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October 10th, 2012
05:43 PM ET

5 things to know about affirmative action

By Alicia W. Stewart, CNN

(CNN) - In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925, ordering that federally funded projects "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin."

Five decades later, a young white woman and a Texas school's admissions policy stand central to a monumental Supreme Court case. The justices began hearing oral arguments Wednesday over the constitutionality of racial preferences in consideration of the students it accepts.

It could change how schools determine whom they let in and whom they keep out.

Justices to re-examine use of race in college admissions

Affirmative action began as a simple idea to expand equality and has morphed into a charged and divisive topic.

What is affirmative action, and how is it different from when it began?

Here are five things to know. What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.


1. Why it was started: The earliest implementation of affirmative action policies, before Kennedy coined the phrase, began under President Franklin Roosevelt in the second World War. He banned discrimination in the government and those involved in "war-related" work.

Later, President Lyndon B. Johnson expanded on Kennedy's order to include women and signed the Civil Rights Act into law. He explained the purpose of affirmative action in this speech to Howard University's 1965 graduating class:

"And this is the next and the more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom, but opportunity. We seek not just legal equity, but human ability; not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and equality as a result.”

Less known, though, is that President Richard B. Nixon created goals and time frames around the legislation. "We would not impose quotas, but would require federal contractors to show affirmative action' to meet the goals of increasing minority employment," he wrote in his memoirs.

2) Why it is controversial: Quotas. The idea of a limited number of admissions or jobs for members of underrepresented groups and any type of preferential treatment runs counter to how we view our American dream, critics argue.

That idea became central in the Massachusetts Senate race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren. Warren was accused of using her Native American ancestry for jobs but has denied doing so.

Is she or isn’t she Native American?

In 1978, the landmark Regents of California v. Allan Bakke case made racial quotas unconstitutional. Bakke, a white student, sued after twice being denied admission to medical school, challenging the special admissions used to admit minority groups.

3) How it's changed: While affirmative action is usually spoken of in general terms, there is no singular policy or implementation of the ways in which affirmative action take shape in government organizations, colleges and corporations varies.

Court cases continue to refine interpretations of how race is used at the university level. Some schools have experimented with a variety of ways of non-race-based models, like the Top 10 model that the University of Texas employs, to ensure the racial diversity of students.

4) How we feel about it: In a 2009 Pew poll, the majority of Americans supported affirmative action but strongly disagreed about minority preference. And while most African Americans (58%) and Hispanics (53%) agreed that minorities should get preferential treatment, only 22% of whites agreed.

5) Where it exists: Though quotas have been outlawed in the United States, the European Union has had a recent push to punish companies whose boards aren't composed of at least 40% women. And India, Brazil and Malaysia, among other countries, have laws and policies that address affirmative action in schools and throughout society.

Should affirmative action still exist? Share your thoughts

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Filed under: Education • How we live • Race
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Managing Properties in Languedoc Roussillon

    great..

    July 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kevin

    I always thought that the whole racial/ethnic/gender discrimination thing for college and job admissions could be avoided simply by not including that information on the application. No checkboxes for gender, no checkbox for native american, etc, and heck don't even learn the applicants name (since that's a strong indication of gender and sometimes of ethnicity as well) until a certain point in the process.

    November 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. WhiteAppalachian

    The problem with "inequalities" in "white candidates/students" and "black candidates/students" qualifications does not fall on schools,, government, or "racist" but on the parents. White culture typically demands that their kids excel in school if they expect to go any where in life. Black culture does no place much emphasis on education at all. I went to a predominately white school in Appalachia but we didn't have resources because the school provided for all of it; the school chose what resources to provide and it was up to the parents and kids to supply the rest. And my area was not privileged at all and couldn't easily afford such cost. My area was considered Appalachia, also considered a minority because of my heritage, 99% white, and average poverty rates higher than the poverty rate of african americans and inner cities but parents made sacrifices for their kids education because it was considered important. Black culture does not place this emphasis on education. So of course when hiring someone of course more whites are qualified for the position than a "minority" group. The problem with not hiring enough minorities is not companies are racist but qualified minorities are far and in between.

    October 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • BULL SUGAR!

      I WASN'T POLLED and I disagree with affirmative action. Stop putting words in people's mouths CNN! I am a mix of minority races and I am 100% AGAINST this form of preferential racism. Its complete bull sugar.

      October 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dennis

    Affirmative Action policies are pure evil...these ideas should be overturned quickly; There are white people whom are unable to get work b/c of these rejected ideas

    October 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. David

    I have seen good affirmative action and bad affirmative action.

