- Reason Awakes -

Racial Discrimination and Affirmative Action


We believe that racial discrimination is unethical, illegal, and unconstitutional.


We understand the original motivation behind “Affirmative Action” and support it. As we understand it, affirmative action was originally intended to seek out minority candidates for applicant pools so that established networks would not extend prior patterns of segregation and discrimination long after segregation and discrimination had become illegal.


We oppose, however, the way affirmative action has often come to be practiced: as racial preferences for admissions, hiring, and contracting.

We reject the justification of race based admissions on the basis of adding diversity on college campuses or in the work place. Absent affirmative action most colleges and places of employment would still have significant minority students and employees. In addition, there is evidence that the process harms minorities in a number of ways including: placing them in situations for which they are inadequately prepared and likely to fail, encouraging them to take less competitive and less employable majors, and degrading the credentials of all minorities.

For these same same reasons we would oppose converting affirmative action from a race based to an incomes based program.


Despite opposing race-based preferences, we are conscious of the fact that the history of slavery and racial discrimination has left a deep scar on America. We think the fairest way to deal with that history, and the thousands of other uniquely personal events that may handicap individuals of any race who are starting out in life, is through government support for effective elementary and secondary education and financial support for low income students seeking post secondary education.

As a compromise on this issue, we would accept legislation that established a date certain for the elimination of affirmative action in the form of race-based preferences for admissions, hiring, and government contracts.

Some argue that America needs to establish a program of reparations for the descendants of enslaved people. We think that the chances of this actually happening are near zero. But even if it was politically realistic, we feel that aggressive support for public subsidized education is a better and fairer solution. Such programs disproportionately favor African-Americans without being race based programs. They also offer the promise of more sustainably equal outcomes in terms of income and wealth than a one-time lump sum payment.




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