American Morning

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July 17th, 2009
06:38 AM ET

Is affirmative action still necessary?

President Barack Obama walks onto stage to speak at the NAACP annual convention July 16, 2009 in New York City.
President Barack Obama walks onto stage to speak at the NAACP annual convention July 16, 2009 in New York City.

With the election Barack Obama, some people are taking a second look at affirmative action. After all, they say, if an African-American can become president, does the nation still need a government policy to address the effects of past discrimination?

“We’ve come a long way in this country,” says the Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell. “It is time that we say no to quotas and racial preferences...to operate on racial preferences and quotas is idiotic and counterproductive.”

He’s not alone.

A recent Quinnipiac poll found that by a 55–36 margin that Americans believe it’s time to abolish affirmative action.

“American Morning” sent producers to the streets of New York and Los Angeles, two of the most liberal voting big cities in the nation, to get reaction. Just as in the poll, most people were not fans of affirmative action.

Here’s a sample :

Sarah Moe: “I don’t see the point in it anymore.”

Dean Glorioso: “So, is it time for it to go away? Yes, why not…”

David Lee: “I believe affirmative action should have never been in place in the first place. I mean there are tons of minorities who are successful. I mean, my parents came from nothing. They’re immigrants. I’m still considered a minority...I mean we all faced the same challenges in the same world.”

Christian Castillo: “I don’t think people really need it anymore, so why do we have something we don’t need?”

Jabulani Leffall: “I think it’s still relevant in spirit, but maybe needs to be changed in practice”

Steve LeGrand: “200 years of slavery and 100 years of Jim Crow, and only having really full equal protection under the law for about 40 years, I still think we have a lot to undo...I’m very much for affirmative action.”

Liz Lopez: “There will always be some group that needs it...”

Legrand and Lopez are joined by Cathy Areu, founding publisher and editorial director of Catalina magazine, which caters to Latina women. Areu told CNN that “affirmative action is definitely not the greatest solution. I mean, I think it’s a band aid solution for a problem that needs open heart surgery. But don’t take away our band aid. We need that!”

Sonia Sotomayor, who this week answered questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on her qualifications to be an associate justice on the Supreme Court, calls herself “the perfect affirmative action baby.” She told a law panel in 1994: “I am a Puerto Rican born and raised in the South Bronx, and from what is traditionally described as a socio-economically poor background. My test scores were not comparable to that of my colleagues at Princeton or Yale...if we had gone through the traditional numbers route of those institutions it would have been highly questionable if I would have been accepted.”

Would Sotomayor today be on the verge of ascending to the highest court in the land without affirmative action?

Is she proof that the program has succeeded? And if so, is that a reason to keep the program, or abandon it?

What do you think? Is affirmative action still necessary? Tell us your thoughts.


Filed under: Just Sayin'
soundoff (282 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    I agree partially with Mr. Blackwell's statement. I do think AA is counter-productive at this point. I don't think it is now or was when it was enacted 'idiotic'. People have stated that once we don't see/use race then AA will no longer be necessary. They seem to forget that AA continues the practice of seeing/using race to make decisions. Whether it be symbolic or not the fact that the highest position in the world (let's not bandy about things here... the President of the USA is the most powerful person in the world) is now held by a man from different racial groups voted in by people of ALL racial groups means AA succeeded in it's original goal of forcing us as a country to not 'hold back' someone because of their race or gender. At this point, we need to accept the fact that in the USA of 2009 the only thing that can 'hold you back' is yourself. Is there a 'level playing field' of course not, and anyone who thinks there one day will be is fooling themselves. When humans are involved illogical decisions will be made... period. However, in our society in 2009 if a company is short sighted enough to allow a less qualified person to obtain a position just because they are or are not a certain race is going to lose to it's competitors who leverage all assets irrespective of some 'surface' differences that person may have to a majority of others. Sotomayor stated she wouldn't have had the opportunity she did without AA and that is simply the truth. However, that was also in the 1970s when the existing group of decision makers were still entrenched in the mindset of the 1950s/60s. Those folks are for the most part gone now and the current group of leaders nearly all grew up and were educated in the mindset of skills/abilities completely trumping any other facets of a persons makeup. Time to recognize that fact and take the away the artificial 'leveling' which does nothing of the sort.

    September 4, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  2. educatedRon

    unfortunately its still necessary in some part of america.

    People who are 100% qualified for jobs don't get them because they don't "fit in" or "I don't think he'd be a good match"

    This is because socially racists do not have to be equal, but most jobs have a social element. Most jobs have water cooler conversations, colleagues go out to lunch.

    Affirmative action should ONLY be used if the candidates are equal.

    If two people have 4.0 gpa from accredited schools and same qualifications and the company is 100% caucasion. The minority should get a slight preference. Equal is the key to me. If the gpa is 3.9 and the caucasion is 4.0, the caucasion should get the job

    August 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  3. Atlas

    The only concerns about "black in America" comes from those the see an "inheritance". No one "deserves" that. Everyone should work for all they get. NO affirmative action. It has always been anti-American.

    August 4, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Jow Blow

    With regards to race & affirmative action, read the article ("Let's Talk About Race, Baby!")

    http://beyond-the-political-spectrum.blogspot.com/

    August 4, 2009 at 6:56 am |
  5. William

    So, most of the folks that you bothered to interview were liberals in liberal urban areas and affirmative action advocates. With a passing nod to on conservative and a poll. Great journalism!! This is why cnn crushes fox news in the cable ratings!

    August 3, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  6. Trey

    How can any of you say that "This black man, should get the job, even though he doesn't have the skills that that man over there has"..

    That's so stupid. Let me hire the lesser man for the job, just because of his skin color..

    People should be given opportunity based on their desire and ability to work. And yes, affirmative action would be better suited to be based on socioeconomic principles rather than color..

    Keep pointing out color, and nobody will ever move past it..

    July 29, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  7. LaTonia Wilson

    Yes we need Affirmative action. Have you ever visited the state of Virginia? Well I have lived here for over fourty years and nothing has changed.
    Disparity in the criminal justice system, education, housing, and lack of respect by the stake holders in the community.
    Here is a challenge for everyone go stay in a black community for 30 days. Because no matter how much money you earn the people that don't look like you will never give you the same respect. We all have Ego's, but shame on us as Americans just because we have a black president things have not gotten better maybe worse in some cases.
    Erase disparity among people and stop blasting sensitive issues you will never understand. Keep Affirmative Action for We The People.

    July 29, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  8. Margaret

    I believe that Affirmative action served the African American community well, into the 80's perhaps, early 90,s. However, in todays economy,Affirmative action no longer applies. Employers, now lay-off or fire Black employees first, without impunity. I know this first hand because it happened to me! Working on Wall Street for an independent, software and development and consultanting firm, I was let go, among the first cut,while some of my white colleges, who had little or no knowledge than me retained their jobs was told that since I made a six figures salary my job status was among the first to be let go. So the policy now, is no longer based upon "AA" because African Americans are no longer the first hired, we have become the first fired!!

    July 27, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  9. Brandon - AK

    Affirmative Action is a rediculous excuse for minorities to be pampered through life.

    I don't understand how Sotomayor is a positive example of affirmative action. What happened to the hard-working kid who lost their seat at Princeton because of a law that said "Sorry, that kid has a rarer skin color than you do, better luck next time." Can one not say that this kid was rejected a spot at a school because of their skin color? Think about it.

    I happened to notice that there aren't many high level executives or law school students who have AB- blood types. This is an outrage. I demand to be accepted to Princeton.

