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Affirmative Action And Racial Tension Essay

1815 words - 8 pages

Affirmative action. What was its purpose in the first place, and do we really need it now in the liberal super sensitive nineties? It began in an era when minorities were greatly under represented in universities and respectable professions. Unless one was racist, most agreed with the need of affirmative action in college admissions and in the workplace. Society needed an active law that enforced equality during a period when civil rights bills were only effective in ink. With so much of America¹s work force spawned from integrated schools now, some may question whether racism really is the problem anymore, and many college students might answer yes. They see it on college campuses ...view middle of the document...

Ehrenreich believes affirmative action should guarantee that the best person regardless of race gets the job or gets into the school until it is all so evened out that our subconscious doesn¹t put competence and color in the same boat(114). The subliminal prejudices she speaks of may also be stirred by newspaper headlines that feed our emotions and actions. Twenty-nine out of thirty UA students feel the media influences the subconscious(Martin). When blacks read sometimes false statistics about their failing race in periodicals, it builds anger and animosity towards whites(Irvine and Goulden 78). The media implies that they are still not going to overcome the white man at the rate they are going. They subliminally become prejudice of white people, and in effect take violent actions sometimes building emotions that lead to things like the L.A. riots. With our surroundings and media creating images of inequality, affirmative action seems a necessity. It will provide a m!
ore positive goal for black students.
Affirmative action might not create racial unity even if we do reach the anticipated equal work world we and Ehrenreich dream of though. The evidence is on the college campuses today. Though numbers are not greatly equal, minorities are a big part of university life. In this so-called integrated setting, one might notice that even the equal self-segregate. The great question all white people ask is why do the black people all sit together when dining. Clarence Page points out that whites sit separately as well, but no one questions them(258). Page observes a U.S. News & World Report survey saying that 53 percent of blacks at large schools found whites ³hostile and aloof.² At the same time, 33 percent of whites said they were physically afraid of black students(262). Is plain ignorance on both races¹ parts the answer to the dining question? Affirmative action brings the diversity, but are the diverse educated enough about one another. A simple answer may not be a con!
flict between races, but a conflict between interests. People are guilty of not understanding one another in their own races, but all of this isolating is causing unnecessary divides on campus. It seems some are bitter towards white people still because of the past and its effects. The effects of this self-segregation may be greater than some think, though. ³It¹s suicidal economically to become so bitter that we isolate ourselves from others,² Hugh B. Price writes(Robinson and Tidwell 197). Affirmative action is useless if it causes such isolation among students.
When some believe affirmative action to be failing, they begin to turn to political correctness as the solution to inequality. Political correctness seems to cause more sequestering though. It plagues college students too afraid to speak for fear of being accused of as racist. When students are unable to express themselves freely and have to undergo ³sensitivity training,² the...

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