American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
July 17th, 2009
06:38 AM ET

Is affirmative action still necessary?

[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'
soundoff (282 Responses)
  1. richard

    once you have equal education and hiring is based on test results with race not put on applications and interviews for jobs that can be done online or by phone, race should not be an issue...affirmative action or quotas itself is discrimination... and has no place at this time in this country, and while im taking the time to write this,the u.s. is an english speaking country my father had to learn english.i should not have to speak spanish to get the majority of local ,state , or federal jobs.i do not want a bilingual country,however learning a second language of our choice..... is always a good idea

    July 17, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  2. Tony L.

    If you believe that access to housing, jobs & certain institutions of learning are free of bias and a thing of the past, you're in denial. All one needs to do is look at the bias recently seen while Black chilldren
    trying to access a swimming facility in Phila.(with contract in hand) were denied and verbally insulted. This is the most obvious form of discrimination that stings so painfully. Tell those little children
    who had tears in their eyes that they had an equal chance at access. As an adult, I've learned to hold my tears but the sting of the subtle bias that we as black people still experience today is no less painful.
    Having an African American President does not mean the playing field is now level. It's a start, but Affirmative Action (not to be confused with a Quota system) is a necessary tool to deal with and adjust for the more subtle forms of bias and racism that continue to threaten me and my children's chance at realizing the American Dream.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  3. Stacey

    Its funny that everything having to do with AA is viewed as black and latino. When in fact affirmative action as helped more economically disadvantaged WHITE men and WHITE woman, asians, and native americans then it has helped latinos and blacks. Which is a good thing as well. I just think people use race to say get rid of it when race isnt the primary factor in most AA instances.

    People ASSUME that because someone is black and got a good job over a white person it was because of AA..did you ever stop to think "hmmmm maybe they just didnt like me??" When i dont get a job I have never thought it was because I wasnt white so why is it that when a white person doesnt get a job it is becasue they "werent black". Maybe they just didnt want YOU for the job..period.

    Yes AA is still needed in some form because discrimintation still takes place of gender and race. And i hope that white women understand that they have benefited the most and shouldnt be so quick to "get rid of it"

    July 17, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  4. Diana

    Good morning,

    I agree that when we stop referring to people as "we have a black in the White House", and "we now have a Latino Judge"; and can with ease refer to people as men and women – that's when "Affirmative Action" will serve no purpose.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  5. Greg

    US will be in debt to people of color until they retrieve our past before slavery. We have no true cultural Identity. Americans are forcing us to take on an Identity thats not ours. Is that fair? How can you forget about being stripped from your homeland and brought to a strange place to build up for Europeans. Capitalism was birthed off the backs of Africans and the blood of Indians. That goes for Hispanics too. They are the result of African Imports also to work sugar cane fields and such. Affirmative Action is not enough. We need our cultural Identity back! But until then no programs in place for advancement of people of color should be removed.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  6. Suliman

    Yes affirmative action need to stay yet since there are lots of reversed discrimination .

    Thanks,

    A.S

    July 17, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  7. Herman Washington

    The answer is simply YES. Just look at early morning television news programs, including CNN. Hardly a minority face anywhere, The election of the nation's first African American president, does not resolve systematic discrimination that occurs everyday in hirings and promotions in large companies, local, and federal government work places. Things are certainly much improved, but, we are not "there" , yet.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  8. M

    AA is not only totally and utterly unnecessary, but it is as backwards as it gets. It is in fact reverse discrimination. Allowing any unqualified person cut the line and take a position that others have EARNED by studying and paying for is ridiculous. I sure don’t want a product of Affirmative Action doing surgery on myself or anyone I know. I have known police officers who were SLAPPED IN THE FACE just like the firefighters were. I know YOU would think differently on this issue if it were YOU who studied, busted your behind, and prepared yourself for the big test and then were passed up for anyone (regardless of race or gender) who is not nearly as qualified as you are for the job. This is and has been an outrage. Who can’t see this? Only those who may possibly benefit from it and those who have been brainwashed to feel guilty for who they are.

    As for having to still mention that someone is a minority. Minorities are many times the first to mention the word minority.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  9. Mikaela Skye

    Cannot believe that this question is being added. Additionally, after reading the comments above the commentor was not truthful stating that most people had posted statements wanting to do away with Affirmative Action. So having the first "Black President" somehow means that this country has overcome its racism. Why don't you report the number of death threats against Obama because of his skin color and the racist comments made by public officials. Quotas are illegal. Why doesn't CNN discuss legacies and the good-ole boy network, which is how some "whites" are getting into college and jobs.
    The trotting out of Clarence Thomas and Kenneth Blackbell was racist in itself. Why are those two always brought out?

    Why don't you discuss the number of EEO claims filed a year? Why don't you discuss the disparaties in K-12 education?

    July 17, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  10. Aviator

    As a professional aviator I can tell you first hand that affirmative action has damaged my career, and placed less than qualified pilots on the flight decks of the aircraft that the American public flies in. After nearly 15 years I am still fighting to land the job I set out for. Among my qualifications... A BS in aviation, nearly 8000 hours of flight time, 10 years at a major airline, 3 years as a Captain, impeccable training record, no record of violations...I could go on. I am not bragging. The point is that when the airlines were hiring just a couple of years ago I could NOT EVEN GET AN INTERVIEW with a choice company simply because I am a white male! If I were able to check the "minority" box on the application it would have been a sure thing. I know this because I have watched it unfold for the past decade. I have many friends and peers with half my experience that were called immediately simply because they could check that magic box. There have been many many pilots hired into the cockpits of US airliners over the past ten yeas or so with nowhere near my qualifications. Am I bitter? A little. Have I given up? Absolutely NOT! When I finally get that job I'll know it's because I earned it...not because I was able to exploit the system. Rember that there is no such thing as "reverse discriminination".

    So as someone literally putting your life in the hands of another you must ask yourself this question.

    What is more important to me? Meeting the AA quota or knowing that the most qualified PERSON is flying my aircraft???