    The problem here lies somewhere between Generation Baby Boom and their kids. It's over. Move on.

    July 24, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  10. Tim

    Race should never be a factor in any employment decision. If it is, then it's discrimination and it's unfair. Regardless of the intent. People should be hired on their merits and their skill set. The desire to achieve does not have a color. Why should I hire someone with no desire to achieve, regardless of their race?

    July 24, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  11. Harry43us

    I will continue to repeat myself. For those of you who still do not understand the real reason for affirmative action. YOU STILL JUST DONT GET IT AND MAY NEVER WILL.! So to make a long story short, The issue IS STILL AN ISSUE, THAT ALL OF AMERICA IS NOT YET READY TO GIVE UP THE RACE PEOBLEMS. You still want to sweep it back under the carpet for the next 200 years.. Just look around you. For the teachers who say affirmative action is not good for the schools. You say that now because that student is under your wings, but when that person, or child goes out into the real where all the hungry wolves roam..WATCH OUT! I SAY YES TO " AFFIRMATIVE ACTION" YES ! YES! YES !

    July 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  12. Sandra Winn

    We do not need affirmative action. It served a valid purpose 40 years ago. I am a teacher. Minority students in my school are given the same opportunities as white students. Any lack of success comes from too little reinforcement at home or among the communities in these students are living in. It is human nature to be more successful when expectations are high and encouraged. Families and communities have to pick up the gauntlet now. Affirmative action at this time is essentially insulting and demeaning. Asian and Hispanic students are succeeding because of work ethics and values that are instilled in their cultures. I fear that Black students will be left behind unless expectations for their performance is demanded at home. As teachers who really care, we all struggle with this dilemna. It is sad to be in a classroom where you can see some students "settle" for much less than they should.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  13. Ellie, MD

    Steve 8 – YOU obviously don't have a clue about the history of SLAVERY and how it impacts the lives of families for decades and decades.

    It's comments like YOURS that prove WHY Black in America is vital. WHITES in America are always the first ones to tell MINORITIES to "get over" their history and yet whenever something happens to WHITES they are the first one to CRY BOO-HOO poor me, I'm entitled to everything under the SUN!!

    Give me a freaking break! I wish you were a SLAVE and then maybe you can GET OVER IT. Just because SLAVERY happened a decade ago does not mean SLAVERY does not still EXISTS TODAY!!!

    SLAVERY is here just like it was decades ago. That's the problem. Everyone wants to sweep it under the rug and ignore the REALITY of SLAVERY, but guess what? As long as SLAVERY EXISTS and the SLAVERY MENTALITY that goes along with it in AMERICA, it will continue to IMPACT THE LIVES OF EVERYONE IN THIS WORLD!!!

    SLAVERY is not just about African Americans, there are NATIVE AMERICAN SLAVES, LATINO SLAVES, JEW SLAVES, ORIENTAL SLAVES, ETC.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  14. Beyond-The-Political-Spectrum

    Steve S.

    Such an obvious ascerbic attitude could be taken as race-baiting itself. Personally, I'm willing to overlook it; I know that Americans have a selective memory when it comes to our poor knowledge & understanding of our nation's history. We want to cherish the good things (and their results the rest of us benefit from), but sweep the bad things (and their effects) under the rug. How "understanding" of you (yes...that IS sarcasm).

    http://beyond-the-political-spectrum.blogspot.com/

    July 23, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  15. Steve S

    There is too much racial baiting from the left and blacks. I mean.. does there really need to be a show "Black in America"?

    I would like to point out that YES.. Slavery did happen ... a LONG time ago; and it happened ALL over the world. But, no one alive today was responsible for slavery.

    You have your black president and now you are in the "No Excuse" zone.

    July 23, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  16. LBSquirrel

    Connie…3 questions in response to your post (7/22/2009 @1:25pm ET);

    QUESTION #1:
    If you believe that unfair hiring practices alone (AA) can cause a 'lack of passion to succeed' in America then what effect do you think the practice of all-out slavery has had on the passion/ psyche of the descendants of Black slaves?

    QUESTION #2:
    As far as AA providing leverage; we can name the number of minorities who have received the same 'benefit of the doubt' thru AA that Whites have ALWAYS ENJOYED in the workplace) on one hand. In the face of racially-based unemployment trends, what leverage can you STATISTICALLY prove we’ve ever possessed?

    QUESTION #3:
    You can't expect to tip the scales of American hiring injustices 200% to the right, for 100+ years, and then think you can magically obtain TRUE EQUALITY without tipping them back 200% to the left for the next 100+ years, unless you bring in external resources (jobs) to the U.S. and give 100% of them to Blacks.

    Now tell me this…how many Whites REALLY want to do ALL of what it takes to achieve true racial equality in America? HINT: COMMON SENSE says you will only need 1 hand to count ‘em.

    July 22, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  17. Beyond-The-Political-Spectrum

    Re: Jane Fried. HERE HERE! Unfortunately, employers and their HR guard-dogs are not the smartest people in the world. They hire based on job interview "performances" or other superficial traits rather than actual skills and educational accomplishments.

    http://beyond-the-political-spectrum.blogspot.com/

    July 22, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  18. Jane Fried

    If we could replace affirmative action with hiring based exclusively on qualifications, maybe we wouldn't need it. People who coast on affirmative action hires dont' last long at work. They're not ambitious people anyhow and they are not in the majority. Affirmative action isn't bean counting but it's misused more often than used well. Clarence Thomas is an affirmative action appointment. He got the job to replace Thurgood Marshall, not because he was exceptionally well qualified. Sotomayor puts him to shame.

    July 22, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  19. connie

    I think affirmative action has taken away the passion to succeed in America. So many do not strive to do their best because they know that AA will give them leverage.

    July 22, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  20. Brian

    Contrary to what some may believe, affirmative action does not create the requirement that an employer consider all candidates. There are a number of federal laws preventing unfair hiring practices, but AA is not one of them. What AA does is give unfair advantage to one racial/gender group, and I think it's time for it to do.

    July 22, 2009 at 6:29 am |
  21. CJ

    AA is the reason why minorities are judge by MERIT and not by race, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, age, etc. It was meant to FORCE people to pay attention to ALL QUALIFIED candidates. Without the LEGAL requirement to add diversity to our spaces, this nation would still be a cesspool of nepotism. Sadly, people only do what is right when there is a legal or financial consequence held over their heads.

    Yes, we no longer require the forced integration of the 1960's, but America has not completely embraced the principles of AA. AA is still needed when an African-American, Harvard professor is arrested for trying to enter his own home (official statement, http://www.theroot.com/). It is still needed when a company has an unwritten rule about hiring 'certain' people. It is still needed when a political candidate agrees with a 'coon' reference, gives a 'hand in the cookie jar' excuse and STILL gets the VOTE of her party. It is sure 'nuff needed when people are claiming that our president is not an American because his birth certificate is a fake. It is easy for someone in a metropolitan area to say it is not needed, but outside of those city limits minorities are constantly reminded of their place. Some people and places haven't gotten the MEMO, and until they do AA is needed.

    July 21, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  22. Donny

    We need to put aside our thin skins and have a discussion about whether affirmative is still needed. I would think most poeple could agree that there was a time when it was desparately needed to address past ills . whether that is true or not now is up for debate. As for me if they continue affirmative action(and yes I think it should be continued) it needs to be more economic based.

