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In his essay called “Affirmative Action Encourages Racism”, Thaddeus Watulak argues that affirmative action is a racist policy, which relies on racial stereotypes and reinforces racist attitudes in the society. I mostly agree with him because I believe he touches some very important points, which are not taken to account in the first place.
From its points of origin, the intended use of affirmative action is to ensure that employees and applicants of jobs are treated equally regardless of their race, religion, and national origin. There is no question about this being the right approach. But, as mentioned in the article, when a company qualifies for government subsidies just for selecting a minority over equally qualified non-minorities, it’s difficult to argue that affirmative action is working the way it’s supposed to be.
Mr. Watulak believes that no preferential treatment is deserved for past infractions, thus today’s people should not pay for the sins of the past. I concur with this opinion because learning from past mistakes in order not to repeat them in the future is one thing, but living in the past and taking some advantages from a group of people for reasons they are not responsible, is another thing. Just as a whole community should not be held responsible for misbehaviors of an individual, it’s not right to penalize people for events that occurred even before their lifetime. Moreover, if minorities are given special status and some privileges are reserved for them, isn’t it as bad as past discriminations? Two wrongs don’t make a right. Some can argue that it’s not the same thing since it’s not as if non-minorities are subject to slavery or second-rate citizenship just like the past. But then comes the question of who is to decide what amount of injustice is tolerable and what amount is not?
More importantly, Mr. Watulak mentions that “affirmative action has some rather unpleasant racist assumptions hiding behind it. The clear implication that minorities could not adequately get ahead without special considerations seems just a touch bigoted.” I agree with this because even though affirmative action looks like a positive policy for minorities, it may have a lot of negative consequences as well. It can be true that it has increased job opportunities for minorities but the question is whether it has done so for correct reasons. For example, when a minority gets a high position in a corporation, the other employers may think about why this person received this position. Even though the position was earned because of high qualities, most people will think of affirmative action at least in the subconscious level, thus it would devaluate the hard work and efforts of that particular person.
Finally, I would like to say that affirmative action not only seems like it contradicts even with its intended use, but also it’s a constant reminder of the discrimination that occurred long ago. Maybe, a better way is not to classify minorities as minorities in the first place. After all, how can government expect ordinary citizens not to rely on racial stereotypes when the government itself issues these kinds of policies?