    July 17, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  11. Rick & Gerry

    Both my wife and I are Civil Servants. Both of us have been passed over for promotions due to the Affirmative Action policy. Me more so than her. In 1973 I took a New York State Troopers exam and scored very high. I was notified that due to a recent law passed that I would not be selected as a trooper. That law was Affirmative Action. For the next 4+ years, local police departments were reluctant to hold entrance exams due to Af A. When the courts ruled in favor of the action, the flood gates opened and local, county and state police exams were held nearly every month to fill the void of attrition. I took as many exams as possible, over 20 in a 12 month period. Always scoring in the low to mid 90's. I had one call in notice for all of that effort. I never became an officer. Instead, I became a Federal worker and after many years of applying I finally became a manager. During that 20 year period I continually applied for higher level positions. I found that I averaged one interview for every 9 position's I applied for. Of those vacant positions, 8 were filled by minorities. I have applied for nearly 50 higher level positions during my career.
    Do I feel that Affirmative Action should be abolished?
    For my children's sake, YES . Let them and every other American advance their opportunities based on merit.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  12. Joshua Smith

    As a black man, I am embarassed by affirmative action. I feel that affirmative action was needed at one time so we could have a stepping stone to get ahead. I think opportunities are now available for black people if they try for them like anyone else. I do not want someting based on a quota anymore. This is an embarrasement. Also, it will lead to resentment from other races, if it is felt the black man was not qualified for the job. Get rid of affirmative action. Jobs should be based on merit.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  13. Don from Buckeye Country

    AA is definitely still needed, just check your unemployment rates, Black men vs white. If you really want a wake up call check unemployment rates among college degree black men vs white.

    We just witnessed this week the good old boy network up there in DC trying to keep that well qualified Hispanic woman from reaching the Supreme Court Office.

    When they Paraded in the New Haven Fire Fighters, all white men with one Hispanic conveniently placed up front. Helooo people we are not even close to not needing AA.

    Discrimination against all minorities especially Blacks is alive and well in the work place, and society.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  14. John Mackey

    When I went to college just a few years ago they had an affirmative action program for inner city kids. You needed to be African American to get into the program. The program forced teachers to raise grades to help these young adults out.. The program also allowed the grades to be adjusted again after with out a teacher's say.

    In a few years I'll be in a position to interview people for positions in the company I work for. How am I supposed to feel that some one applying might have a double bumped grades. Affirmative action seems to cause discrimination and and bring out racism.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  15. Paul

    Having read a lot of the comments, it seems that you people are accusing all caucasions of having the advantages of RICH caucasions. Here's a headline, great wealth well get you favored status no matter what your race is. Leave the white man alone.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  16. Aldo Moro

    We need affirmative action as long as we have people like, Mitch Working, who thinks that the only person who would qualify for any meaningful responsible position is Anglo Saxon, judo Christiana, red blooded American. Mitch Dworkin, and his likes want every one who want to be a president or a supreme court justice need to pass the blush test, slap on the face and if the check turn red, then he or she is a true American.
    It has been for far long that the other side had been cheating in any way possible to keep the minority in check, by any means necessary, now this so called affirmative action has been in place although it has been sabotaged by people like Clearance Thomas, while he was a commissioner of EEOC, it at least make an employer think twice before discriminating. It is a necessary evil it needs to stay in place.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  17. Daisy

    I feel that we should keep affirmative action. We can use it if we need to and if we don't need it fine don't use it. I think it would be bad to just do away with it then the problem would come back and it would be hard to pass it again. It would be great if we didn't have to use it but I believe we will have to use it for a long time. When I listen to what many people say about other races.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  18. Beyond The Political Spectrum

    I don't think things are as simple as just "getting rid of" affirmative action. Even if government entities are forced to abandon affirmative action policies, that still leaves (the) private sector employers and institutions open to it's use...in both a positive & negative way. However, I DO believe that some form of it is still needed, maybe a plan where socioeconomic background is given primary consideration, and then race & gender given secondary consideration.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  19. Willie

    I will also like to mention that yes minority are bigest group being affected in this times with unemployment. I also see in the comments that affermative action was in place only for blacks, but what we need to be educated is that affirmative aciton was put in place for minorities groups not just black.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  20. Bob Bearden

    There is no legitimate reason why an African-American student should be selected over a better performing white student (such as the case of the girl at Univ of MI a couple of years ago). If I am a white worker with better qualifications, I should be selected over less qualified Hispanics. Obviously vice versa pertains in both cases, as discrimination in ALL cases is wrong.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  21. Bernard

    Affirmative Action was placed into Federal Legislation based on stark statistics that indicted an un-level playing field in hiring and promotion opportunities for minorities and women. While the nation has moved forward from specific job groupings that indicated
    'zero' female or minority representation in those work groups, the nation is still not color blind nor gender neutral enough for the legislation to come off the Federal Registers.

    The words 'affirmative action' has become 'buzzwords' for "assisting Black Americans' quota programs. How about this statistic? A few years back the following data placed my thoughts on affirmative action into a place of stark reality. [3% of top executive jobs in Corporate America are women, yet 53% of the population are women and 52% of the workforce are women]. The figures may need adjusting a bit as time has passed. Those figures paint a dark picture of upward mobility in corporate America.

    I have sit with EEOC compliance programs auditors in review of Affirmative Action Plans. I can tell you without hesitation that the auditors first comment to me was, "I will look for quota programs or actions that appear to have been undertaken to satisfy a quota and I will strongly recommend (I SOFTENED THESE TWO WORDS) that all such actions are ceased."

    The programs should be amended for Circa 2000 workplace data. If the data shows a lesser need for the programs, amend the programs. Unfortunatekly, the data will probably not warrant a complete revamping of the laws.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  22. Sandi

    Affirmative action programs can be eliminated only when Americans can elect a President, who's mother is not white. Americans followed the old rule, if you have an ounce of black blood you are considered black.

    America is not "color blind – yet!"

    Reality check: Racism is a live and well, and in Florida alone there are over 25 hate groups. (see the Orlando Sentinel newspaper's archives).

    July 17, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  23. James Butler

    What kind of affirmative action are you talking about? There are several different kinds– running the spectrum from quotas on the strong side to targeting a demographic group in advertising a job on the weakest side. One could certainly be in favor of targeting black applicants without being in favor of quotas. Your framing of the question is ambiguous

    July 17, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  24. Gary Friedman

    Creating opportunity in a clearly defined prejudicial workplace was fine for that era. College educational admission and financial aid offices should be required to be much more transparent and OPEN their books to reveal the reverse discriminatory practices that have existed for quite awhile. Results/outcomes should have been and must be tracked immediately to demonstrate when, not if, affirmative action should be stopped.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  25. ED

    AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, IS NEEDED MORE THAN EVER. THERE IS A BACKLASH IN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES AND PROMOTIONS FOR MINORITIES FROM JUST THE FACT THAT WE HAVE A BLACK PRESIDENT. THOSE IN CHARGE ARE MORE ANGRY AND WITH THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION BEING SO TIGHT, THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE IN DISCRIMINATING AGAINST MINORITIES. I HAVE EXPERIENCED IT PERSONALLY. I WISH CNN WOULD DO A FOLLOW UP STORY ON THE BACKLASH.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  26. Jennifer H. Slusser

    As a high school teacher at an innercity magnet school, I see the difference between students who come from homes with resources like working computers and printers, newspapers, and (most importantly) with educated parents who have high academic expectations for their children and students who come from poor families, with single mothers working two jobs to make ends meet, whose phone lines are forever being cut off because of unpaid bills, and who still struggle to use a computer proficiently. The playing field is not simply tilted; it is deeply angled. There is a world of difference between these students' lives that is overwhelming. We need affirmative action and then some!