    July 20, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  23. Reggie

    YES AA IS STILL NECESSARY. We still have a ways to go. I can understand that white people don't want to admit to the sins of their forefathers. But slavery happened. Jim Crow happened. We still live with the results. If you wonder how i can say that, that's fine. I wonder how so many white people can think blacks don't achieve because they don't study. What is there some magical "study" gene that blacks don't have? Not if my high school was any indication. I would like it if we were all judged on merit but it's not the case. White people: don't assume that just because YOU don't see racism it is'nt there.

    July 20, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  24. belger

    I would say yes. My reason is that schools are still lagging behind in most inter and rural schools are behind and don't properly get these kids ready for college. I don't think it's just for minorities groups but people who are at a disadvanage because funding.

    July 20, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  25. Bobbette

    You know it amazes me that this questions still comes about in debates. What part of this do you people miss? The misconception remains the same – Affirmative Action- is not just for Black people. It is for the benefit of everyone. For this country to supposedly to be so advanced in everything – why is race still such an issue here? When you have to KEEP discussing something, and it KEEPS being the “topic of discussion” then CLEARLEY it remains a significant issue that needs to be RESOLVED.

    July 20, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  26. Larry Henry

    I would say we still need affirative action just look at out president.
    If that isn't affirmative action what is?

    July 19, 2009 at 7:15 am |
  27. shuman

    40 years after the civil right act is Affirmative action as expression of liberty,peace,and equality, neccessary to build a nation ? history is the memory of people said the poet ! ?its was by affirmative action Martin L K, obtain the civil right act ,with non-violence movement Gandhi show the world what love and peace is .By the same way Nelson Mandela action and resistance againts nazism in Africa we have broke the neck of separeted race ! Like a lamp or one lantern of our commun history toward the world ,Obama like others leaders need s support and encouragement and he represent the strenghfull america where the dream of ritght ,liberty and peace is possible ! Yes we can black and white musilm,christian ,and animists buddists ,build always the world and it world for the future generation by opposition of negative action like suprematie of race,all discrimination,separated race,violence againts women in Africa ,iran or afganistan ..

    July 18, 2009 at 11:28 pm |
  28. Carl Pittman

    When we still have schools with segregated proms in this country, it is no question that affirmative action is necessary. The generation that existed requiring this program to be implimented still plays an active role in our society. It is a necessary evil that having a black President just doesn't resolve.

    July 18, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  29. rick

    Best way to stop discrimination based on race is to stop discriminating on race! Why not bring back jim crow laws ?

    July 17, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  30. Caro

    As long as Affirmative Action exists, I'll assume any doctor, lawyer or other mission critical person who may have benefited from AA will have gotten into their position not based on their own abilities. Indeed, I will assume that they are inferior and I will seek to take my business elsewhere.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  31. penny

    Yes, We still need affirmative especially in oklahoma, I have put in for better paying jobs at my work place 3 times and have been over looked like I didn't even apply for the jobs and I know I am qualified becuase I do the job at my 2 other jobs that I have plus I went to school for that job I have over 15 years experience but they give the jobs to young white girls that have no training or schooling.

    My husband was passed over for a raise when someone mentioned to the boss that he would be the highest paid person on the job the with the new pay scale. the next morning the boss came in with a new pay scale and all these new criteria for the higher pay and my husband had all of the criteria that everyone else had more actually. It took him almost 11/2 yrs. to get the raise and he had to go over his bosses head to get that. He has been on the job the longest 28years, they are not ashamed to show their prejudice around here. Pretty sad.

    July 17, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  32. Janet J

    Affirmative action is NOT needed. I believe that any "law" that favors one person over another is unjust. Preferential treatment for one group over another should be eliminated.
    I work for a large international company and have seen unqualified african americans get promoted over qualified white men and woman. How does this help the situation? The back lash from the promotions does more harm than good. It breeds contempt, anger and hostility. The manager is put in a very bad situation and they usually don't last very long. The do not get respect or cooperation from the employees.
    We need to get past hiring and promoting solely because a company doesnt want a lawsuit because it doesnt have enough african American middle managers. We need to get to the point where the best person gets the job, Regardless of race or gender or any other preferential treatment.

    July 17, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  33. Luqman Muhammed

    I am a soon to be 26 year-old African-American male. I will not disagree we are in the best times in this country. As proof of a first black elected president. Yet what does this really mean? In virtually every area, people of color and women are still lag behind. Studies show people having "white-sounding" names applying for employment are 50% more likely to get a response from the company than applicants with "black-sounding" names. Yes, even when qualifications are identical. Women still only make 74 cents on the dollar that males earn even with the same credentials.

    Lets look at our justice system. When a black kills a white, they are five times more likely to be considered for capital punishment than when a white person kills a black. Blacks are three times more likely to stopped and searched by the police. Even though when whites are actually searched they are four times as likely to have something illegal.

    Even though affirmative action is not flawless, its purpose is to level the playing-field because of gender and racial bias that yes still exist. People of color are often seen as lazy, not intelligent, criminal. This negative stereo-types along with lack of access to education throughout American history still demonizes many minorities and women today.

    So do you think you're not prejudice? When we think of certain titles, who comes to mind? A "soccer-mom"? A basketball player? A "baby-momma"? A hotel-maid? A doctor? A convenient store clerk?

    Some studies tell us affirmative action appointees. Do just as good or even better than those who perhaps were accepted or hired by blink preference (being white and/or male). Yes this actually called affirmative action even though some call it simply being the "most qualified". We most never overlook "less qualified" whites who beat up other "more qualified" whites in part because they have an inside connection.

    Even if Tyler or Emily don't get accepted into Michigan University because Malik or Takiesha got in because of affirmative action, Tyler and Emily are more likely to get into Michigan State University. Malik and Takiesha have a greater chance of ending up at a Michigan State Prison. Whether its a state university or state prison. In many ways people just don't end up wherever they are headed because of what they have done.

    Should we hold all black males to the same standards as Obama? Do we hold all other white rappers to the same standards as multi-million selling rapper Enimem? Are white basketball players who are better than black players surprised when they get less playing time? Even with white all-time greats like Larry Bird and Jerry West (the basketball player on the NBA logo)? When our society thinks of most blacks, do we think of Martin Luther King Jr. or a gang member? More importantly, when our society thinks of black women do we think of Michelle Obama or a "welfare queen"?

    Its amazing how we live in a society that can still tell your shoe or bra size no longer sees race. If a 6'6" pound black male and a 5'8" 130 pound white female told you they both had a football game next week. Which one would be wearing the shoulder pads? Which one would be waiving pom-poms?

    I don't believe God wants our society to be color-blind. God teaches us to learn and love others different from us. One of the best to face this problem is to just that. Stare this problem in the face. Or things will never improve.

    July 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  34. gotwork?

    Maybe we need not focus on affirmative actions and take a look at "Equal Opportunity Employment"!!! It seems that companies need to hire some Americans in this country. Cheap is NOT always better!

    July 17, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  35. Jay

    Affirmitive Action is simply racism, there sure are alot of racist people!

    July 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  36. Dottie

    I believe it was needed to inspire achievement – Obama is correct, now parents must expect excellence and students must work. AA is no longer needed, EQUAL EDUCATION is!

    July 17, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  37. LBSquirrel

    Here's an experiment...

    Since race relations are so fair in the American work place let's switch positions....Let's substitute the # of White Executives in Fortune 500 companies with Black or Latino/ Latina Executives for 100 years. Given the current state of our economy, the incoming folks surely couldn't do any worse than the greedy bozos in Chairman's seats now.

    Since their test scores prove their intellectual superiority is what got them there in the first place (and not Jim Crow llaws or the Good 'Ol Boy network), they should have NO PROBLEM quickly emerging from the last-hired-first-fired ashes and quickly ascending the ranks of F500 companies, (by the way, that would then be run by minorities)...just like we are being asked to do, right?