    The good affirmative action involved giving additional training to people who needed it at my employer. After repeating a few courses these two associates in my department "got it" and went on to very successful careers without further special assistance.

    The bad affirmative action let some public school principals send their best students to what is probably the most academically challenging 7..12th grade public school in the country, even if those students had not attained the entrance test's the passing score for admission. In this school, typically 62% of those who entered after meeting the admission test barrier transferred elsewhere before graduation. Close to 100% of those who entered based on principal's choice transferred out.

    Was that racism? I don't think so.

    Was it a lack of available help from parents? No. The majority of my graduating classmates' parents were immigrants who did not speak or barely spoke English.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jack Be Humble

    I thought Richard Nixon's middle name was Milhous. Where did the editor get "Richard B. Nixon"?

    October 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Citizen

    I am a small business owner and will hire whoever I choose for whatever reason I fancy regardless of how much communist imbeciles whine.

    October 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • choppertrash

      Right on!

      October 22, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      I am a minority and I as well as many others agree with you wholeheartedly. It is DISGUSTING and INSULTING to think that I was hired for a position because of some quota. Screw that! I have my job because I work hard at it and get along well with others. This affirmative action nonsense needs to stop.

      October 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jack

    The problem is not being addressed. African Americans and Hispanics are just as smart and talented as whites. The affirmative action is being applied on the wrong end. Start it off in kindergarten so the kid regardless of race will be more equalized at the college level.

    October 15, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Young black female

      YESSSSSSS!!!! Things need to start from the moment the child is born. Sadly, these things don't happen enough because blacks weren't able to get an equal education until the 60s. I just hope that in the near furture things will be better for minority children so that things can truly be equal.

      Guys I just want you all to know who disagree with affirmative action that it's because of the gap in resources and opportunity for blacks that it even exists.
      :(

      July 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim908

    Race based affirmative action is garbage. The Texas A&M model is actually a great idea, it gives a chance to people who performed better than their peers, regardless of district quality, instead of giving preferential treatment to somebody based on race, a factor nobody can control.

    October 15, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael Johnson

      Blacks can't control the racism that has put their kids in poorer schools.

      October 15, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • dontbow

        Again we shouldn't have to pay for your problems nor place racist laws in place just so everyone is totaly equal based on money. Most Americans cannot afford the higher level schools.

        October 20, 2012 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sherry

    It's Richard M Nixon, not Richard B Nixon.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jalalmakbar

    AA should work only when all things are considered equal among applicants. The first preference in that case should go to an AA candidate. There should be equality in education until High School to enable the development of people under AA. You cannot say that they are fit to serve in the Army at the frontline because this is the best opportunity they can get. Let us trace the Money Source that makes the so called non-AA people rich. Get rid of health care insurance companies. Fund the Clinics/Hospitals/Pharmacy without the insurance care brokers. Make the use of Oil Expensive. Cheap Oil is a welfare that mostly benefits the non-AA. Take out the Deductions on Mortgages/Interests. This has given them the access to the best public schools for their children. I am not a lib but I see this failrly due to my Brown Rat Jindal type of Background.

    October 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NotBuyingIt

    AA is a cruel joke. When I hire, I take the best qualified person, regardless of race. If you think you've not been given enough opportunities previously, that's too dmn bad. Equal opportunity does not mean there are unlimited opportunities.

    October 14, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • someguy

      Right on. There's no place for preferential treatment. Best man for the job is how america works.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
      • Malena

        DOn't you mean best person?

        October 15, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • GET REAL

      AMEN

      October 14, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. miracle

    jhill86 ......"America will fall from being the number 1 economic power in the world. And these minority populations that people are so quick to write off, will soon be the majority. Then what?"

    Noted and agree. This is already happening. Orchestrated by God himself. The word of God says he sets one up and puts down another. In many instances it is part of his judgement, or just to show that with him there is no partiality like thee is in America. Diverse peoples can live together. I have seen it happen.

    October 14, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. jhill86

    The diction that is used in many of these post are down right racist in origin. This same rhetoric was used in the descriptions of Native Americans, Mexicans, and African Americans from the 1700s until the 1970s. They are seen even now. Even until the 70s some schools and universities were segregated. Even looking at schools now, it is sad because they are still segregated. I am a teacher currently and I have seen how the majority of urban schools are 90-100% black and then how some suburban schools are 80-100% white. Then we wonder why there is educational inequity which lends to the need for AA. These schools that are majority black lack many basic resources. I have been in classes where we don't have enough books to even have a class set for students. Teachers don't even have working printers in their schools nor working computers. The educational gap in urban areas and rural areas is so disparaging that no matter what you view about AA, America will fall from being the number 1 economic power in the world. And these minority populations that people are so quick to write off, will soon be the majority. Then what?