    I would like to hear to conversation about ending the privileges on college applications where potential students are asked whether they have family who have graduated from the university. If we are going to talk about ending affirmative action; please, let's include "privileged affirmative action" as well.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  27. Willie

    We have seen the difference in the political positions, but we have not seen the difference in the corporate business. In additon affirmative action was stablish because of white and black difference. As a latino I have seen and experience the descrimination. eg (In my privious job I was the only male latino out of 40 employees in that particular department. Yes they probably met the quotal on the hiring of minority, which includes afro american, and women, as per latinos we still need to affrimative action to protect us. If anything I will said that the affirmative action probably needs to be re-written.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  28. steve

    In 1980 my son was in the wrong hospital in Detroti at the wrong time being born. The hospital was being criticized for having too many minority babies dying. So, they decided to perform infantcide to try and even up the "affirmative action" numbers!!! Took us three long years to nail down the truth. We then became a handicapped family because my son became crippled because he survived the attempted killing. We lost employment jobs everywhere because we were a threat to their health plans. My son endured 14 surgeries, survived five distinct attempts at euthanasia and cost everyone lots of pain and money. In spite of all this my son has graduated from Michigan State University, is still alive, and we managed to stay off welfare, even though I had to take demotions to get a promotion in the federal government civil service because of all their affirmative action programs. NO JUSTICE: No law enforcement agency or law firm would help us.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  29. carryn

    Is affirmative action what we are using for legal descrimination? Get rid of affirmative action.

    I am very tired of the discrimination in this country. I think it is time to get to reality and get over the racism. It really does not matter what the color of your skin is or what your gender is, if you are capable then that is all that should matter. We do not need to give some one a crutch to lean on if they do not need it it will just cripple them instead of allowing them to reach their full potential. In addition, if you want to know what my national origin or my nationality is then give me a box that says AMERICAN on the application.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  30. Jenniffer

    Although AA will one day be completely unnnessesary, Today is not that day. We are only begining to arrive at a time when minorities aren't completely alienated and singled out as different and desserving of seperate standards.
    Untill we stop the seperation we cannot stop to strive for equality.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  31. BJ

    As long as racism remains a problem in the United States, there will continue to be a need for affirmative action. People do not want to talk about issues such as race, prejudices, generalizations, and stereotypes but it all still looms large! You may not have a problem with race, but for everyone of you who claims not to have an issue with race there are many others in this country who do. Some of these people with this warped thinking are hiring managers, College presidents, Deans of schools, etc. These are the same people that you all are expecting to "be fair" and these are the same people that you are saying will hire "the best qualified person". THEY WILL NOT! Affirmative Action still has a place in today's society. Society still has a long way to go!

    July 17, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  32. Ruth

    I have lived in the deep south my entire life and in certain areas we are still years behind the rest of the country when it comes to race relations. As an educator I see discrimination all the time. In many cases it is very blatant. For example, getting promotions with little or no higher education. On the other hand, minorities have to get much higher education or additional training just to keep their jobs. I think that affirmative action may be eliminated in parts of the country but not in all areas. In other words it should be a gradual process

    July 17, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  33. Joseph Green

    Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor are anomolies of success, not the rule. The playing field is still not even in job opportunities, promotions, housing and access to financial resources. African-Americans and women are impacted harder by economic downturns like the current recession and are the last to benefit when the recovery occurs. Therefore, affirmative action is necessary to make certain that access to opportunity is fair. After that it's up to the individual to succeed. Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas acknowledge that they benefitted from affirmative action. I imagine that even Barack and Micelle Obama also benefitted from affirmative action programs. They made the most of an opportunity made available to them. It is still necessary to make certain that the door of opportunity remains open to under-represented groups. You can't depend upon the fox to watch the henhouse. Corporate America at the policy and leadership level, many educational institutions and even cultural/social institutions which provide business linkages are still closed to many. No we must be ever watchful that bias held by many don't close doors of opportunity that can make success stories like Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas possible.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  34. Deborah

    I think Affirmative Action has done wonders to wind minority groups into the mainstream. But I feel its' time has past. What I think is needed now is some way to address Age Discrimination. It seems the club of us "over-50, over qualified, out of work" types is growing every day. This recent recession has certainly allowed employers to shed many in the over 50 ranks. And, we cannot afford to retire! We need some action to protect us!!

    July 17, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  35. Jessie

    Affirmitive action is still needed, as long as we still have prejudice in this country and we still do. Just because we have a black president and a woman possible on the supreme court dosn't change anything.
    I can't believe people think if we did not have affirmitive action in place that things would be equal. For those that think affirmitive is not needed, let them be discrimanated against and they would have a different take on this subject.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  36. anthony mccants

    cnn sometime your outlook is right...but when people that report
    the news for you start talking about a race of people that's not their
    race but should be educated enough about that race steps out
    of bound .....how dare mrs costello try to get people to disgust whether
    or not to get rid of affirmitive action...especially when yesteday she treated the ex black mayor of d.c like a you know what ...but did a 360
    with the youngboy siddique seriously do she think any blackman or woman didn't see how she really feels about black people..i'm sorry she needs to stop talking about us ....because all she do is stick her feet in her mouth just like alex castenlano with his bias towards black people..has never said a decent word about obama..never

    July 17, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  37. Brisco Odom

    Affirmative action is still needed. Until we have reach the point where a person's race is not seen, we will continue to live in an unjust America. When we have people who thinks and talk like Pat Bucannon and Rush Limbaugh, who pretend that only White men are qualified to serve on the supreme court, Affrimative action is needed.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  38. Aziza Zaire

    Affirmative Action ABSOLUTELY is still necessary... just look at the faces on the Judiciary Committee: ALL white and all but 2 are men! Why do people feel that systemic racism that permeates EVERY facet of American life–from where one can live to where he/she can go to school–has been eradicated? Is it realistic to believe that 400+ years of hatred and mistreatment of African-Americans is just "fixed" in 45 years? Come on America, I know we're a newer nation than many, but let's grow up. In fact, just asking this question shows how uninformed we are as a nation.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:01 am |
  39. Tina

    Affirmative action is absolutely necessary. I am a double minority; I still experience racial discrimination on jobs, and when I apply for a loan, or credit. Affirmative action should not go away, it should be strengthened.