    Go for it...show me those highly superior qualifications in action!

    July 17, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  38. vcap

    Once again if there is no need for affirmative action there is no need to inform the world about being black in america. Cause there are no more problems or any thing for blacks to complain about ,or any minority group for that matter.
    cancel BLACK IN AMERICA 2 cause your not doing WHITE IN AMERICA, LATINO IN AMERICA, EUROPEAN IN AMERICA , ASIAN IN AMERICA GAY IN AMERICA ,ON AND ON cnn I love your station but .
    Go to fox and tell them you dont need you token black any more ; and also tell them there is no need to search for your 1st black anchor or any anchor cause affirmative action is dead talk to real black people dont go down town to sell out blacks that have lost or dont want any thing to do with their own people also find more blacks to interview on affirmative action if you want to interview about the issue ya think

    July 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  39. William Sommerwerck

    It is about six hours since I submitted my comment. Thank you, so very much, CNN, for not publishing it. I guess my comments about CNN's general shallowness at covering issues torqued you off.

    July 17, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  40. Leonard Ware

    Absolutely yes Affirmative Action is still necessary infact as long as racial discrimination exists the need for Affirmative Action must be implemented. Why ? for divesity, it is a proven fact that better decisions, better higher education discussions in the classrooms from the Ivy League to Land Grant State Universities to private and public 2 or 4 year schools take place when diversity among students from diffrent racial and economic backgrounds as a result of Affirmative Action.

    Black people are still considered a Suspect Classification by the U.S. Supreme Court when the legal question concerning the 14th Amendment- due process and equal protection clauses are interpreted by the court. Why because blacks are still politically powerless. How? The lack of representation of black U.S. Senators, to few members of Congress and to few black members of state and local legislative and judicial bodies as well as governors and county CEO's.Remember the cry in the Revolutionary War "No taxation without representation."

    From 1877 when Reconstruction ended and then started the great reign of the KU KLUX KLAN reaching its height in 1924 under Calvin Coolidge Administration, to Brown vs The Board of Education of Topeka Kansas and The Civil Rights Movement, black people have been and still are the victims of racial discrimination and economic disenfranchisement. Why does the United States need Affirmative Action because studies still show the Black people still suffer the effects and affects of slavery, Jim Crow, Willie Lynch, Segregation, economic and political disenfranchisement and Welfare programs which enabled single black family house holds. Enabling like perhaps Michael Jackson or any alleged addict is when doctors refuse to say no and help and restore Michael Jackson and others to recovery. The greatest shame that exists in the tragic death of Michael Jackson is not placed with Michael but on the lack of recovery and rehabilitation that exists in our criminal justice system and in this nations medical doctors motivations and medical and psychological institutions methods. Also this nations media has exploited and made sport of people like Michael Jackson and Brittany Spears for ratings and money i e greed and callous concern for the welfare of the entertainers and other celebrities and other citizens which Cable News and Network News covers on Television and radio. The corporate dominated press today is as oppressive, corrupt, and lacks as much responsibility and professionalism as the "Yellow Press" of the turn of Twentieth Century which Teddy Roosevelt spoke out against.

    Affrimative Action is a remedy to discrimination and requires racial minorities and women to be qualified for Universities and jobs in the public and private sector. If any of the opponents of Affirmative Action who spoke on your segment would like to see the stastics of Black in America by Soledad O'Brien and other disturbing statistics which demonstrate that segregation and discrimination are still a glaring reality today. Please do another segment on The Need for Affirmative Action and inform the public of the alarming statistics facing minorities and women in the United States of America. President John F. Kennedy came on national television in 1962 and stated the vital economic and socialogical statistics Black Americans vs White Americans and I say to the opponents of Affirmative Action those oppressive disparities based on race still exist today. Martin Luther King's words are still relevant today "We have come a long long way but we still have a long long way to go." Who of the opponents of Affirmative Action who are White or rich or well to do would like the color of their skin changed, their gender changed or their generations of economic and educational privilege changed and stand in the place of a Black or Latina or women or the poor denied the basic right to affordable housing, a quality primary or higher education or high paying job or business on the account of race, national origin, gender or economic disadvantage.

    This nation has made great social, political and economic gains in and among all classes of people because of Affirmative Action and other progressive programs. These programs such as Affirmative Action must continue to make real the promise of justice, equality of Democracy articulated in the Bill of Rights, The I Have a Dream Speech and the Innaguration Speech of President John F. Kennedy which were inspired by God and Democracy.

    Mr. Justice Clarence Thomas an opponent of Affirmative Action is not qualified to sit on our nation's highest court But Mr. Justice Thurogood Marshall was because he was qualified. However Mr. Clarence Thomas cashed in on the progressive change in attitude of this country. It is sad to think that Thomas's decisions and ideology are not consistent with the creative and progressive protests, legislation and executive orders and Yale University's recruitment efforts for racial diversity which elevated Mr. Thomas to educational and professional positions in his life.

    Opponents of Affirmative Action are wrong when they call it a quota system. When I worked for three members of Congress in Washington, Democrats took every quota provision out of Civil Rights and Affirmative Action legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1991. And Conservatives and Republicans still played false political games by claiming that Affirmative Action always involve quotas. They call every Affirmative Action Bill a quota bill . Opponents of Affirmative Action have inposed their own quota and what is it? The answer is one Black, Latina or woman in a workforce or University classroom.

    CNN above all, the workforce or the classrooms of our colleges must reflect the percentage of qualified applicants in order for this nation to remain just and free for all citizens to have equal access to opportunity. Without Affirmative Action, diversity and the quality education and cooperate decisions that Affirmative Action produces would disappear and this nation would be the looser.

    In this nation we have over one million Blackmen in prison and that is three times more than the number of Black men we have in college. This is a national disgrace not only for the Black community but more importantly for this nation that still does very little about this alarming statistic. There is no greater economic investment that this nation can make than in spending tax dollars which assure minorities, women and Whites access to an affordable and quality higher education. Because one more educated tax paying citizen is one more citizen less likely to end up in prison as a tax burden.

    July 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  41. LaMonica

    Changing the laws that provide inclusion and diversity DOES NOT change the minds of people who are driven by prejudice ..SO YES..Until humans completely accept each other openly, there needs to be some legal recourse and assurance that those who wish to shut others who are not like them out CAN NOT!

    July 17, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  42. Elizabeth

    There are many privileged minorities who grow up with advantages unavailable to poor white children. Not every person starts out in this country on equal ground, but I feel the real divide stems from socio-economic classes, not racial groups, and poverty may disproportionately affect minority children but it certainly doesn't follow a clean racial line. Affirmative action should address equal access opportunities for all people of disadvantaged backgrounds, minorities and whites alike. It should not be used to benefit middle and upper class minorities. You will never convince me that Sasha and Malia Obama are going to need preferential consideration over a poor white kid in Appalachia striving to be the first in his family to go to college when it comes time to apply to Ivy League universities. Yes, the quality of public education in most inner city schools is abysmal compared to the more affluent suburbs. I taught public school in Baltimore City and know this firsthand. But I believe that is more a function of poverty than race. The public schools in rural, poverty-stricken areas certainly aren't any better but for some reason in this country white poverty seems to be a politically invisible issue.

