Affirmative action (or positive discrimination, employment equity, reservation, positive action) is policies which discriminate and apply double standards in favor of certain groups, such as racial/ethnic groups or gender groups, which are argued to be disadvantaged. Most typically, it applies to selection of persons for employment or education, but may also apply to activities such as public contracting and health programs.
- Usually the goal with affirmative action is that the workforce or student body should have the same demographic composition as the general population. The underlying assumption is that all groups have equal abilities and that therefore all subgroups in a society should have the same demographic composition as the general population and that any difference regarding this must be due to harmful factors such as racism, sexism, and so on.
- If the underlying assumption is wrong, then affirmative action will cause less able persons to be chosen before more able persons, with harmful effects for the efficiency of the organizations and the societies practicing affirmative action.
- Affirmative action may cause people from the favored groups to be looked upon negatively, since they may be suspected to have gained education and employment by displacing more able persons from other groups.
- Another effect is that it may cause people to falsely or on dubious reasons grounds identify themselves as belonging to one of the groups favored by affirmative action.
- Affirmative action privileges may cause privileged groups to try to inflate their apparent share of the general population, since this will inflate the number of group members who will receive the special privileges, such as due to quotas in higher education. See also the articles on One-drop rule and Homosexuality: Public perceptions of the prevalence of homosexuality. Related are attempts by groups to avoid being labeled as Whites, so that they can receive the privileges given to non-White groups, as discussed in White privilege: Criticisms.
- Many such policies tend to affect only the most able in the groups favored by affirmative actions (such as students seeking admission to universities in competition with other top students), while not affecting other members of the favored group.
- Affirmative action may also cause problems for an individual by placing him in a position that is beyond his abilities (mismatching). For example, an affirmative action student may possibly have trouble graduating from an education that is too difficult, with possible negative consequences such as accumulating a large student debt before dropping out.
- Ethnic heterogeneity and other forms of diversity may have various harmful effects, such as creating conflicts between groups that do not exist in a homogeneous organization.
- The special legal benefits and beneficial double standards for some groups can be seen as anti-White legal discrimination and/or legal racism.
Affirmative action and Jews
Jewish quota was a percentage that limited the number of Jews in various establishments. In particular, in the 19th and the 20th centuries some countries had Jewish quotas for higher education. This had in some cases similarities to affirmative action policies. Such policies were strongly opposed by Jewish organizations.
Jews are greatly over-represented in comparison to their share of the population in many situations in, for example, the United States. See the article on Jewish influence. Yet today affirmative action policies are almost never directed at Jews, but instead at Whites who are less over-represented.
In policies affected by affirmative action, such as admission policies, Jews may be counted as Whites. This means that if this combined group is given an admission quota in proportion to the share of the population of this combined group, but Jews for some reason(s) are over-represented in the admission, then the non-Jewish Whites will be under-represented.
See also Jewish influence: Proposed causes on Jews being greatly over-represented as students at elite universities in the United States and Whites being discriminated against.
Affirmative action and East Asians
Affirmative action and sports
In South Africa, affirmative action is not in favor of a minority group, but is in the favor of the Black majority.
In 2014, public service managers were stated to be encouraged to keep posts vacant rather than fill them with Whites. “In the name of transformation, managers in the public service have actually been incentivised to keep whites out for racial and ideological reasons. Better to leave a vacancy unfilled than to put a white person into it.” This was argued to set up newly-qualified young Black recruits for failure and their failures in turn hurt countless numbers of people dependent on the public service. Such affirmative action policies have been blamed for the death of three babies due to water contamination due to a municipality having lost its capacity to maintain the sewer plant. Affirmative action, cadre deployment, and impunity were argued to mean that appointments to government jobs very often were made on grounds of race and/or political allegiance to the ruling party, while skills and experience were subordinate criteria. The health system was argued to be crumbling and disease burden rising, in part due to affirmative actions policies. The majority of the victims of affirmative action were argued to be poor Blacks.
In 2018, Whites had become under-represented in the civil services, compared to their share of the population. Despite this, affirmative action policies in favor of Blacks continued. “Clearly the targets for restitution in the public sector have long been reached and what is happening now is reverse racism.“
Also in 2018, a government jobs website, aimed at helping unemployed young South African, prohibited Whites from applying.
South Africa also has affirmative action policies for sports.
The BBC is known for its affirmative action programmes, see the article on the BBC.
A 2018 article stated that surveys had shown that “11 per cent of the BBC’s workforce were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, 12 per cent of whom were in positions of leadership.” Despite this, the BBC had decided to implement affirmative action policies in favor of lesbians and transgender, stated to be underrepresented in leadership positions, compared to other LGBT. No mention was made of affirmative action policies in favor of heterosexuals, despite the LGBT overrepresentation.
In 2020, “A major survey of the British television industry has found that, contrary to popular belief among “woke” commentators, gay people and ethnic minorities are massively overrepresented.“
Affirmative action and air safety
In 2018, the Federal Aviation Administration was sued for compromising air safety, by changing the hiring standards in order to increase “diversity” among air traffic controllers, who were considered “too white“.
Affirmative action and education
Affirmative action in effect means that Whites are discriminated against in college admissions. Yet public perceptions are different. Whites think that Black and White students, when equally qualified, will have an equal change of being admitted into college. Most Blacks think that White students will have an advantage over equally qualified Blacks.
Data from a 2017 book on university admissions showed that Asians and Whites were under-represented compared to their grades and test scores, while Blacks and Latinos and sometimes Amerindians were over-represented.
The Supreme Court of the United States in Fisher v. University of Texas (2016) in effect ruled that discrimination against Whites in college admissions is legal, at least if done somewhat covertly. Politically correct descriptions of the implications has been argued to be misleading.
