior performance or qualifications. These sentiments aren't just coming from the mind of I.C. Jackson, but from many recipients of Affirmative Action 'benefits' themselves.

Since many of you still seem to think the world owes you something because your forefathers were slaves, let's cover this now: the only people owed reparations are former slaves, and possibly the immediate children of former slaves. They were the ones who did the work and literally depended on that lost income. Of course I am not calculating the oppression, denial, second-class citizenship, or the racist intimidation when I make such statements; however, those factors are not technically relevant to the point. No one owes you money for work you did not do. While grandchildren of slaves might have some kind of argument because they were in such close proximity to the direct affects of slavery, you my friend are so far removed from those lost wages that you have absolutely no right to lay a claim to them or to any other special treatment for that matter. Just because you are qualified for a job, that does not mean you are supposed to get it! Nobody owes you the debt of hiring you, especially if there is another candidate who might exceed the qualifications. Does that mean whenever qualified Black people are turned down for jobs that there must have been a more qualified candidate? No. Racism in the workplace does very much exist. However, it does not mean that any time a qualified Black candidate is denied that it is because of racism. So how do you determine which is which? Where is the justice? Well, I can tell you one thing; justice will not be found in a forcefully imposed 'nigga quota'. Justice is found in attaining equal rights, not special rights.

So now that we are clear on the fact that no one owes you anything, we can get down the nitty gritty. Affirmative Action is not healthy for the American psyche, Black American or otherwise. It does not promote higher achievement and standards, which are all that Black America should be promoting right now, especially in Southeast Michigan (hate it if you want, but that's real). Furthermore, it promotes government dependency as well. How many Black people in Detroit complained about how now their 'opportunities' were being cut off because of the loss of Affirmative Action. Excuse me? Did you forget how many Black Americans graduated from prestigious White universities BEFORE Affirmative Action? Did you forget how many Black Americans succeeded in corporate America as well as in entrepreneurship BEFORE Affirmative Action policies? And maybe its just me, but if the only reason you are giving me a second look is because you have a 'nigga quota' to fill, I don't want your stinking job or 'opportunity' anyway. I believe in earning my keep, and if I can't fairly and justly earn my keep with you and your camp, then I will go elsewhere.


Look Black America, we don't need Affirmative Action to succeed, and its an insult to who we are for anyone to insinuate that we can't go on to greater heights without it. When Proposal 2 passed, you got your true worth back. Even if you have to be smarter, work harder, and far surpass the rest in order to get the respect you deserve, it only makes you better. Didn't you guys see Rudy? Great movie...the underdog of underdog movies, but it is by far the most moving. Rudy wasn't even excellent at what he did, but he refused to give up until he achieved his goal fair and square. Black America, let us exercise some self respect and do the same.

Be blessed,

I.C. Jackson


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