    July 17, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  43. Lamar from Lakeland, FL

    The Republicans are pro "Tokenism" and against taking any action that forces diversity in the workplace. Their opposition to Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a perfect example of their racists’ ideology. How in the world can Republicans support Clarence (Uncle Tom) Thomas and oppose Sotomayor? Caveat: the ABA rating of Thomas was the least favorable of any confirmed Supreme Court nominee dating back to the Eisenhower administration (most nominees receive unanimous "well qualified" evaluations). The ABA based its unanimous "well qualified" evaluation of Sotomayor on a review of her integrity, competence and judicial temperament. Therefore, show me a woman or Hispanic that is a Republican and I’ll show you a hypocrite and a fool.

    Here’s why: Thomas benefited from affirmative action to get on the court (and into law school) and was used by the Republicans to replace Thurgood Marshall (undisputable evidence of an obvious quota appointment by Bush – who was anti quotas). Even Ray Charles (who was blind and now dead) can see that Thomas (who opposed Affirmative Action after benefiting from it) is only a token shield used by the Republicans against criticism of their racist ideology.

    July 17, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  44. Lamar from Lakeland, FL

    The Republicans are pro "Tokenism" and against taking any action that forces diversity in the workplace. Their opposition to Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a perfect example of their racists’ ideology.

    How in the world can Republicans support Clarence (Uncle Tom) Thomas and oppose Sotomayor? Caveat: the ABA rating of Thomas was the least favorable of any confirmed Supreme Court nominee dating back to the Eisenhower administration (most nominees receive unanimous "well qualified" evaluations). The ABA based its unanimous "well qualified" evaluation of Sotomayor on a review of her integrity, competence and judicial temperament. Therefore, show me a woman or Hispanic that is a Republican and I’ll show you a hypocrite and a fool.

    Here’s why: Thomas benefited from affirmative action to get on the court (and into law school) and was used by the Republicans to replace Thurgood Marshall (undisputable evidence of an obvious quota appointment by Bush – who was anti quotas). Even Ray Charles (who was blind and not dead) can see that Thomas (who opposed Affirmative Action after benefiting from it) is only a token shield used by the Republicans against criticism of their racist ideology.

    July 17, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  45. Alan

    We say we'd like to get to a day when we no longer analyze a person's gender or ethnicity. Yet, often it is the applicant themselves, or their supporters, who are bringing up the issue, not the opponents. Example – in the case of Sotomayor, it is she who advanced the notion that a Latino was better than others, which is reverse racism.

    When we see less "non-whites" in public office, this cannot be fixed with Affirmative Action. This is what Democracy and the Ballot Box are for. Public opinion has determined the mix in Congress, so it is quite perplexing when people complain about the Congressional ethnic mix.

    Finally, the numbers of women or certain ethnicities in college cannot be fixed by Affirmative Action. People are either interested in higher levels of education, or they are not. Setting a quota does not suddenly make someone interested or qualified. The root of the problem is much deeper than this. Equal standards for all is the least discriminatory, while Affirmative Action seems most bigoted, as it lowers standards and assumes the "protected party" cannot make it on his/her own merits.

    July 17, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  46. John

    Boy Nikki Taylor, do you think you can squeeze any more African Americans in your piece? Yet, you always refer to European Americans as just a color "White". Another example of racism by this typical pro-Afirmative Action blooger.

    July 17, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  47. Mike

    I think Affirmative Action is still needed especially in the South. I live in Louisiana and our governor pledged to the people in north Louisiana that he would not hire a black male in his administraion as a cabinet secretary. Since his inauguaration only one black is a cabinet secretary who has served under three different administrations, and she is the less paid secretary under the Jindal administration. With that said I know affirmative action is needed.

    July 17, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  48. John

    Typical Black racist comment By Debbie Jackson on this blog: It’s so typical of white people and all their decendents who have never suffered in this country to downplay the value of the need for affirmative action. It’s so easy to go out on the street and find other racists or self-hating blacks to denigrate affirmative action.

    No Debbie, European Americans have suffered greatly thru the years at the hands of your brothers. We have been robbed, raped and murdered at rates 8 times that of Whites or any other ethnical group. Our homes and neighborhoods have been decimated, especially in the Midwest and Northern cities. Miles and miles of your groups destruction line south Chicago and that's just one city. You have sufferred in no such way. You benefit in everyway because you live in this country instead of the corrupted, gang filled and third world hell whole that you could be from. You owe European Americans soooo much!

    You are an ignorant bigot who wants special treatment as long as white-folk get the shaft. You are a RACIST!!! Congratulations. You show what is all wrong with the racist A.A.

    July 17, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  49. John

    No after the election of the first "HALF" Black and "HALF" White President, no we don't need Affirmative Action which is a code phrase for "Always hire the Balck guy first, before you hire any European Americans! "

    July 17, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  50. Lamar from Lakeland, FL

    Since the Republicans have always been against Civil Rights and diversity, they are using Obama's election as an excuse to get rid of AA despite the statistics that women doctors make 55% of what men doctors make. Institutional discrimination is still alive and well and the Republicans don't want to do a darn thing about it.

    July 17, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  51. Victoria

    Until you remove the box that says anything other than Human we will not continue to move on past race.

    July 17, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  52. Missy

    As the "NEW" minority, or in reality an age old one, though never TRULY ADDRESSED and a multitude of "Minorities" consistently taking the fore-front we, I fear will continue to be pushed on the back burner, yet again. The minority I speak of are the cross-over group of once "throw away children," (of a "baby boomer generation," now in their adulthood") without regard to age, sex, color, etc.,; but, because of how they were forced to raise themselves if you will, were and continue to be left in the dust, just as when they were over a century ago. I AM one of those "THROW AWAYS," (a white, american, female) who, was DENIED a "FORMAL" elemental education, simply because of not having immunization records and a "parents" signature. Nothing was EVER handed to me, but earned in a very long and tedious process. I educated myself, got a GED, and as an adult (30's) went on to become a REGISTERED NURSE, with a minor degree in science, while operating a home-based business, and raising a child and husband! I graduated with a 3.98/4.0 GPA, Phi Theta Kappa, National Deans List, etc. and fought for every single bit of it, NOTHING was given to me, but had I been perhaps of another color, or of another ethnic origin might things have been different...I must wonder? My dream was to be a doctor,not a nurse, and my intellectual scores and life achievements, speak for themselves, but even in a time of the "WOMENS LIBERATION" they seemed to be just words to passively lip talk; while, in reality equated to look the other way. If an "affirmative action" movement IS to remain in effect I, as now a disabled RN (on a fixed SSDI income, after making in upwards of $90,000.00/yr) do believe it needs to be revised to address those of us who by NO choice of our own, but just because, were left behind and many of us by clawing our way up without, assistance or recognition and because of the lives we were FORCED to SURVIVE, are either disabled, homeless, indebted to many, and still being FORCED to SURVIVE, while other "MINORITIES" continue to reap the benefits simply because of an antiquated "affirmative action" movement that has left those like myself chased by creditor, when having to "borrow from Peter to pay Paul" to coin a phrase, wondering if and when our SSDI will be no more, despite the fact, it was our tax dollars, that created those funds, or what is worse to come? In conclusion if the "AMERICAN BORN PEOPLE" are not addressed as a single unit regardless of their monetary, race, age,etc, when speaking to "affirmative action" then where dare I say is the affirmation (?) there is none and therefore should in MY opinion be discarded, just as those of us were and continue to be...

    July 17, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  53. Lamar from Lakeland, FL

    With only two women in the Senate and 51% of our population female, AA is needed for each state to be required by law to elect one woman senator.

    July 17, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  54. Rod

    Afirmative Action, is still neccessary, in the U.S. until some races, stop thinking they are entitled to jobs, housing, etc., yes we still will need AA.

