Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Affirmative Action

Time for a new supreme court justice, and out come the knives. Mostly the preemptive arguments against potential Obama nominees are full of the usual stupid about no activist judges or that Republicans won't fight someone who is "qualified" which they define as: agreeing with us on everything, especially women's reproductive rights.

The new justice will not change the court much in terms of how it votes, but it almost certainly will change one thing: it's makeup. This is good. The much ballyhooed headline "White Men Need Not Apply" and the sniping about Obama's SCOTUS nominee needing to be anti-affirmative action are destructive to gender and racial equity advancement in this country.

Yes, we have a black president. We also have 1 black senator (out of 100) who is not particularly respected what with the whole Blago thing and all; there are 40 non-delegate black members in the House along with 72 women, 23 Hispanics, 5 Asians, and one native American (out of 435). Less than 50% of this country is male, and less than 75% is white, meaning something like 36-37% of the US population is white male, but white males make up more than 70% of those two bodies and are 78% (7 of 9) of the current supreme court.

The notion than affirmative action is unnecessary because we have a black president is ludicrous. Our nation is NOT well represented in congress or on the supreme court. White men are over represented too as heads of corporations, in corporate boardrooms, as faculty on university campuses throughout this country. Top level positions are dominated by white men. Having a black president is a major step forward for racial equality, but the notion that everything is equal now is horse shit.


Michael L. Heien said...


I think you are using a bit of a straw man arguement here....I don't really hear people saying "everything is equal." I do hear, "things have improved" from many people, and, for the most part, racism (I am talking about overt racism here) is relegated to the fringes of society; calling someone a racist is very toxic.

What I usually hear from people opposed to affirmative action is the following question "is affirmative action the best way to achieve equality?" I think that is a fair question to ask, something this post assumes to be true. You then need to define some terms, but from your post, you would simply count to evaluate equality.

Jacob said...

First approximation, yep, I'd count.

If someone argues that there is no need to push to have more women and minorities within a given group (say, SCOTUS), then they are making an argument that opportunity has become equal and there is no reason to deliberately chose non-white males for something.

Just because you have not heard people using that exact phrase does not mean that I am arguing against a position that does not exist. When Rush Limbaugh calls our president a "reverse racist" he is defining exactly what I am arguing against.

And the problem is the racism that is not overt, and is still quite present. Just because the angry overt stuff has been secreted away does not mean that things are ok now. Not calling someone a racist just because they don't use explicit terms and scream "white power" but they complain that white men are not being considered for SCOTUS is either blind or just selfish.

White men have no shortage of role models to look to in any aspect of life, minorities and women do.