Affirmative Action Only A Token Threat Pro-Action White Men Still Hold Most Top Jobs

FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 1995

The angry white male, in truth, has very little to be mad about.

All those jobs they’re whining about - the ones that have been snatched from their deserving hands - haven’t amounted to much.

Whites still hold 88.8 percent of managerial and high-paying jobs; black professionals have a 7.1 percent corner on that market. The real income of AfricanAmerican families hasn’t changed since 1969. Blacks earn less than white counterparts in all jobs, at all levels.

And that glass ceiling women have supposedly shattered? A staggering 97 percent of the heads of Fortune 1000 companies are white males.

Affirmative action, an increasingly divisive scapegoat for white men with bad attitudes, has done little to dent the monopoly on high paying jobs.

So, why dump it? Because “preferential treatment” makes a great sound bite. And politicians are all too willing to pander to fear and prejudice to win elections.

It’s too easy to call affirmative action reverse discrimination. It’s much too naive to equate the hiring of women and minorities to a quota system. The truth is more complicated.

Dismissing a new woman or minority employee as a “token hire” ignores the contribution that person can make. It assumes a white man is automatically more qualified, more intelligent, more dependable.

That’s simply false. It slights the additional benefits diversity brings to a workplace.Women and people of different cultures bring

something to the workplace that others don’t. Their contributions, along with those of white males, help make any working environment more vibrant. By being a woman, or American Indian or black, an employee can bring fresh perspective, new ideas and, yes, competence.

Certainly affirmative action deserves some scrutiny, but wholesale abandonment of the program would be wrong, especially now as America grapples with increasing hostilities in race and gender issues.

The point of affirmative action should be that the best person gets the job, no matter the color or gender of the applicant. But without the pressure of a federally enforced mandate, bosses will go back to hiring the people who look just like them.

xxxx “System perverted into legalized bias Anti-Action Eighty percent of us oppose it”

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From Both Sides CREDIT = Anne Windishar/For the editorial board

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