    October 14, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      Well if the burbs were full of minorities, and the city full of whites, would it still be the same? Yes. These are separate acting thinking peoples. It doesn't mean one is right and the other wrong, just separate. Why are we so afraid to acknowledge that white, black, Asian, euro's, etc. never live well with each other due to separate mind sets, historical beginings and habits. (generally speaking of course, I married outside of my race) Who can tell, maybe one day we'll figure it out, or many many generations from now race would have been bred out.

      October 14, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Ess Siepea

      The colour of one's skin does not indicate African origins, and as such, using the term "African American" to group all dark skinned people into one category is incorrect.
      Ex: Charleze Theron, born in Africa, became a naturalised US citizen in 2007. Conversely, Sidney Poitier, born in Miami to Bahamian parents. Ms. Theron is African American, while Mr. Poitier is Bahamian American.

      October 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Penny

        AMEN to that! I'm dark skinned Choctaw Indian and yet I keep getting called "African American" or "Black" which I have to fight tooth and nail to fix every time it happens. I'm surprised I had TIME in my life to attend Cornell, Yale and Johns Hopkins.

        April 18, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim908

      Wake up and stop blaming funding. We need to address SOCIAL ISSUES in inner city schools. (Lack of parenting, obscene drop out rates, kids getting knocked up at 15). I graduated high school from a highly regarded "privileged" district within the last 10 years. We had great funding, but the bottom line is none of my core classes (calculus, physics, english, etc etc) used anything other than a text book.

      Unfortunately there's no "nice" way to say it but kids need an environment where they don't fear for their lives every day, and have incentive to not drop out of school and actually give a you know what about their education

      October 15, 2012 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Penny

        I went to good suburban college-prep schools too, and yet when people see me they automatically assume because of my skin color that I couldn't possibly know Calculus or Physics let alone be licensed to TEACH them. And that's based on racist assumptions about people who may share my skin color but who tend to be segregated into schools that don't teach them those subjects assuming that they can't possibly learn them. It's a vicious circle that has to be broken somehow. Let's see - stop equating brown skin with stupidity and that might break that cycle.

        April 18, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. beautiful waters

    Affirmative action has undeniably helped many ppl but not enough bc before ppl can become employed, they must be educated in preparation. No secret that our educational system is a failure, primarily so to minority & lower income areas bc no accountability is applied to school boards who hold every school to same performance criteria but don't fund equally. It's like the old adage of the more things change the more they stay the same. Affirmative action gives school district the wiggle room to avoid doing the right thing which is to provide every public school an equal distribution of public funds., the minority students will feel confident competing on equal footing with non-minorities & eventually universities & employers will have to ignore quotas bc the issue of opportunity will have resolved itself – It's already been proven in the world of profesional sports & entertainment. If your good, your pay reflects that. Sincerely, a Hispanic woman who has learned how to navigate the educational system.

    October 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Affirmative

    The purpose of any program is to become successful and then obselete. Have we reached that point?

    October 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikeomd

      Never...BC the minority can't compete mentally..the evidents are the test scores and look at the makeup of science major
      I once used a apple donated computer in minority engineering lab, and the admin came in and kick me out. BC I did not look like a minority...couldn't believe it happen as a big university in 90's.

      October 14, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  17. Rick Springfield

    My company set up a booth at an Affirmative Action job fair at a local university. We hired young black man aged 24. We put him through the usual 90-day training and he messed up his job duties a few times. We finally had to let him work alone in a rather complicated technical position. He messed up quite a lot and cost us a lot of revenue. But we forgave him and we retrained him and then put him back by himself. It became evident that we hired the wrong person. Yes, we had passed over hiring white men and women to hire this Black man so we could get a tax credit. But it was affecting our revenue streams and finally someone at the top saw the losses and sent an investigator. He determined the man was a druggie and was using on duty and could not possibly do his work assignements because he was stoned out of his head most of the time. So we gave him one more chance. He blew it horribly, he just could not do the work. So, at 8AM on a Monday morning he walked in and our security guards met him at the foyer. They escorted him to a side conference room where the president, vice president, and director of human resources was. They told him why he was fired and then had security escort him from the building. He walked down the street and we never heard from him again. We never hired another person from an Affirmative Action project again for that position. The guy's mom called about 3 weeks later. She asked to talk to him. I had the privledge of telling her that he had been fired. Shd replied, "That is no surprise to me, he gets fired from every job he ever gets. He thinks everybody owes him a free ride."