    My academic and professional accomplishments are as a result of my very very hard work, determination, and perseverance. However, if affirmative action had not been in place, my foot would have never gotten in the door.

    Tina
    Baltimore

    July 17, 2009 at 9:01 am |
  40. Ari

    I recently just graduated from High School, moving onto College. I cant completely say that I got into my college thanks to Afirmative Action, but I am looking forward for that helping me out when I apply for Law School being a Hispanic woman. Afirmative Action, since it is intended to help out the minorities tends to have a negative connotation but its not negative. A program that is intented to help the minorities does not necessary mean that it will only facilitate the entrance of students into elite Universities but it will also help them financially. In our society yes minorities are growing, but discrimination and racism are far away from being gone. Our President is black and we are going to have a woman/hispanic Supreme court judge, when we don't have to use their race or make a big deal about their sex it will be the day when we don't need Afirmative Action.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  41. maryhh

    I am a 65 year old WASP and always believed that you hire the person MOST qualified for the position even if they are pink with yellow polka dots. The media are a big part of the problem – Obama the first "African American" President – why is he not just Obama, President? Get my drift? m1h2

    July 17, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  42. Quinn

    Sadly AA may be necessary until such a time as when a job application form no longer has the check boxes next to White, Hispanic, African American.... etc. As a nation that supposedly values privacy, race is one issue that tends to be overlooked.

    As a leading nation, it is way past the time when America should have graduated to the state of being "colorless" with regards to its people. Luckily most of the youth of today have the right idea... everyone is considered simply a friend, as opposed to a white/black/chinese/hispanic friend. It is my hope that within the next decade, race will be a secondary issue. Hopefully races would have blended enough at that point that it wouldn't matter- consider Canada where inter-racial families are quite the norm, while almost frowned upon in the USA.

    So in closing, till there is such a time when there is blindness to skin color, AA should remain in place, as it is the tradition that the predominant color usually gets the better slice of the pie.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  43. David

    As an African American professional with a BSME and MBA that has been downsized during this recession, I can say without hesitation that Affirmative Action needs to be abolished in its current form. What I have found that corporate Amerrica is doing to comply with Affirmative Action is hire white women that are married to white men. Therefore, the bottom line is that Affirmative Action has helped more white families than people of color. What we need is a program to help people of color. I have applied to over 600 jobs and I can tell you that 75% of them were not comfortable with the fact that I was not white. The reason they give you today is “you are not a cultural fit". What does that mean? When I was working, I typically was the only black person at the senior level of authority within the company. Until the people in power (whites) become more comfortable with non-whites, we will always need some type of government program to keep white America somewhat honest and fair.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  44. CJ

    Yes it needed, the reality is that white americans have had affirmative action on thier side for 200 years, what do you thinks happens when a people are oppressed for a long period of time, while others that have not been qualified have been pushed along & given positions because they look like them. The fact that we have a black president just speaks to the fact that he was two times better than John Mccain, which is usually the case, when african-americans achieve these positions. It is nieve to think, that when 90% of CEO & Sentors, Executives are white & male that it is an equal playing field for woman & minorities. This didn't happen because they were always the most qualified it happen because they have been recieving a form of affirmative action for a long time. We as people natrually like to do business with & promote people that look like us, it is more comfortable & thats is why people biases will always play a role in the hiring process & natrual selection.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  45. Rusty

    For affirmative action to be successful, someone or some other group is going to be put at a disadvatage. You're penalizing those that have worked hard to get to a point they can make application to the top schools or a career choice and are unable to qualify because someone who is "considered" a minority is given the advantage whether qualified or not. It's gone way to far and has created another form of discrimination. It needs to be removed.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  46. Jamie Triplin-Hines

    On the news segment this morning, there was a spin on the "diversity" in workplaces, schools, government, etc. However, most of these places feel that it will look good for them, will receive more money in grants/loans, and/or be fearful of how the public will perceive them. You take away affirmative action now, you give these entities freedom to hire whatever way they want to hire with discrimination. Affirmative action serves as, at best, a guideline against those who may have discriminatory feelings toward others.

    When people think affirmative action, they automatically think the old school quota system–just as it was reported this morning. People do not realize that there are affirmative action policies that take EVERYONE into consideration. Such as low-economic people, homosexuals, etc. How is this any different when universities and workplaces give out scholarships/internships based on these identifiers? I guess it just sounds better.

    Point blank, America is not over race–not even with President Obama in office.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  47. Placo

    Most deffinatly If I am a black, hatian, or latin female I am twice as likely to get a job as apposed to my caucasion counter part same thing if your a male. look at the fireman what they had to go through.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  48. Greg

    We still need affirmative action, trust me!! I'm a Corporate Recruiter (15 years) and I witness discriminatory hiring practices regularly. As a Human Resources Representative, I'm often asked to recruit a "specific" race for particular jobs. These request come from Hiring Managers of well known "large fortune" companies.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  49. Shelly P.

    Ideally there would be no need for affirmative action, however, America is not there just yet. Yes, we have have a black president, but not without MUCH discusion about race and fear of the "Bradley Effect". Yes, enrollment is up in colleges and universities for minorities over the past 30 years, but that is largely BECAUSE of affirmative action. One only need to look at minority % in our own US Senate, Corporate America, Law Firm partners or high ranking officials in almost EVERY profession to realize that racism is not dead. Although I think opponents will successfully eradicate it within the next decade, the sad truth is,that we do still need affirmative action. What will be interesting to observe is 100 years from now, long after afirmative action has been abolished, what white america will say once they are the minority in need of affirmative action.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  50. Adam

    Affirmative action may be beneficial at the college admissions level, but nothing more. Once a minority's educational status is leveled with the rest of the field, it should be up to themselves to perform without government assistance or advantages over non-minorities. For example, many minorities graduating from Harvard University had lower initial scores than non-minorities in public colleges. I can accept this, but don't you think it should end here? At what point do we say that enough is enough?

