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Real Equality
by Raija Churchill
20 January 2004Affirmative Action Fraud

I was preparing to take the SAT in seventh grade when I first discovered racial profiling.

I was preparing to take the SAT in seventh grade when I first discovered racial profiling.  Someone instructed me to fill in as many bubbles as possible, since my minority blood might help me in college admissions.  I was too naïve to consider why, but realized for the first time that I was in a separate category from most Americans.  Prior to this, I had been proud of having blood from multiple countries, but simply considered myself an American.  Racial profiling taught me that to many people, I wasn't just an American.

Both racial profiling and affirmative action intend to promote fairness and equality.  In view of this goal, a May 2003 survey by the Pew Research Center had surprising results: Sixty percent of Americans believe affirmative action is good, while only 47% believe it is fair.  The trouble is that affirmative action requires an unlevel playing field.  By doing so, affirmative action serves neither fairness nor people.

Good intentions or no, many schools, businesses, and even government offices in America are feeding discrimination.  The first problem is that they answer discrimination in kind.  Admission officials and managers have created a culture that discriminates for minorities by discriminating against the white majority.  Granted, there are many situations in which minorities are discriminated against.  People can be unfair.  But is more discrimination the solution?  Will we one day need to repay whites discriminated against by discriminating in their favor?  It's an unhealthy circle.

The second problem is that minorities are essentially favored for the color of their skin.  We Americans believe that character and skill are what qualify people for privileges such as education and jobs.  People can gain character and skill, but no one can control their skin color.  Nor should they need to.  The extra points given for ethnicity are unfair and weaken our campuses, workforce, and government.  They boost less qualified (or unqualified) people into positions which qualified people could have filled.  By focusing on color, we get custom designed diluting.

America values justice.  Our "diversity policies" seek to promote equality, but defeat their own purpose.  That is because these policies ignore equal opportunity in their effort to create equal outcome.  To enforce justice, those of us with minority backgrounds must not take intentional advantage of a system that advances us based on skin color.  Those in school admissions, recruiting, and management positions must not discriminate based on race.  We need to leave behind the institutional policies of race-based discrimination.  Manipulated justice is injustice.

Once we stop institutionalizing affirmative action, we are free to do something that we all want: Help people.  Not meet to racial quotas, not to fight (or feed) stereotypes, but to give people help.  Over and over, our wisdom has proved itself too small to manage ratios and equality in questions of race and even gender.  But we Americans are good at seeing individuals with promise and giving them a hand.  When we leave institutionalized policy and can actually see faces, we know better when to truly affirm, and just as important, we know better when to stop.

A society that completely ignored ethnicity would be an ignorant society.  There is no need to go there, and no chance we will.  America is called the melting pot of the world; it's one of her strengths.  But as G.K. Chesterton wrote, "even that metaphor implies that the pot itself is of a certain shape and a certain substance; a pretty solid substance.  The melting-pot must not melt."  Yes, please, enjoy Black Music Month, teach yourself how to use chopsticks, feel free to laugh and declare that you'll always love Highland dancing and never, ever wear kilts.  But keep America just; make sure she protects what's inside with equality and freedom.  Keep her strong by building on character and skill instead of skin color.

This morning, I pledged allegiance to my flag and republic.  Then I read an unsolicited college application.  Near the bottom of the first page, someone had written: "The following items are optional: How would you describe yourself?  (Please check one)."  Please, why does it matter?  I don't want my race to be what wins me admission.

Someday, I'd really like to find a form that simply identifies me as ... American.

Raija Churchill
is a freelance journalist dedicated to Christ and freedom. This article originally appeared on HourEleven.com.

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