    October 13, 2012 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jo Ann

      You told her he had been fired? I thought personnel actions were supposedto be confidential.

      October 13, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
      • rc

        Do you think the guy's mother would be satisfied with, "I'm sorry, he's no longer with the company"? Many mothers would be panic-stricken if they couldn't find out where their child was.

        November 5, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  18. Patrick Portland

    Afirmative action in theory sounds great. In practice, not so much. It hurts the people it's supposed to help the most by casting a shadow of doubt on every non-white or non-male person. Did they get this job because they qualify or get the job because of what they look like? It also goes againt the whole concept of colow blind society that MLK spoke of – you judge people by their character, not the color of their skin. And as a few of these posts have pointed out, if you are bright, successful & qualified as many Asians are for the positions they apply – it seems Asians no longer qualify for affirmative action even though they are defnitely a minority. That would mean the concept of affirmative action has morphed into a kind of welfare for unqualified mopes.

    October 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Tevii

    Unfortunately affirmative action is racism to its fullest. It's just disguised because it helps some people. Why is it when whites are a minority they cannot benefit from it? Instead they abolish affirmative action in areas where that happens. Furthermore, it's because of affirmative action a black student with a c average can get into medical school before many a or b average white students. I don't know about you, but I don't care what color you are. If your my doctor I want the best. Unfortunately our system doesn't quite let us know the best. Our system caters to the unqualified. It's no wonder this country is falling apart. We all have the same opportunities in today's world. The best of any area should be rewarded, no matter the color. Instead we reward solely based on color.... As long as it isn't white. We have answered the problem of racism with racism.

    October 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      I don't understand what is the big deal. I like to mention that white people have the same opposites as a black person when it comes down to attending colleges. I don't see many white people apply to the HBCU. Why is that it's because most white people don't want to be bother with other races or because these other school are getting fund due to the majority be white. I don't see some white people dropping of there kids to a black, Hispanic, or Asian predominately middle school or high school. The fact is most white people don't want to attend to become multicultural. I think that Affirmative Action should stay in place.

      October 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • James

        Who wrote this? Did a 12 year old type this? Grammatically all over the place!!!

        October 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elfadil

      If you believe that a less qualified individual will be hired because of their race, you obviously fail to understand what affirmative action is. The purpose of it is to further the idea of inclusion. Affirmative action is wrong not because of what it tries to do but because it has failed. Minority groups are still extremely underrepresented, and the "playing field" is still uneven. A qualified white male in America will be hired over an unqualified black male any day, if the employer uses both affirmative action accurately and common sense. College's and med schools employ it not to give the edge to a less certified individual but to EQUALLY CERTIFIED individuals. The purpose is noble, but the process fails. And creating a color-blind society actually furthers the racial gap because it ignores underlying factors that are accompany race. Back to your horrible med school reference, a color blind basis for admission would favor the white student because of their earlier educational advantages. Their is more to this issue than meets the eye.

      November 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Pat Savu

    I have been married to a black man for 37 years. I cannot remember a single instance when affirmative action undeservedly helped him or our children. many white people think discriminaton is over as the result of affirmative action. They could not be more wrong. The slights and possibly unintended insults he puts up with on a day to day basis would wear anyone down. I used to tell my children that oiur family had to be better and work harder because we did not have a white male in our family to protect us. Being black makes it hard to get ahead at work because you are not part of the "old-boy" network and you have to work harder just to keep your job much less get ahead. I have often felt that the reason that our family moved ahead economicially over the decades was because we had one white person in it who could move use ahead by earning more: myself who is only handicapped by being a woman.

    October 12, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Foxx

      Wow, very defeatist view you have on things. To believe you can't be sucessful in our society based on your own ambition and merit of individual effort. Affirmative action is discriimination any way you slice it. We all have challenges and hurdles to overcome in life and we all have to assume responsibility for our actioons and decisions. Some of us join the military or struggle to get through colllege – some of us quit high school, sell drugs, go to prison, and on and on. And then wonder why we get ahead. I choose not to let the color of my skin be a factor in my success or failures. You should maybe think about teaching that to your kids.

      October 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  21. MD

    Minorities may need to change certain aspects of their culture first. Why are more than 50% of black kids raised in homes without a father? Got to start with the basics before you can move on.

    October 12, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Mo

      Is this a trend in this comment thread that the ONLY racial minority group in America is African Americans?

      October 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • GET REAL

        You don't hear anyone else complaining.

        October 14, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • max3333444555

      sicne the divorce rate is 50%, regardless of race, most kids are raised in a home without one of the parents.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  22. Bart

    Number 6. Obama used it to the fullest to further his education and became president because of it.