    July 17, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  51. TJ Smith

    Many non-minorities would think AA should be eliminated. As an African-American male, I think we are still struggling with race and issues of race. I think people should be real when talking about race. Minorities are still not offered equal rights. It is time out for race. We are still not getting jobs, equal interest rates, and home loans. Well, people say President Obama is black and that should be a sign that we are making progress. That is one instance. What about people who are not getting jobs in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee because of the color of their skin. The nation voted for the President. If you take a poll of white America, it will show that some people did not vote for Obama because of his skin color and not view. I did not agree with all of his policies, but it was policies vs race. I would have voted for Hillary because of policies and not race vs Mccain.

    It is just sad that we are still talking about race. The comment Chief Justice Roberts made about discrimination shows he is out of touch with what really goes on. "Just don't do it." Is he serious? Is he living in today's world? This stuff happens daily.

    I think once a certain age group dies out, the country will begin to move forward. The group that says our country is a "White Country." The group that says "We are superior." The group that owned slaves. The group whose parents have taught to look at race.

    The children of today rarely look at skin tone. It is a taugh behavior.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  52. Trista Jones Manigault

    Affirmative Action needs to be retitled.....Equal Education & Exposure. Affirmative Action needs to be CORRECTLY done...that's the real issue. All children in ALL schools in the US (private and public) should be given the same EQUAL education. In the summer, they should all have the opportunities to go to enrichment camps, education reinforment programs, to be able to go to the arts, to travel, learn proper networking skills, be exposed to things that are outside of their neighborhood.....that is affirmative action done the correct way....Otherwise you have a society in which if your family heritage was one that was stripped of education and it has retained a vicious cycle of poor education and poverty you never really get a fair chance to have the American dream. This is a proactive issue and not reactive. If everyone's foundation was correct then we would not need affirmative action...people could be judged on their scores and merits...but we do not live in that society.

    Please remember that Obama is probably one of the most qualified Presidents ever as far as a personal resume...he was President of the Harvard Law Review, he graduated the top of his class, he is not an adulterer...only has one marriage...shows to be very in love and loyal to his wife...is half black and white ....so it's not as threatening to some....had to raise the most money ever in history of a Presidential race....and that's how he became President...if Obama had Bush's or MCain's resume of being a poor and average student, divorced, alcoholic...would Obama still have been in office? Just a question...our Black president had to be pretty close to perfect...that's why he is the first one...

    One could argue that when the majority privileged use their contacts and networks to get their foot in the door at a young age...so they can eventually hold the majority of the prominent job positions of power and not be judged FULLY on their merit and resume success...that is a form of discrimination. A person born in Appalachia or in some of our rural cities never gets the opportunity to meet and greet. Just a thought when we are so quick to judge.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  53. Cary

    AA is nothing more than a reward for substandard performance. exhibit One our current Supreme Court Nominee. She even states in her words she is a product of the system, she states her grades were not good enough to get into princeton. The AA is nothing more that Category 3 Soldiers being inducted to fight a war just so we have a high enough number of bodies of all races to fill the ranks. The Military long ago stopped inducting Category 3 Soldiers. There is still AA in the promotion process. Look at the facts of who does get the promotions. check out the mix. You might just be supprised. The take a closer look at who got passed over. The proof is in the records. That is if they will let you take a look.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  54. Janice

    Yes, affirmative action is still necessary. Usually when people refer to affirmative action they are referring to minorities, but white women have been the number one group to benefit from affirmative action. Is the glass ceiling truly broken for everyone or is it okay that a few have made it through and that's enough. Ask Hiliary Clinton supporters how they feel about it. Ask Sonia Sotomayor how she felt about the racial and gender remarks to her that would have never been made to a white male. We all should want a society where everyone can participate without these impossible barriers.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  55. Ms. Jones

    YES! KEEP AFFIRMATIVE ACTION! Corporate CEO's and upper management and many corporations still have a glass ceiling which has not been broken. The large company I work for is historically prejudice against women and minorities and has been sued multiple times, last settlement was $60 Million. I am only one of 4 women in a department of 50 men. I've seen white men brag about how they have the answers to standardized EEI employment tests, which gives them an unfair advantage. I've seen the company purposely post a job which a location as deep in the suburbs but that's actually located at headquarters in the inner city. I've seen them require engineering degrees for positions that have nothing to do with engineering, because they know statistically 80-90% of engineering degree holders are white men. Racism is still here, but many companies have found ways to keep up the same practices as the 50s, just in a more clever way! So yes, keep affirmative action. As a black woman, although I am a college graduate, and I've always passed my employment tests for positions, I wouldn've have a job at this company if it wasn't for AA.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  56. Pat

    I am not highly educated, barely made it thru High School, but I know that DISCRIMINATION IS WRONG, AND IF IT'S WRONG TOWARDS ONE GROUP, THEN IT SHOULD BE WRONG FOR ALL GROUPS.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  57. Trish

    I believe AA is actually holding on to discrimination. It is causing some "white Americans" to hold grudges against "minorities" because they get special favors simply because of the color of their skin. Isn't that exactly the kind of thing we were trying to stop to begin with? And isn't it sad that I really have to use the terms "white American" and "minority". Why can't we all just be people? Proud people? The way it is now, there are too many special colleges and groups and "clubs", if you will, that are for blacks only. That doesn't celebrate the black person and black history. That continues to draw attention to the differences between people. People who should all be the same. Get rid of AA and start treating everyone fairly. EVERYONE!

    July 17, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  58. Paul stevens

    Any comment coming from a white man in this country will be seen as racist.........Hard work, integrity, and merit will never be replaced. So you can get any job thru a quota but will you be able to keep your job? And better yet will you be seen as an equal on the job. Sorry I will never look at you as being equal fore you did not get your job on merit.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  59. fbailey

    are you guys serious? affirmative action has nothing to do with "reverse racism," "slacking off" or minorities "cheating the system." to suggest such is simply ignorant.

    white people need to recognize the fact that they already have a form of affirmative action. a prime example of that is george w. bush going to yale university. now, you can't seriously suggest that he was admitted to that university for any reason other than his father is a prominent figure.

    what we need to get away from is this notion that we live in a meritocracy in this country. i am a black man and i have had a couple of breaks in my life. however, i still had to work hard. affirmative action gives one a foot in the door, it does not guarantee outcomes. if you don't perform, you're out. my god, i am so disappointed and angry at some of these comments. why can't white people see the extent of their privilege?

