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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 6, 2010 / 26 Menachem-Av, 5770

Another Nail in Coffin of Affirmative Action

By Linda Chavez



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The call to end affirmative action gained a new proponent this week — and from an unlikely candidate. Gregory Rodriguez, a Los Angeles Times columnist and fellow at the progressive-leaning New America Foundation, wrote this week, "We need to find new, less divisive ways to fight inequality."

I couldn't agree more with Rodriguez's conclusion but not entirely with the analysis that leads him there. Rodriguez's opposition stems from his fear that white racial anxiety is rising and that affirmative action could lead to a destructive white backlash. "The combination of changing demographics and symbolic political victories on the part of nonwhites will inspire in whites a greater racial consciousness, a growing sense of beleagurement and louder calls to end affirmative or to be included in it," he writes.

Rodriguez's fears about white racial anxiety seem a bit overblown. Americans have shown themselves increasingly oblivious to racial considerations. Not only did Americans elect the first black president just two years ago, but this year, the GOP has nominated Hispanics for two U.S. Senate seats and two gubernatorial races. In addition, the Republican nominee for governor of South Carolina is an Indian-American female, who, if elected, would join Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal as the party's second major elected official of Indian ancestry.

Nonetheless, Rodriguez's point about changing demographics is an important one. As he correctly notes, affirmative action was initially intended to benefit a small minority, mainly African-Americans who had suffered more than a century of state-sponsored racial discrimination.

But the program expanded in rationale — from making up for past discrimination to promoting diversity — and in scope, to include Hispanic and Asian immigrants as well as blacks. It's hard to argue that newcomers should be entitled to affirmative action benefits, especially when they have no historical claim to have suffered past discrimination in this society. Since white women also benefit from many affirmative action programs, these preferences now apply to a majority of the population. Clearly, set-asides that apply to that many people, many of whom are not economically or educationally disadvantaged, are a mockery of the original intent of affirmative action.

Ironically, Rodriguez barely addresses what I've always believed is one of the strongest arguments against affirmative action: its detrimental effects on the very people it's meant to help by turning them into perpetual victims. In passing, Rodriguez warns that whites, too, might fall prey to "the siren song of victimology that has captivated other groups." Victimology and affirmative action go hand in hand. Without claiming to be a victim, you can't make a case that you're entitled to special treatment.

But thinking you're a victim is a lousy way to get ahead in a society as competitive as this one, no matter what your skin color. It's a defeatist attitude that encourages failure, not success. And even when adopting victim status ensures preferential treatment, it leads to resentment and anger in the beneficiary and a sense of patronizing superiority in the benefactor. Such attitudes are hardly a recipe for greater racial harmony, much less success.

In the end, however, the best argument against affirmative action is a moral one. Making choices based on race or ethnicity is simply wrong. You know almost nothing about a person solely because of his or her skin color. It doesn't tell you whether the person is competent, reliable, or trustworthy. It doesn't give you useful information about the person's past performance or potential, any more than knowing the person's shoe size does. When you're making a decision about hiring someone or admitting a person to school, what's relevant is the individual's performance, not his group identity.

It's time to end affirmative action not because it makes whites anxious but because it perpetuates race obsession that harms all Americans, regardless of color. We've got to get beyond thinking of ourselves in terms of racial or ethnic origins if we are ever to live up to our ideals as Americans.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate

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