    October 12, 2012 at 5:57 am | Report abuse |
  23. WDinDallas

    Affirmative Action basically puts imbeciles in positions that cannot handle.

    Turn it around to not be race based, but income based. Give students that have good grades the opportunity to go to college....not a racial minority based program. This is the problem, it has become a racial issue. It is not fairly distributed.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  24. ron paul

    a federal judge once said " affirmitive action should only be used to correct an in balance in the manifest so long as the rights of the unprotected are not violated .

    October 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rudy Hines

      I was born 1942, educated in a segregated school that did not have all of the books, there were no bio/chem labs, those white people had no intentions of providing us blacks with a proper education. Those white people made a mistake and hired some black teachers who were determined to get us prepared for the work force, some of the books had not backs, some had pages missing, they spent their money to purchase supplies. We graduated from HS was was pushed onto the world, ready or not. Someone please tell the year that I caught up with the white boys my age. today I am a small asphalt paving contractor, the playing field will never be level for me, Affirmative Action help me
      to win a few jobs.

      October 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • GET REAL

        There is only so much to master at any job. If you don't know how to present yourself after years at working at something, that's your problem. That isn't a race issue. That's an education problem.

        October 14, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  25. ron paul

    why do minorities get pionts added to federal test to help them out ?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • GET REAL

      because of AA and stuff like that. How is that fair? That's like saying since you are white we will take points off your score. What's the difference? Equal is Equal. End of story.

      October 14, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  26. GaryGuillermo

    I see it as the poor whites against the poor minority's. The slave owners that this goes back to were rich people and they are probably rich today. My family never had any slaves and I am dirt poor. Why should some black guy have an advantage over me when we are going for the same job?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracy

      I dont believe the law selects one minority over another minority? However, anytime we are in a diverse community and you see 90-100% of any race dominating a sector, it makes one wonder...especially when the customers are not.

      October 12, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  27. ron paul

    no preferential treatment for any one same for all over the board . even playing field .

    October 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracy

      Where was the even playing field in 1760, 1860 or 1960? Lets forget about laws against reading writing, or census that show decades of same jobs with up to 70% less pay in 20th century in labor stats. Or record denials of otherwise good housing applications. Lets just the even playing field in 2012, they should understand. Right? I'm white, but Im willing to admit that its more complicated than that when money is involved.

      October 12, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Tgallant

        You are missing the point. Why should a minority that has just arrived as an immigrant (or an illegal Dream Kid) get preference.

        October 12, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  28. Debbie

    the playing field is NOT level, but not just for minorities for disadvantaged whites as well. I think qualifications should get you into colleges and jobs, not color and certainly not influence of well connected parents. Many rich kids BUY test answers and cheat and that is a widespread problem. My nephew had a 4.0 and couldn't get into med school, while my friends brother got in with a 2.5 to that same school, and yep you guessed it Dad is a doctor, both are white, so if you want to level the playing field do it on ALL levels, we don't need more incompetence in any field just because dad bought your way in or you got points added. If I were black I would find it insulting that whites think they are smarter than me.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jo Ann

      Good point. Why is it that no one seems to be getting upset that ~30% of those admitted to Ivy League colleges have parents who attended those colleges and/or made large contributions, but students with higher test grades and test scores are routinely deied admission? Some people think it is OK to show favoritism to those who are born into privilege, but not OK to give a break to a minority kid, who faced significant challenges. Why are people raising questions about how Obama got into Harvard Law, but not how G. W. Bush got into Yale?

      October 13, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
      • B X

        your response made me laugh because it makes so much sense in a sea of bigoted and angry banter (on both sides). it really is more about poor kids having fewer options in the end, because they start out so far behind. that's not to say that darker skinned kids don't have a special set of issues to deal with, they're all exacerbated by being poor. and you're so right about how "dubya" got into yale...forget obama's transcripts, i wanna see his!!!

        October 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Sam

    I think your comment is the exact argument in favor of affirmative action. Minority students often struggle because the schools they attend as children and teens are often inferior to those provided to the larger white population. If our society cannot find a way to level the playing field for the young then I think affirmative action is appropriate.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I disagree with you, maybe 50 years ago you will be correct but times had change. All kids today have issues but it’s only the white student of today that don’t get any breaks. The biggest problem with black students in high school is drugs and gangs and that is their own choosing. Why any person based on their skin color should be denied the school of their choosing. Everyone deserve an education at the school of their chose not just Blacks

      October 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Michael

        Paul, where do you live? Head to any city in America with a population of over a million. Take a tour of the schools with majority white students. Take a tour of the schools without such a majority. Then tell me that we have schools with quality parity.

