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In 2028, Will We Still ‘Need’ Affirmative Action?

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

Ask the White Guy Luke ViscontiQuestion:
Oprah & Cosby: donor fatigue. Me: taxpayer fatigue. My two Asian, college daughters: overrepresented minority fatigue. “The sense that you need to learn just isn’t there. If you ask the (inner-city?) kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers.” Even old ditzy-flitzy weathervane Supreme Court Justice Sandy Day O’Connor put a 25-year limit on her last opinion in favor of affirmative action. White Guy, do you think women and minorities will be appreciably different by 2028, so that they won’t “need” free stuff for their sex and/or skin color?

Answer:
If you believe all people are created equal, then the timeline to end affirmative action is easy to determine: We can end affirmative action when household income is statistically within one standard deviation for all races.

This is a simple and fair measure of the equity in our society. It will take some work to make this happen, however it is the only way for our country to truly show that we have the strength of our own convictions. If you do the math, you can tell that whatever investment we need to make will be miniscule compared with the benefit our entire economy will reap. For example, if black households had the same median wealth of white households, it would be equivalent to injecting the entire GDP of Japan into our economy—every year.

Please understand that this isn’t wealth redistribution. This is simply removing the impediments to talent development. There are several precedents for societal change on this scale. For example, the G.I. Bill gave education to veterans returning from World War II and Korea. This democratized higher education. Our country went from an industrial/agrarian society to a knowledge-worker society in one generation. The resulting creation of wealth due to the more effective use of human capital in this country was unprecedented in human history.

 

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1 Comment

  • No, by then certain groups, primarily Black Men will need a good swift kick in the pants and stern orders to get with the program already. Nothing against Affirmative Action. I am a Black female and plenty of Whites were more qualified than me, but through AA I was given a chance at higher education I am trying like Hell not to waste. Now I have been at my university here in ND for 3 yrs and though it is doing great in the field of diversity. It had its 1st Black student way back in the 1920s. One group that is noticeably absent is Black US born&bred young men. Lots of Africans (refugees&international students) male&female. Plenty of Asian males&females. Then you come to the Black Americans and you see a noticeable number of females but no males. Unless you count the few recruited for the fledgling football team that are so convinced their going to the NFL they barely bother to come to class. Education is a joke to them. If Black America is going to survive and regain the amount of integrity&respectability that once existed (pre 1970s) in our community we need lots more well educated, marriage minded Black batchelors. Currently more Black men have seen the inside of a jail cell than walked across the stage for their high school diploma. Affirmative Action is a beautiful thing&wonderfully unselfish idea BUT true social reform will do us remarkably better in the end.

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