    CNN should look at their file footage, Black in America it will sum it all up. How could a Black man with a college degree, still be valued less than a White man with a felony conviction.

    July 17, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  55. GENE

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? HAVE PEOPLE FORGOTTEN WHY WE NEEDED (AA) IN THE FIRST PLACE? AS LONG AS THERE IS JUST THE HINT OF DISCRIMINATION IS HOW LONG WE NEED (AA) I DO NOT BELIEVE THERE WOULD BE AS MANY SUCCESSFUL MINORITIES INCLUDING WOMEN WHO HAVE REACHED SUCH A LEVEL OF SUCCESS OR ACCOMPLISHMENT IF NOT FOR (AA). YES WE STILL NEED (AA) BECAUSE I EXPERIENCE DISCRIMINATION STILL BY THOSE WHO DISPLAY THAT TYPE OF THINKING SOMETIMES OUTWARDLY AND BY THOSE WHO ARE DISCRETE,BUT YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON. I NEEDED (AA) WHEN I DECIDED TO GO TO NURSING SCHOOL AND NOW EVEN IN MY WORK PLACE FOR MILW COUNTY IT IS STILL A PROBLEM THANK GOODNESS WE HAVE SOME RECOURSE FOR THOSE BEHAVIORS

    July 17, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  56. Aaron

    I like how all of the sudden AA can be even considered as if it's not needed anymore. Just because the minorities of this country have a "break" and are getting jobs and making a name for themselves, does not mean that "it's your turn now" Is the non-minority's now claiming that "enough is enough, you've had your time to get out there....let's get rid of AA so we can go back to slacking off ourselves." That's basically what it sounds like. Why not just force yourself to think outside the box? Instead of the changing the rules, once again, in order to fit your passive lifestyles?

    July 17, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  57. Shawn

    The mere fact that people (white people) are asking "should affirmative action be done away with?" is a sign we still have a way to go for equality and justice for all. Just less then eight years ago I was told by an Alabama company they would not hire a black salesman. I believe that this program is more then numbers. It's a way of reeducating people from the old way white people believed and are taught how things should be in America. When we fully learn to live together, affirmative action will automatically cease. For my white friends who feel they have experienced reverse discrimination, I say, this is what we have experienced for centuries. And must happen from time to time until balance is restored.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  58. Maureen Richards

    Yes, Affirmative Action is still needed in this country. Until a white boss does not feel threatened by a smart black man who is on top of his game. When that boss stops walking around making comments that "we are in the minority" and stop promoting white men and white woman who are unqualified for the positions he promotes them to. When that white boss stops ignoring the value that black man brings to the company and stop working to get rid of him. Including practicing subliminal racism that is hard to prove in a court of law. Like ignoring that man in meetings, going to his subordinates for info he needs instead of dealing with you directly and deliberately keep him out of the loop when it comes to important information he needs to perform his job. When I can go to bed at night (like most white women in my neighborhood and not worry about my son being harrassed by a white cop who assumes because he is black he does not belong in the neighborhood or is up to no good. When my son stops being verbally abused in his neighborhood, when a traing truck owned by a big corporation (full of white trainees) rolls back into his car and he calls the the police and they arrive and walked by him to get the white mans statement first and then proceed to verbally abuse him and continue even when I get there and I have to stand there helpless, with a black officer telling me "oh he is just passionate about his job". but does nothing to stop the abuse because he is just as scared for his job or when he has to depend on that white Officer to over him in a dangerous situation. Until, I don't have to watch my son cry like a baby (he was 21 yrs. old, 23 now) and say how much he hates Alabama. Until, I can feel safe enough to follow the advice of a friend who is in the System to file a report and can do so without fearing that my son will be targeted by the police. Until a Latina, Black, Asian whichever minority can say that the some of their experiences makes them who they are without being laid into by a bunch of privillage white men, who in just about everything they do, is influence by their privillages their white skin allow them. Until, we can have testing developed that fairly assess the ability of the total make up of the American landscape. Until all children are given the same opportunities to good health and the same quality schools, so they can reach their full God given potential.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  59. Omar Fdo. Sánchez

    As a former overseas employee at the Johns Hopkins University, I can say that discrimination is still going on in America. I was not treated equally by one of my coordinators simply because I came from a latin American country. He was a good person underneath, but he never showed any interest or consideration for my work, in spite of the fact that I was doing a great job. Also, as a teacher, I was able to see a lot of differences among different ethnic groups in America. I still do not understand why Americans are so worried about races and why being white and anglosaxon is still a plus. America has been built with the aid of different races from all continents of our planet and the color of your skin does not guarantee being superior if compared to others. we are simply humans who belong to a unique human race. We eat, sleep, work and die and no superior race has ever overcome those simple issues, at least that I'm aware of.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  60. LJ Pegues

    YES! Affirmative action is still necessary, and should be expanded.
    Having an African-American as our President does not mean that racism no longer exists. President Obama was elected to run our country because he was the most qualified candidate. There is a silent majority of racist and racist thinking that still exists in the United States today.

    CNN's Carol Costello, are you forgetting that only a few weeks ago in the City of "Brotherly Love" 65 African-American youth were denied access to a swimming club because of the color of their skin? In California, and other states, enrollment is down of African-American students in colleges as a result of Ward Connerly's attempts to get rid of racial preferences. Now the number of under represented minorities in the University of California system is at an all time low, If one were to look solely at the racial makeup of the NCAA basketball and football teams, one would think that there should be a large percentage of African-Americans on campus in non-sports related disciplines. Unfortunately this is not the case.

    Today you can still count in the single digits the percentage of African-Americans that are running, or are executives, at Fortune 500 companies.

    It is ridiculous to think that Affirmative Action is no longer necessary. Racial diversity is needed in almost every professional industry. African-Americans still face racial discrimination in education, job promotions, home loan applications, and justice in general. The unbalanced number of African-Americans in prison based on their population in the US, does not mean that Whites are NOT committing crimes (e.g.Bernie Madoff, Enron, Worldcom). Whites are getting less harsh sentences, if they are even charged at all, and hardly ever fall prey to mandatory minimums or the 3 strikes law.

    Cocaine offenders usually do NOT receive harsh prison sentences for having almost 10 times the amount of cocaine than a person with a negligible amount of crack cocaine. Unbelievably The crack user gets the harsher sentence. This type of injustice is yet another subtle form of racial discrimination.`The way the laws are now, the cocaine user gets probation with little or no jail time and community service, while the person with a table spoon of crack usually goes to hard core jail for years.

    Carol Costello, if affirmative action was not a part of America's history, you probably would not have had the opportunities you have had that have lead you to have be a contributor with CNN.