    July 17, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  60. Dev Edd

    This has got to be a joke! For one thing affirmative action is NOT synonymous with quotas. I suggest you read the "real" papers regarding affirmative action. When was the last time someone pointed out Bill Gates, The Bush family, T. Boone Pickens, Donald Trump and say that there are plenty of people who have money so we no longer NEED any programs to help those who are poor? We don't because it doesn't make any sense. Whether or not minorities are being fairly represented does not depend on one or two minorities in high places. Because if we truly want to look at affirmative action we have no further to look then white women who benefit far more than anyone else. No one said that since Ginsburg made it to the supreme court all of a sudden white women have made it and need no more help. This question just shows the insane stupidity that exists on CNN.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  61. Paul

    On a side note, the first person I heard refering to Sotomayor as a Latina was Sotomayor, so to say that we shouldn't indentify her with her ethnicity may be insulting to someone like her who obviously is proud of her cultural heritage and makes it a major part of her identity.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  62. DJ

    Unfortunately as a black man, I do understand the argument that AA is reverse discrimination, but is necessary. Minorities in the past and present have experienced higher job losses, less wages, poorer education, higher sub-prime lending, and longer unemployment. This, in my mind implies that either the majority is far superior than other races or minorities are inferior. People should keep in mind that blacks were freed, but also subjected to lifestyles that made the road a lot harder for other races. A Jewish man told me one day that I racist whites would discriminate a lot faster with me than him... Because they have to hear his name first.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  63. Dan Leahy

    The biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action have been women. Chances are very good that Carol would not be where she is if the policies had never been implemented. With the percentages of women and minorities in political leadership and business management still way below the percentages in the general population, we're a long way from being able to do away with affirmative action. What is more pathetic than the whining of white American "victims"?

    July 17, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  64. John

    Affirmative action was a good concept but poorly implemented. It's time for it to go away. There reamin issues that still need to be addressed which affirmative action was unable to resolve. In it's place, we should criminalize the actions of persons that discriminate against race, religion, etc. But the criminalization must be applied rationally. For example, it is reasonably rational to allow the Boy Scouts of America to discriminate on gender as it is rationale to allow the Girl Scouts to discriminate on gender (Boys means males; girls mean females). As well, it is reasonable for an all boys high school to discriminate on gender as it is for an all girls high school to discriminate on gender. Regarding discrimination based on religion it is altogether fitting that religion be considered when considering admission to a private, religious college or seminary. Hope this helps.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  65. S. Renee

    Until the status quo, white men (and yes white women) can acknowledge that racism exists, that they probably hold some racist beliefs, probably make racist comments, and have benefited from white privilege, there is a need for affirmative action. It is like an alcoholic cannot be recovering until they admit they are an alcoholic. America cannot recover from the historical legacy of racism so intricately woven into our society, until it admits it is indeed a racist!

    July 17, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  66. Dalya Lateef

    Affirmative Action will always be necessary as long as minorities and women are denied equal treatment based solely on their race or sex. This Executive Order was never intended to just "give" minorities and women benefits despite their qualifications; it was meant to force racists to hire qualified persons, regardless of race or sex. So until there are no more racists inhibiting the hiring or advancement of people based on race, creed, color, or nationality, we will always need Affirmative Action. We should learn from history, not ignore it.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  67. Jim

    If you do away with Affirmation Action then reperations for slavery would be in order. Take the case of Garrett Morgan (Inventor of the traffic light). He could not get a patent on his invention because of his race. He is credited for the invention but his family has not recieved royalties for it. Instead the white person who was able to get the patent due to his race, his family has been recieving royalties. A lot of slaves could not recieve payment for there inventions thus robbing generations of prosperity. While whites have benefited economically from these inventions and did not invent them. Slavery and Jim Crow has robbed blacks of generational wealth
    Jim

    July 17, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  68. ScottinNH

    I think supporters of AA should take a step back, see that the public's mood is changing, and change strategy.

    What should that strategy be? Class and income and how that relates to access to education. All of the growing economies make college universal to those who qualify, while the US more and more makes college less accessible.

    We can't fix slavery. We can not fix the genocide of Native Americans for that matter (a topic the media ignores). . But I think we can ALL agree that we are capable of funding national education for our children, and that will not only lift them up, but our United States as well.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  69. Erica

    I'd love the public to consider that affirmative action programs mirror alumni priviledges and family legacy preferences at universities and in workplaces. What affirmative action establishes is a transparent pipeline very similar to recruitment practices that target key populations. America has made social progress that establishes a bar of performance that supercedes race. Pipelines - affirmative action, alumni privedge, legacy - are crucial to perpetuate the diversity of perspective and harmony that is America. Candidates that merit their positions will prove themselves by their performance. May the best person win, but may we all have the opportunity to win.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  70. Kerrance

    "Affirmative Action" is a misnomer. Instead of being used as a tool to prevent discrimination, it is instead used as government mandated justification for giving preferential treatment based on skin color.
    Wake up people, this is called "Racism".
    The only way to abolish racism, is to make all rules apply to all humans equally. Without special rules based on skin color, for anyone.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  71. JR

    Affirmative Action should only be eliminated when white privilege and, as President Obama talked about in his speech to the NAACP, the legacy of structural inequities is eliminated. You didn't talk about white privilege and the legacy of structural inequities at all during this piece. The attainment of the American dream for many minorities is still very much out of reach. Discrimination and racism are still alive in this country.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  72. Rod Davis

    The last time I checked, White America is still showing its prejudice in the form of denying a group of Black children from swimming in a pool control by Whites.

    Just because we have a Black president, more to the point, in spite of our having a Black president, we are still seeing racial prejudice in America.

    Blacks suffer the most in a lack of jobs, education, health care, and racial attacks. When White America finds no fault in those condemning the likes of Sotomayor, a judge with more on-the-job than any other nominee to the Supreme Court, simply because she is Hispanic; when they want to take a snippet out of a speech that she made years ago and characterize her entire career based upon that snippet – yes, we still need affirmative action against those who would practice discrimination and perform prejudice acts against minorities.