In a 2018 case involving Harvard University, even the politically correct court decision, which stated that no law had been violated, stated that “more than one third of the admitted Hispanics and more than half of the admitted African Americans, would most likely not be admitted in the absence of Harvard’s race-conscious admissions process.”
Affirmative action has also been used to discriminate in favor applicants if English is not spoken in the applicant’s home, which has been argued to be concealed anti-White discrimination, as well causing an incentive for families to not learn English.
Affirmative action and entertainment media
It is now common to have non-White actors in fictional depictions, such as movies, even when the characters in the original stories and events the movies are based were Whites. Applying a double standard, if Whites play roles where the original characters where non-Whites, the White actors are often accused of racism and “whitewashing”.
See also Blackwashing.
More generally, in Hollywood after the George Floyd riots in 2020 and in association with the Great Awokening, “A revolution is under way. White actors are being fired. Edicts from studio bosses make it clear that only minorities – racial and sexual – can be given jobs. A new wave of what has been termed by some as anti-white prejudice is causing writers, directors and producers to fear they will never work again. […] Dozens of producers, writers and actors have spoken to The Mail on Sunday about the wave of ‘reverse racism‘ pulsing through the industry. […] only hiring people of colour, women or LGBT to write, star, produce, operate the cameras, work in craft services […] The latest buzzword in Tinseltown is ‘Bipoc’ – an acronym for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour – and ‘Menemy’, which means a white, male enemy of the diversity movement.“
Affirmative action and firefighting
Firefighting has been argued to have been negatively affected by affirmative action policies.
Affirmative action and history
See Dead white males.
Affirmative action and news mass media
Affirmative action and the military
A 2009 article on affirmative action at the Naval Academy in Annapolis stated criticisms by a professor there, who had sat on the board of admissions. He stated that White applicants must have grades of all As and Bs and test scores of at least 600 on the English and math parts of the SAT, even to qualify for a “slate” of 10 applicants, from which only one will be chosen. However, if African-American, Hispanic, Native American, or Asian, “SAT scores to the mid 500s with quite a few Cs in classes […] typically produces a vote of ‘qualified’ […] with direct admission to Annapolis. They’re in and given a pro forma nomination to make it legit. […] Minority applicants with scores and grades down to the 300s and Cs and Ds also come, though after a year at our taxpayer-supported remedial school, the Naval Academy Preparatory School.” The affirmative action midshipmen were stated to be over-represented in “pre-college lower track courses, mandatory tutoring programs and less-challenging majors. Many struggle to master basic concepts.”
The Chief of Naval Operations stated that “diversity is the number one priority“.
In 2021, there were plans to eliminate all aptitude tests that inhibited “diversity” and to have military officers hit “diversity” quotas regarding who they promote (or have their own careers impacted negatively). Increased demands for diversity was already stated to have contributed to officer schools recruiting students with good athletic but poor academic records and to weakening of honor code and anti-cheating standards.
Affirmative action and the police
Another stated criticism is that “The most potent chapters of The Affirmative Action Hoax, however, deal with how affirmative action helped cause the downfall of policing and an increase in crime since the 1980s. The Washington DC police department met with a startling decline after lowering its standards to accept blacks in 1980. The percentage of solved homicide cases plummeted, allowing more criminals to roam the streets in many of our increasingly inhospitable inner cities. Interestingly, black police officers were often functionally illiterate. As a result, many poorly-written or incomprehensible crime reports caused evidence to be thrown out in court.“
“When black activist Coleman Young became mayor of Detroit in 1974, He promised to make half of its police force black. The qualifying examination was made easier; and, “Applicants who had difficulty with the qualifying exams were allowed to take them repeatedly until they passed, or were given answers by an instructor.”. . . Even these tricks could get only a handful of blacks promoted to sergeant and lieutenant; so blacks were allotted half the promotions, no matter what their test scores were. The results? “[I]n mid-1978 . . . [f]our inadequately trained young officers shot and killed themselves with their service revolvers. Five others killed or wounded civilians—in several cases because they didn’t like the way someone talked back to them.“
“In 1992, Detroit’s black police chief embezzled $2.6 million from his city’s police force. Further, in 1998, over twenty Detroit officers were charged with felonies, and at least 100 were under investigation for underworld ties. In Miami in 1985, nearly ninety percent of the police officers convicted of stashing cocaine in cahoots with drug smugglers were affirmative action hires.“
Affirmative action and STEM
“The STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math—are under attack for being insufficiently “diverse.” The pressure to increase the representation of females, blacks, and Hispanics comes from the federal government, university administrators, and scientific societies themselves. That pressure is changing how science is taught and how scientific qualifications are evaluated. The results will be disastrous for scientific innovation and for American competitiveness. A scientist at UCLA reports: “All across the country the big question now in STEM is: how can we promote more women and minorities by ‘changing’ (i.e., lowering) the requirements we had previously set for graduate level study?” Mathematical problem-solving is being deemphasized in favor of more qualitative group projects; the pace of undergraduate physics education is being slowed down so that no one gets left behind. […] The extraordinary accomplishments of Western science were achieved without regard to the complexions of its creators. Now, however, funders, industry leaders, and academic administrators maintain that scientific progress will stall unless we pay close attention to identity and try to engineer proportional representation in schools and laboratories. The truth is exactly the opposite: lowering standards and diverting scientists’ energy into combating phantom sexism and racism is reckless in a highly competitive, ruthless, and unforgiving global marketplace. Driven by unapologetic meritocracy, China is catching up fast to the U.S. in science and technology. Identity politics in American science is a political self-indulgence that we cannot afford.“
- The Affirmative Action Hoax: Diversity, the Importance of Character and Other Lies
- Environmental racism
- White privilege
The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory – Cultural Marxism