    Let's not forget that not even 50 years ago, African-Americans were killed by police and racist groups for marching peacefully for various forms of freedom and their human rights.
    Affrimative Action is needed, and should be expanded so there can TRULY be Liberty and Justice for ALL.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  61. Victoria

    Some people complain of Socialism. Welfare and AA Are socialistic concepts. You can not raise the bar for everyone (including Politicians) if you keep giving out freebies to everyone.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  62. Reginald Johnson

    Yes I do think Affirative Action is still needed, people need to understand that the reason there is such a vast difference with things as Employment in relation to the unemployment numbers in this Country start from childhood. Most States do not have a system in place to ensure the same dollars spent on students from middle to upper class communities compared to lower income to poor communities. I grew up in the inner city of Chicago in a middle to lower income community, when I reach High School I was not prepared for the required academics. I am now 43 years old and a single parent with a 17 year old daughter whom I have been raising in a Surburb in Northern Cook County my daughter has had the opportunity to be in a very good school district for Elementry School; Junior High and now High School which is Maine East High School that many prominent people today once attended. My daughter is
    Bi-Lingual her second language beeing Spanish, she just received her ACT score which was a 21 on both her first time and second time and I know for a fact that it was me being able to afford to live in the area we do where the District spends on each student aproximately $7, 600.00 per student. If you have generations of children being taught on a substandard level to their counterparts there will always be vast differences in Employment; Health Care and every important aspect of life. Look at the numbers of voter turning out in weel to do communities compared to poor comunities, it starts with Education and until each student is receiving equal dollars and not just based on division based on Property Taxes we will always need this system in place to ballance out what has been unfairly withheld from certain groups based on income.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  63. Mike Bonn

    Affirmitive Action was a good idea that in the usual congressional way was warped out of original intent. Not only did it evolve into a quota system, it lowered our country's educational standards to where we are now no longer the top rated educational system in the world. We rewarded incompetentcy and neglected merit and talent. It has also generated non-minority resentment and a backlash by those that have suffered through reverse discrimination which gices birth to hidden racism. Constitutional "equal protection" and also "the pursuit of happiness" should be available to all citizens of our once great country. Affirmitive Action reminds me of the old saying "the class can only advance as fast as the slowest stuident" Every citizen must ask themselves "has America improved since affirmitive action was implemented ? It's time to STOP THE DECAY of our society !

    July 17, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  64. Nikki Taylor

    This question is disturbing on so many levels; but I am not sure if the question or the comments here are more unsettling. Affirmative Action was designed to right past wrongs. The Supreme Court, president, and legsilators who all constructed dfferent parts of this system in the 160s understood–with no uncertainty– that African Americans had faced long term and ongoing discrimination. No one dsiputed that back then. That discrimination not only spread across social, economic and political sectors, but also denied and limited African Americans' life's opportunities. All one had to do was look at most of the nation's colleges, corportaions, state and local government, etc to see the effects of that discrimination.

    As Americans we need to be wiser. Just because there has been one African American president, 3 African American senators in 100 years and two African American Supreme Court Justices in 200 years and a handful of African- American millionaires, some whites and others feel threatened by the one-half of one percent who actually break through the walls of discrimination. It is ludicrous and assinine to think that these few examples are evidence that Affirmative Action is no longer needed. President Obama and other examples are EXCEPTIONS, not the rule. The truth is that despite the African American president, the everyday political and economic status of African Americans has not and will not get any better.
    There will always be a few who rise through discrimination and become successful, but the MASSES of African Americans are still trapped in that disrimination that was set in place so long ago. The measure of African Americans' full integration into society and access to equal opportunity should not be measured by the EXCEPTIONS, but by the progress of the MASSES. How can we ask such a question when this country is more segregated that it was in 1950 and when African American males are being shuttled in prisons quicker than they are into colleges (all the while America, land of the free, had the highest prison popluation in the world–and most of those are African Americans). In 2009, it is still surprising when I meet an African-American chemist or surgeon or professor. That is NOT because the desire is not there, but the fact that there are real barriers that begin in our separate and unequal school elementary and sceondary systems.
    Questions like these are quite perncious–especially since most Americans are not very educated or informed about African Americans status or our struggles. I am shocked that the same channel that will next week host Black in America would be asking such a question. Such questions strike at the heart of a mentality that African Americans are "taking over" and to put it bluntly, go far in stoking racial resentment. After the Civil War when the former confederates state and local officials were stripped of their rights to vote, African Americans, armed with their new right to vote, stepped in to fill those offices. African Americans served in state and local governments in unprecedented numbers. And the battlecry used to get them out of office began with the mentality that they were "taking over." Journalists and others wrote editorials about how the darker race was taking over the government and created hysteria over the idea. The result: what some would call the darkest hour in American History. African Americans were denied political power for another 100 years.

    That mentality that African Americans are dominating not only moved some whites to grossly inhumane acts like lynching, but also inspired everyday discrimination–which is always more persistent and destuctive in the long term– including moving out of the neighborhood when black families moved in, denying African Americans business and real estate loans, sabotage of African American co-workers, teaching ones children to "stay away" from the African American children at school, filing law-suits claiming reverse discrimination, etc.
    Please, I beg you CNN, ask more responsible questions like, "why does racial inequality persist despite having one African American Senator, two Latino Senators and an African American president? "
    Another, even BETTER question is "Why are so many white women opposed to Affirmative Action when all data proves that they ARE AND HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST beneficiaries of it?" The irony there is that they were not even part of the original vision of Affirmative Action. Most Americans do not know that white women benefit more than African Americans. If they knew that, I do not think they would speak out against themselves. SO instead of stoking old myths and fires of "black dominance", CNN, why not educate your viewers so that the myths are DISPELLED once and for all? I found it sadly amusing that the very person who led this story was herself–as a white woman-a beneficiary of Affirmative Action–whether she knows it or not. I also noticed that many of the people in your clip who opposed it are people of color. That suggests that they themselves (like most white women) may be blinded by the mythology that the media passes off as truth. Please use the media to educate, inform, dispel myths and ultimately heal racial divides–not to fan old flames of racial resentment because we FINALLY have a person of color on the wall of presidents.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  65. Charles

    I'm a biracial man and am often engaged in dialogue about race related issues with my white side of the family. Time and again have I heard my cousin gripe about how he did not get accepted into the law school of his choosing because of Affirmative Action. Now that we have a Black president, it "affirms" his belief that the playing field has been leveled and that AA is irrelevant. I attended both a private and state school for college and the number of colored faces that I saw were far and few in-between. Often I encountered more Asians than any other demographic outside of whites. As far as comments made by some Blacks i.e., Clarence Thomas, that AA robbed them of their true achievement; I believe that because of AA they were given the opportunity to achieve at that level. The issue is not as simple as saying "I believe that AA is necessary or not." That statistics for people of color in regards to high school attrition, college enrollment, prison incarceration, teen pregnancy, and teen violence make it clear that AA is as relevant today as it was in the 1960's. These are not only endemic issues related to culture that the culture needs to deal with, but also an issue born out of the systematic oppression evidenced in biased public policy and a prejudice legal system just to name a couple.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  66. ivy

    Yes, for minorities. There are always been affirmitive action for non-minorities. The children of alumnis, children of contributors etc. How do you explains children of presidents, senators get into collages even if they don't have the grades. Ex. President Bush.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  67. Alexandria Casey

    I see some irony when a cable network asks whether affirmative action is still needed, has an anchor say that we need to think of ourselves without labels, and then cuts to a promo for "Black in America 2."
    When we stop labelling ourselves, when we have a special series on "American in America 2," then we'll be making positive strides. Highlight our similarities, our strengths, our unifying factors - a focus on our differences and repeating a litany of grudges and grievances can only perpetuate that schism.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  68. Maggie Purvis

    I'm sure that it feels NICE to say, Affirmative Action is not needed. But that nice feeling is like any other high...temporary and quite possibly harmful. Most people who say it have no real understanding of Affirmative action, who it's REALLY benefited most and what it seeks to accomplish. If a manager poorly administers the program, it is not the fault of Affirmative Action and it certainly does not point to a lack of a NEED for it.

    A black president is a job earned by ONE person. It has nothing to do with Joe Racist/Sexist who holds all the control over positions in organizations across this country. It also has nothing to do with Jane "I don't See Race and I also haven't hired AnY PEOPLE of COLOR". I totally understand why people want to receive CREDIT for being different from their parents and grandparents...but folks, that DOES NOT mean that CONDITIONS have changed just because you're patting yourself on the back for being "evolved."

