When I researched Affirmative Action, Executive Order 11375, it says, “The order, as amended, aims to correct the effects of past and present discrimination.”
It prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, skin color, religion, gender or national origin.
The order requires that contractors take affirmative action to ensure that “protected class, underutilized applicants’’ are employed when available, and that employees are treated without negative discriminatory regard to their protected-class status.
In the case of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Republican super conservative Pat Buchanan argues that affirmative action discriminates against white males because Sotomayor is not qualified for the position. Although this is a ludicrous argument, there is some truth to it. Affirmative action does discriminate, but it discriminates against minorities, not white males.
Every day, black, Hispanic, Asian and white women go to work and look up the corporate ladder. There, they see grossly unqualified white males in leadership positions.
Minorities know that it is the white male who is the protected class. White males have benefited from quotas, and the quota is for the white male to always be on top, regardless of his qualifications.
Republicans spent much of the nomination hearings focusing on a comment that Sotomayor made several years ago when she spoke to Hispanic law students.
She said that, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.’’
The statement could be perceived as reverse racism. But this, of course, is not Buchanan’s argument. He is a pure racist. According to his way of thinking, the Puerto Rican judge could not possibly come to a better conclusion than a white male because she is not a white male.
Only white males come up with the best conclusions, Buchanan’s thinking goes. Never mind that she has more judging experience than any nominee in decades, or that she graduated with the highest honors from Princeton University, or that she received her law degree from Yale.
She is a Hispanic and a woman. Therefore, according to Buchanan, she is not qualified. Plus, she received entry into Princeton because of affirmative action which, according to Buchanan, automatically disqualifies her.
Many people who belong to minority groups in the United States will tell you, whether they are black, Hispanic, Asian, white female or otherwise, that competing with a white male is a losing proposition. It is more likely than not that a less-qualified white male will receive preference.
This is the real, true affirmative action.
John Dudley is a Miami Beach resident.