        As long as we pay for grade schools and high schools with the property tax revenue of the surrounding land, we will have unequal education. This affects race equality within cities, but it also affects equality between states.

        The accident of one's birth- the wealth, the location, and the race; still matter in this country where everyone is supposed to be equal. We can do better, at least in areas where most of us agree that government has a role- i.e. making education quality more evenly distributed.

        October 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • old golfer

        Michael, everyone in this country is not supposed to be equal. Everyone is supposed to have equal opportunity. There is a large difference in the two.

        October 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • GET REAL

        Michael, it's equal in being able to have options to the same things not equal as in we should all literally be equal. You can come from the worst area in the world and still make it. Plenty of people have done it and moved up. Most of the first german, irish, italian, french et cetera immigrants started out poor with nothing. They moved up. Why can't the blacks? Because they keep giving to them.

        October 15, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Teachers are equally trained and overpaid,school size don't matter,excuses are bountiful from the DEMS and their failures.

      October 11, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tracy

        Both parties have failed the education period.

        October 12, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Rik James

        Teachers are overpaid? Where the hell do you live?

        October 12, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
      • jhill86

        Exactly. Where do you live. I am a teacher and haven't received a pay raise in 3 years. Our district hasn't given a pay raise in 5 years. And we have furlough days where we are not paid.

        October 14, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Penny

      Black kids have it no worse than the white kid that lives in the same neighborhood. Only difference between them is the black kid says they had no choice but to join a gang and/or sell drugs. It just seems that some black kids (mostly boys) don't think it is 'cool' to pay attention in school, carry books home and turn in their homework. If Affirmative Action hasn't worked for them in over 40 years it never will. Same class of kids are in the same place blaming society as their parents and/or grandparents were 40 years ago.

      October 12, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
      • Joineordie

        You obviously are not black. What you forgot to mention is that....that same black kid is...well...BLACK. He will have a higer chance of being pulled over, discriminated and many other things. Stop looking at it one way.

        October 12, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  30. chris

    Democrats support affirmative action programs in employment and college programs. Think before you vote.

    October 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      A great reason to either not vote or go to the right

      October 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debbie

      Nixon came up with quotas, he was republican, helps if you read but I know you right wingers are not big on facts

      October 11, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • miracle

      yea dem dam democrats.....tryiing to do the rt. thing. What would God say? Who would God vote for? I know repubilicans because they are against abortion, and that is the entire message God is concerned about.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  31. Josie

    " In a 2009 Pew poll, the majority of Americans supported affirmative action but strongly disagreed about minority preference. And while most African Americans (58%) and Hispanics (53%) agreed that minorities should get preferential treatment, only 22% of whites agreed."

    Well due...they would support affirmative action, it is in their favor to do so. They get into schools based on race and not always based on what they are capable of doing. I do understand that some are brilliant at the fields they choose but the majority are not. They get to go to school...due to their race, and hopefully get out. Most that I know like that do not make it too far for they go way beyond what they even understand. And please do not tell me its due to elementry and high school education, for you get what you take out of that. I have meet some pretty stupid people who went to private schools and some amazing people who went to public schools and not always in the best areas.

    October 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Ross Parks

    I'm an African American female working at an Aerospace company. I graduated with a 3.5 GPA in Mechanical Engineering. My white male co-worker graduates with a 2.8GPA. When applying to the company a 3.0GPA is required. I agree that affirmative action made it possible for my resume to be reviewed, but there a misconception that whites are turned down because "unqualified" individuals of color get the job.
    In a lot, hell, most cases, whites don't get jobs because they are less qualified, and even then, some of them manage to fall through the cracks.
    Notice that you never catch extremely qualified white complaining about affirmative action.

    October 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Let me ask you a question Ross. Do you know how to be a Fire Fighter? No? Well go to Baltimore City and take the test anyway and even if you get every question wrong you still get 10 points for writing your name on the top of the test. Guess why? So if you did study and you get an 89% on the test and I get a 98% then we sign our names guess what? You go from 89% to 99% and I become "Less Qualified"

      October 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • GET REAL

        I'm in Baltimore and they give all Government & Corporate jobs to blacks. That's what it seems like. I went to Comcast yesterday and did not see one white person working. All black people. Black people have somehow made it so they can have the 1 up in getting a job in the government and corporations. But the thing is, they are the worst jobs to any one with a real education as to what is really going on. Anyone with a brain and an education knows that wealth is in having your own business. Too bad that can't be given to you and there is no affirmative action in that.