    So for those who want to get rid of Afirmative Action why not suggest that we do it in phases. Maybe we should start with it no longer counting for white women, since they apparently no longer need it, nor want it, based on the interviews on CNN.

    Like everyone else, I enjoyed the lull of the we are one tune floating in my head. That tune ended on an oh so memorable day when as the only African American Manager at a large charity, I received the most VILE racist and sexist letter threatening me and other African Americans in the organization. Folks this wasnt in the sixties it was a mere TWO YEARS AGO in METROPOLITAN ATLANTA, the home of CNN.

    That the system actually now PISSES PEOPLE off, who have LOST ABSOLUTELY NOTHING tells you that it is VERY MUCH SO NEEDED and will be for a long time. By the way, the best sign of REACHING is to quote Justice Clarence Thomas when looking for what "progressive blacks" think about this topic.

    Be well.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  69. William

    Yes! affirmintive action is still needed now more than ever.
    Those that say it is not needed probably was helped by affirmintive action to get in school or get positions in employment, now it's not needed. Believe me affirmintive is still needed!

    July 17, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  70. CRUZ in NY

    AM is still needed becuase it's a way to make sure that when discrimination
    Happens there is a legal way of deadilng with it, also speaking from an
    immigrants point of view this law also it keeps business owners
    From abusing or taking advantage of minorities and women.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  71. Phillip B. Mack

    Yes, Affirmative Action is necessary and is still ignored. In 30 years 8 candidates who qualified for flight school in the Il. National Guard, but were refused, went on to become airline or Air Force pilots. The same pre Tuskegee attitude exists that Blacks can't fly helicopters. Even with affirmative action, bias commanders prevent minoity flight school applicants from advancing. No African American or Hispanic pilots or Officers in the Aviation units in Chicago...We not only need affirmative action but basic EEO laws to be spotlighted.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  72. Victoria

    The next time you think on AA remember it is every where. Airlines like Northwest now part of Delta or United, (United was sued and now Hires Quotas of unqualified people because the government mandated that they have too.) (in's not fair) Airlines that hire unqualified pilots because the will be sued if they do not. This rises cost on the airlines we have to pay in higher ticket costs. Now some of there pilots will never upgrade to fly with out a buddy captain but what happens if they leave to go to another company? Sometimes they end up in the training department teaching others , (not the right way of teaching others to fly..safety I think not)

    Some Jobs don't have the luxury to hire unqualified people with your safety, think of that the next time you get on a plan.

    PS: Some insurance companies refuse to insure plans at companies like: United, because the odds are there will be accidents.

    other Bad AA caused jobs:
    Female fire fighters that carry the load...safety? ...not qualified.

    Or like the teachers like in NY that get paid not to teach (because of AA) they graduated to teach but cant read English or Math. So they show up to a School and sit in a room with other non qualified teachers. They get paid tax payer money not to teach.

    In Times like today tax or grant money can not fund these useless efforts to be fair.

    Great question! We all have to earn what we get, AA might have got B. Obama in the door at Harvard??? But I like to think he earned it because he did the work.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  73. ray

    Of coarse its time to stop discrimination based on a race! How can we improve race relations with this kind of discrimination !

    July 17, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  74. Amy

    I want to comment on your question about affimative action. My son was attending a all boys private school in Ohio and was labled with a behavior problem due to typical class clowning in class. But there were white males inthis school that #1. made bomb threat, #2. drugs in locker and lastly making sexual advantages on other students and had no lable put on them. There has been major problems at this private school concerning minorities and my son was ask not to return along with several other minorities due to reasons that was not major comparing to what I mention about the white males. They even had a major meeting less than a month ago due to racial issues. WE STIIL NEED THIS ACTION TO STAY IN PLACE!!!! There is major racism still especially in Ohio and I plan to be heard about my son's situation. There was no way he deserved this treatment. Please contact me if you need more information.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  75. Bev

    Affirmative action, for me, was reverse discrimination. I was more qualitifed for a job but lost the race simply because an affirmative action quota had to be filled. It changed my life. Being caucasion and a woman was a racial barrier. People should be judged by qualifcations, not by race. I vote to abolish Affirmative Action.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  76. Kate

    To say that Affirmative Action is no longer necessary is, at best, naive and ignorant. When will Americans really grasp the pitfalls of only looking at one's own community in order to judge the needs of others? It seems odd that a country that so proudly boasts operating within the fundamentals of Christianity can't embrace the idea that we need to take care of each other. If everyone in the US were given a month or even a week to experience first hand the poor education, policing, health care, and lack of work opportunities that so many of our fellow citizens are born into due to our socio-economic gaps, they might think differently. Affirmative Action is NOT about hand-outs or creating people who don't work, it's about remembering to include those who are from the communities we, as a country, have so easily left behind.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:19 am |
  77. Wayland Burton

    Yes, affirmative action is still needed. You still have a society where qualifications do not count more than skin color, gender or age. Groups have learned to "spin" their bias. It is hard to put the genie back into the bottle after it was released but that was what happen when years of discrimination established an imbalanced in practices. All discrimination is wrong but the scares of discrimination will live in infamy.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  78. Ms. Jones

    A white person will never say a better qualified person of color should be selected to get the job that they want. Do an EEOC search, new cases are popping up everyday where the less qualified whites are getting positions over higher qualified people of color...hmmmm why is that?

    July 17, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  79. Don

    Carol, I am a 57 year old vet...After serving my country,I came home to affirmative action in the 1970's. I wanted a job that would have retirement..I Tried the Ohio state Troopers,Firefigters,Lineman for the power company and so on..I was told each time I could not be hired because I was white and the positions were to be filled by Minorities and women...Wow ,how fair is that!!! I am so tired of this Race Thing ,we are all equal... Affirmative Action Destroys a persons Dreams. Thanks for listening, Don

    July 17, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  80. Frances Speegle

    Every time Affirmative Action is mentioned the only people who are included are color, sex, and ethnicity. At no time have I heard people with handicaps mentioned. This is also included in the Affirmative Action law and is the reason why my husband got a job 29-1/2 years ago. He is an amputee, minus his left leg due to cancer. He had just been diagnosed with minor heart problems, but every time he filled out an application either he lied or knew whoever looked at that application would not get past his medical history and look at his qualifications. It was because and only because of Affirmative Action that company personnel departments were forced to look beyond his other medical history. He gave that company 28 years of loyalty, was called back twice after retiring, finally retiring for good last year.

    Also, I'm with the one woman who said that the day we don't look at a Supreme Court nominee because of her sex and ethnicity is the day Affirmative Action is not needed any longer. I have tried very hard for a number of years to become colorblind. I also try very hard to not use sex, color or ethnicity when I talk about someone.

    I can remember cautioning a Judicial nominee about his comments. He was "bragging" about his black and homosexual friends at a NOW meeting. Obviously, that didn't go over well. I took him aside the next time I saw him and told him about driving two elderly friends to night meetings. One was a black woman. I didn't call her my black friend, she was my friend who happened to be black. He got the message.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  81. Aziza Zaire

    A comment for "Justice Hoffiman": Networks like BET and institutions like HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) and the NAACP were formed out of necessity b/c of the exclusion of Blacks in so-called majority institutions. So while CNN or FOX News aren't called white news stations, we know who owns them and to whom they cater. Let's not blame Black institutions for creating or keeping alive racial divisions in this country.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:17 am |
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