[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/17/obama.naacp.ny.gi.art.jpg caption="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'
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