    I am a retired veteran of the Viet Nam era. I no longer live in the United States because I am tired of living as a second class citizen within a country that I am still committed to dying for should the time ever arise.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  73. Terry Peoples, El Paso, TX

    We need affirmative action until the unemployment rates for Blacks are equal to Whites. I am sorry some Blacks feel cheapen by it but others worked hard to get their position and even harder to maintain that position just because their skin color is not white. I am a Black, Christian woman.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  74. FRIEND

    This story always seems to be one sided! I am a 46 year old white male that works in state government. In the past 11 years I have been discriminated many times. Originally when I was trying to get on with the state. I sent out hundreds of applications, but could not get an interview. Finally I got someone on the phone (a black male as I recall) and I finally said look I don't understand what's going on I have several degrees (engineering, computer science, etc) I don't understand why I am not even getting an interview. And the guy said I'll be frank you are a white male. Fianlly I took a lower class job Ops (no benefits) worked for 6 months and got my foot in the door then people knew me. Since then I have been discriminated against many many times mostly women. I applied for a job once didn't even get an interview and my sister worked at that agency and was having trouble with her computer locking up and the woman they hired told her she needed to clean her mouse! Frankly it has become a sore spot with me!!! They hire people (usually women) to be computer people ....but they don't know anything about computers!!! and I do mean NOTHING! I would give anything to have a supervisor that knows more than I do! or at least the basics! thanks for letting me vent.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  75. C.L. Benson

    Trying to get MOST White employers to hire ANY African American is more difficult than pulling teeth. We are always the last hired and first fired.If American action is removed, andno pressure is kept on employers, Whites will immediately start reverting back to an White workplace.

    Besides affirmative action benefitted White women more than anyone else. As soon as it was passed, White men got together to figure out a way to get around it, So they passed a national law claiming that women were minorities in the workplace even though they were 51% of the total population. So when a Black man, or Black woman applied for a job against a White female, the White female generally got hired for the upper level management, or supervisory positions.
    She then took that extra 20 or 30 thousand dollars a year home to her White husband and children improving their already good living conditions while the Black man, or Woman remained outside the door wondering when, or if their turn would ever come. So far it really hasn't. Workplace terrorism is also scaring many African Americans away from their jobs.

    So AA just needs to me modified so that it benefits Whites less and nonwhites more.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  76. Lonnie Evans - Chicago

    I can't believe people are so eager to stop something that really hasn't fixed the problems of this STILL racially divided country. Of course we have people of minority in great positions, but that doesn't mean that all is fair. Actually, I can believe it. The "haves" are always concerned about keeping what they have to themselves. This is the ugly thread this country will NEVER shake and those that don't understand the importance of affimative action don't realize they support that old confederate-like mentally, even if it's subconsciously.

    Unforutantely, you have to force people to consider people unike themselves otherwise they wouldn't. They will keep the "all in the family" mentally and we wouldn't have the few that have risen to prominent positions that we do.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  77. Placo

    Most deffinatly If I am a black hatian or latin female I am twice as likely to get a job as apposed to my caucasion counter part same thing if your a male. look at the fireman what they had to go through

    July 17, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  78. teddy r

    Great topic, i am a AA and i've always felt that this discredets those of us who put in the work to grow and strive in life here in America. Let my efforts speak for me. My gains or failure are of my doings.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  79. Joseph

    Some progress has been made as a result of affirmative action, however more progress is necessary to correct the centuries of racial discrimation's effect. Maybe offering reparations as a bargaining chip can end affirmative action sooner – if those that oppose it are serious!!!

    PS. Clarence Thomas needs to retire!!!

    July 17, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  80. JJ

    When affirmative action for white males from privileged families ends, then fine, end it for everyone. For 200 plus year every advantage was given to white males (mostly rich but even poor white males had more power than women or minorities). I am a 63 year old women. The top three academic achievers in my high school class were girls. I was #3. Yet the only one of us that got a scholarship was #1 and her father had been killed in WWII. I believe that had something to do with her getting a scholarship. #2 and I got nothing. Yet boys who graduated 10th and even as far back as 20th got scholarships. Many got full rides to prestigious schools like Notre Dame.

    For over 200 years all presidents have been white males. All but three members of SCOTUS......male, mostly white. But suddenly "white men" are discriminated against? Are you kidding me? Look at your shows...dominant "main hosting"....white males. Same on the other cable shows.

    White men are getting hysterical when they still dominate the senate, the house, the financial power?

    Affirmative action for white males has existed for all of history. For the last two decades women and minorities are making a small dent and now everyone is worried about fairness???? Give me a break.

    JJ

    July 17, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  81. Lois Addison

    I find it very curious that those groups that benefited from their status – rich, white, usually male never seem to talk about the advantages that race barriers, glass ceilings, the limitations imposed by poverty gave them. I mean in a level playing field can you even imagine George W. Bush getting into Yale?
    So much doesn't get asked of the advantaged groups. One wonder what the dialogues would have been like in the Judiciary Committee hearings had all those white male been made to answer questions about how their biases and prejudices impact their decisions.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  82. Brenda Smith

    No doubt in my mind Affirmative Action is still needed. Just look around our mosaic society is still not represented in many aspects. I happen to be a woman who would have not been hired in a factory if not for affirminative action, many years ago. I had to prove myself and became the first woman on our Executive Board of our union.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  83. Nancy

    Affirmative action has worked for blacks, female black and hispanics, and black men, and hispanics. It has NOT worked for white women in the work place or middle aged people who are NOT black or hispanic in the workplace. That's why we still need affirmative action.

    There is a NEW type of minority emerging in this country. White females particularly middle aged white women who work along side young generally white supervisors male or female who have never been exposed to the general guidelines of respect.

    It is amazing to watch that the vast % of young people today were never raised with even the slightest exposure to manners. Yet in the work environment ALL the preach is teamwork. Teamwork , when you ONLY choose the team because they are in your age group or because they have the same interests in life that you do IS NOT teamwork. Its a process of SELECTION that is DISCRIMINATION and is very covert.

    I have 2 children, both with excellent manners and true respect for people of all ages, colors, sizes, etc, etc,etc. I'm very proud that I raised my children to be TRUE AMERICANS. I have worked with some of these NEWBIES who were dragged -up instead of brought up. Believe me this is not over all a generation we should be proud of.

    The recent Dear Abby column , that told of a middle aged woman who was dying of cancer and her younger coworkers were making fun of her hair loss at work tells the whole story. Incidents like this unfortunately are NOT isolated.

    Affirmative action is VERY NECESSARY , even if all it maintains is the average citizens right to be treated with some form of dignity.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  84. Lou DeCaro Jr.