        October 14, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  33. RSH

    Being in an age group that is just recently finding it's political voice and developing a foothold (18-25), and a minority, I feel that that presence of affirmative action is indeed hurting those it seeks to help. Not only does it reinforce racial distinction among applicants, it causes hostility where, were race not to be acknowledged, such considerations would be greatly lessened. Of course realistically speaking, race is a factor that cannot be overcome overnight. However, further fanning the flames by giving preferential treatment to those of us who just want to work hard and prove that we are more than the color of our skin is doing nothing to help those outside of this particular demographic see that we are just as capable and intelligent as any other race.

    It goes without saying that of course there are those who need more help than others; however, basing this on race is reinforcing any stereotypes that already exists. Any one who has been paying attention to the economy since 2008 can realize that minorities are not the only ones who are suffering. Perhaps instead of giving to those based on a superficial characteristic that has no bearing on intelligence, work ethic, or professional ability, we seek those who have been disadvantaged socioeconomically and then we can see where the chips fall. Given the current economic climate, the last thing we need is more division when working together as people, regardless of what we look like or who we sleep with, is really the only way out of such a dire situation. Then again, maybe I'm putting too much faith in humanity's ability to stop categorizing each other on such superficial bases.

    October 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nelson

      That was eloquently put and a beautiful thought. I agree with everything you said and hope that many others do as well. Very nice post.

      October 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ali P

      Great reply!

      October 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gossamer Wings

      Totally agree.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  34. fiftyfive55

    Affirmative Action is so easy to fault that I wont go there except to say the results of it are in and it doesn't work.
    Just take a look at what it did to Gary,Indiana,Detroit,Chicago,New York,Los Angeles.All these cities catered to minorities for the last 50 years an look at the condition of these cities,the violence ,the abuse.
    This is not a politically correct observation but instead it is an experienced observation and the trut,whether anyone wants it or not.

    October 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Madison Gray

      You really sound like you haven't been to any of those cities to make such a judgment. Beside, what happened to those cities as well as most other urban areas has nothing to do with Affirmative Action.

      The problems with urban America are too complex to explain with just a one-shot reason, but bigots like you love to use smoking guns to put people into categories as if one group is inferior to another. I've seen this stupid game played before and you're not fooling anyone.

      Just admit, you're not as smart as you make yourself out to be.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • fiftyfive55

        I grew up in one of those cities and experienced, first hand ,the devestation caused in those cities by AA. They dont teach you kids anything about that though so you have no idea about the truth of it and what happened

        October 12, 2012 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  35. CitizenKK

    Just another way to lower the bar of accountability....

    October 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  36. LT

    "And while most African Americans (58%) and Hispanics (53%) agreed that minorities should get preferential treatment" – seriously, they think they deserve preferential treatment – so they do not think they have to work for anything, no wonder so many of these groups are on welfare, they don't have the desire to work for anything, they just have their hand out thinking they should just be taken care of by everyone else, and use the past to justify it. PLEASE! why is everyone so shocked that we still have racism from all races. Stop the preferential treatment and base decisions on merrit, Affirmative actions should be overturned, it served its purpose, keeping it only keeps us from moving forward in a positive direction – seeing people for who they are and not their skin color. If we keep it, we will continue o dwell and look at skin color and not who we are as people.

    October 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Jim Crowe

    No one is discussing whether college athletes should be held to the same standards as non-athletes!?

    Where is the outrage when most players on any Div I football/basketball team would never get admitted except for the fact that they play a sport? So it is okay for the black running back to get into University of Texas with a subpar SAT score but not okay for the Hispanic girl who is the first person in her family to attend college who had that same score not get in! Let's be consistent when affirmative action concerns are challenged.

    October 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • sean

      Probably becase more than just SAT scores are considered when getting into college. Colleges also look at extracurricular activites. Being a star running back is one of the activites they would consider. Also, skin color cant be helped so you're really comparing apples to oranges. Nice try though.

      October 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grey

      Div 1 football programs, actually all sports programs, still have standards. I work at a div.1 school and have to help process athlete applications, if an athlete doesn't meet the requirements they have to appeal, if that appeal fails then tough luck go to a JC and try again in two years. Also we frequently drop athletes' scholarships who don't achieve the required GPA. Not all athletes are stupid, yes some got by in high school and find college tough but that's why schools have tutors and other outside help. And plenty of our struggling athletes are white, so obviously they don't always deserve to get into school over a minority. Minorities from struggling area with below standard educations still deserve a chance to change their life.

      October 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mo

      I think you're sadly mistaken if you think that black athletes are the lone group of athletes admitted into universities based solely on their athletic abilities. I agree it's a problem, but it certainly isn't a racial one.