    Quota systems that simply promote people on the basis of their minority identification are probably a bad idea in any world. But the idea of affirmative action at its best is that the best and brightest minority people have a chance alongside the majority population's best and brightest. The real issue behind affirmative action's viability is not the accomplishments of minority people but rather the degree of progress that the majority population has shown in reducing its prejudice. Is white society in the USA really progressive enough at this point? Voting for a black man to sit in the White House may suggest a big step forward, but the majority population was divided on that issue. In daily hiring and preference, I'm afraid white people tend to see themselves as normative and favor each other. No, we need affirmative action to protect minority people from this deeply embedded cultural problem.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  85. James

    I certainly don’t think that affirmative action should go away. Many of the individuals who are advocating for the elimination of such action are beneficiaries of affirmative action themselves. Yes we have an African American President, yes we have judges, lawyers, senators yet most of these people are all beneficiaries of this action. Let others benefit from affirmative action too. Let it stay in place. I however, do not believe that it should be abused.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  86. Angelaq

    It is still necessary until we can make the achievement gap disappear. Standardized tests have been proven to be biased but are still in use, urban school districts are underfunded, and first generation students' barriers are enormous. Where is the harm in adjusting requirements to allow for life experiences. Once admitted to school these students are able to do the work, it's not a free pass, it's an adjustment meant to lower a playing field that is uneven. If you don't have boots you can't pull yourself up by the straps. No one wants to admit it but racism does exist and there needs to be institutional corrections to address it.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  87. Rick

    Affirmative action programs were put into place to ensure the representation of the underrepresented. While the target has shifted around during its existence, it has resulted in more representation of blacks, latinos and females in higher education, corporate America and the political landscape. What is the number of black, latin or female CEO's today vs 20 years ago? What is the number/percentage of females in the news media today vs 15 years ago?

    Just sayin', are these changes the result of a natural societal progression or the spectre of affirmative action policies. Until we are truly a color/gender-blind society there will be a role for affirmative action to guarantee the inclusion of non-mainstream Americans.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  88. John

    Affirmative Action is still necessary! As long as there is a Ku Klux Klan, as long as there is a city like New Orleans which has still not been restored, and as long as we have racist rants being made that incite people in this country to make alarming death threats against any minority who eclipses a milestone established by a non-minority (Tiger Woods, Barack Obama), there will be a need for Affirmative Action.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  89. Harry43us

    We are not out of the woods yet regarding racial discrimination. Especially when you still have some Senators still hyping on the "Latina Comments" because we have a black president today ,does not mean that Affirmative Action should not continue for the black and minority groups here in America. All those who think Affirmative Action should stop are hiding the issue still under the carpet. That is where it has been for all these years, under the carpet.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  90. james

    AA had its place in our history but based on this story and personal experiences, its time has passed. When educational institutions are forced to admit lesser qualified students (no matter what "race" they are) aren't we all suffering? I agree that there are still places that are not color blind, but the sooner the government stops requiring use to list our ethic background, the sooner people will stop thinking there is a difference.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  91. lizabethian79

    The "No Child Left Behind" Act is my problem. Minority students that are 17, still in the 9th grade, and that can't read are being "programmed" graduated from high school.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  92. Don from Buckeye Country

    If you just look at unemployment rates white men vs, black, even college grads. Black, and Hispanic unemployment rates are much higher than whites. Why is that?
    When the New Haven Fire Fighters filed into the Senate Hearing Chambers for confirmation, Hellooo people they were all white with one Hispanic they conveniently stuck out front.

    Let us not be deceived the playing field is not level, and we still need Affirmitive Action.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  93. Greg

    I dont believe we should remove Affirmative Action.. Yes many Minorities have excelled in life but that does not remove our horrific past. Especifically for African Americans we were Africans first. We did not choose to come here. We should not have any barriers against us. Unless The US can uncover our history before slavery properly and effectively and teach us that in our schools. The governmernt will have to compensate us forever, because they robbed us of our history and cultural identity. The worse thing you can do to a group of people.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  94. Sean

    Affirmative Action has never been truly fair. It places preferences on minority races often at the expense of the majority race. In other words, one person benefits thanks entirely to pigmentation in their skin while another person suffers for the same reason. Nothing shows this more than the recent Supreme Court Ruling on the Firefighters where the more qualified people were denied promotion due to their race. Affirmative Action is wrong and Affirmative Action is racist. Race should not be a determining factor in any part of American society. We must take race out of the equation.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  95. Ron Walters

    The polls cited on affirmative action, like the major opinon leaders do not represent those who suffer disproportionately from discrimination - the reason why affirmative action is still needed. But they get to shape the debate, similar to your set-up piece that weighted the issue toward those who would eliminate Affirmative Action. The underlying premise is that this was a method to bring about equality between the races and other who suffer from social disadvantages. So, since gross inequality still exist in many sectors of society, if Affirmative Action were eliminated what mechanism would be used to affect the goals of the 1964 Civil Rights act and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution?

    July 17, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  96. Renee

    Affirmative Action began in the days of slavery. It was Not born during the Civil Rights Movement. It was a program that allowed the slave master to pay slaves to train Irish Americans to perform such skills as blacksmithing. Those slave (teachers) had to wear a badge. That badge was purchased by the master. Without the badge overseers would be fined if caught training. In the 1960's this same law was reversed to assist African-Americans because they were being kept out of the workforce as a racists action by those who wielded the power to do so.

    I feel even the words "affirmative action" are positive. Without this force in place we would see a reversal of fortune.

    KEEP IT!

    It is a necessary action for minorities. If we are to get rid of labels, I think "minorities" should be eliminated from our speech, especially in a country that has no supposed class system. If we say minority then someone is either superior or major and I thought we were all equal.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  97. J Simmons

    No it is not required. As a white male in the federal civil service system I was discriminated against and saw poorly qualified people promoted. The recent supreme court ruling illustrates the deep problems it generates – it's a game changer.
    I find it offensive to see recent immigrants granted "minority status" with regards to hiring & promotion – they move to the top of the list.
    It is very difficult to remain neutral on this issue.
    I would like to see CNN cover this issue openly & honestly.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  98. John

    The unfortunate side of affirmative action is the more qualified people that are turned away because they don't fill a certain quota. Yes, there are success stories, but who's to say that the people who turned away couldn't have suceeded as well.

    July 17, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  99. Paul Swanson

    Is affirmative action necessary? Absolutely not! Its alway been my belief that if that 'minority group' (that term means less and less everyday) wants that job they need to go out an earn it it the way everyone else does. Racial preference is _NOT_ fair and needs to disappear.

    It is in fact a quota and I've been a victim of it many times. Plus arn't we all created equal? I believe it was a certain member of one of those minority groups that said that! Therefore one might conclude that Affirmative action is not even wanted. Shocking, ain't it!

    July 17, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  100. Adam

    Affirmative action in schools is where the injustice begins. Instead of giving racial minorities preference in top colleges, what about basing an affirmative action plan on economic disadvantage? Isn't that what this is supposed to be about, to give a boost to those whose resources are stunted without their control? Who is in need of more help from the government, a white male from a lower class home or a minority female from an upper class home?

    July 17, 2009 at 8:51 am |
1 2 3