      October 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Katz

    When I hire someone to do a job, i'm hiring because of experience & education. Why would I ever hire someone who is not qualified just to meet a quota? In the same thought, I wouldn't want anyone to hire me because of a quota, I want to be hired because I'm wanted for the job and have the qualifications! This is why men in jail are getting welfare checks, etc. You hired off of Affirmative Action and most didn't finish high school.

    October 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      1- Quota's are illegal as stated. 2- Affirmative action is the idea that among two EQUAL candidates for the same position, the differing race/ethnicity is preferred if there is a deficiency of racial/ethnic diversity. The idea does not imply that you hire an african-american that hasn't finished high school over a white with a bachelors degree for a position that requires an advanced degree.

      October 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ben is Wrong

        No, Ben, in the firefighter's case, minorities received an extra ten points. This bonus could boost a lesser qualified minority up over a more qualified applicant. It's not about preference for EQUALLY qualified candidates. And unfortunately, there's a lot of sneakiness about racial preferences.

        October 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mo

        Finally, someone who actually understands what Affirmative Action does!

        October 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  39. WhiteLatino

    Thirty-six percent of Latinos identify their race as white (according to a Pew Hispanic survey.) Remember, Hispanic/Latino is an ethnicity, not a race.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • klay

      Yeah, unless there's something to be gained as a minority lol

      October 12, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  40. fiftyfive55

    Okay,now state the percentage of each individual group on welfare as opposed to your lump sum figures.

    October 12, 2012 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  41. JW

    You realize the majority of the population is white so your statistics are very misleading. Your is alone has swayed me to vote for Romney.

    October 14, 2012 at 5:08 am | Report abuse |
  42. Jorge

    For decades talented, hard-working Hispanic kids had to join their parents on the bottom rungs in factories, meat plants, construction sites and farms because they were discriminated against by their peers and elders. I know, because I was born and raised in New York City, and the only even chance I ever had of safely going through high school and getting through college unhindered was in Puerto Rico during the '70s. In New York exposure to drugs, crime and violent discrimination were everywhere, because my parents could not afford to live in a nice suburban neighborhood. Their was virtually no affirmative action in the '60s, and if it weren't for my parents starting over from scratch in Puerto Rico, I would have never gotten a degree. Not on the mean streets of NY, anyway. If you're not old and minority enough to have ever lived through the experience, you couldn't possibly know.

    October 12, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  43. Joineordie

    But that talented white kid can get anywhere. YOU GUYS keep thinking of it like, "if he can't get into harvard, then he can't get into Yale". Makes no sense. A white kid still has more options in the end. Especially those from middle class families on up.

    October 12, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  44. Carol_R

    Asians are not considered minorities as far as affirmative action is concerned and do not get preferential hiring benefits.

    October 12, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Harin

    Mo, you speak as though your experience with affirmative action is from a book. The reality is much different. While you have the intent understood, it is the enforcement and practical application that turns these laws into discrimination against whites.

    While a Memphis Fire Fighter I took the lieutenant's test and scored a 99 out of 100. I was passed over so several blacks with scores of 74 to 78 could be promoted. They were almost 200 positions below me, but their skin color got them the promotion, because 50% of the promotions were slotted for blacks. There is nothing right about it.

    To add insult to injury, while several of us (white fire fighters) were forming a study group for the test not one black wanted to join us. One black explained to us that we were to serious and that they did not have to compete against us anyhow since they had their own slots. Their lack of study and preparation showed as no black scored in the top fifty, perhaps even 100, but my memory is fuzzy now, but they still got an equal number of promotions.

    Affirmative action only taught an entire generation of people how to use the system to get jobs they did not earn. It even taught that generation to sneer and look down upon those who worked "to hard". Affirmative action will be removed as soon as my generation, the one that lost so much to it, are older and gain more political power.

    October 13, 2012 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  46. DLJ

    Amen to that.

    October 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  47. HA!

    You MUST be joking. White women? What planet are you living on? Jesus.

    October 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Mark

    When someone is discriminated against because of their race, it's racism, not reverse racism (whatever that means).

    October 15, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  49. Michael Johnson

    Conservatives aren't racist. They just gate seeing other races getting opportunities but they aren't bothered when a wealthy white kid with grades that other can get in to Yale with get special treatment they are cool with it.

    October 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  50. rc

    You mean reverse discrimination, and yes, you are correct. "You're not good enough, because you aren't an underprivileged or underrepresented minority." The ideal behind "affirmative action" is equality. As long as people expect special treatment because they're not in the majority, there will be this reverse discrimination.

    November 5, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  51. Taylor

    Well said!

    October 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |