Affirmative Inaction

Times have changed, indeed – to mirror Carol Hoenig. Carol is so on target (despite her astounding writing skills, you won’t hear me say that all too often) with her contention race should no longer be a factor in college admissions that I decided to mirror her commentary. It’s a commonly held idea that there was a time during which race was a needed factor in the admissions process, but that time has long passed. We can all agree that racial inequality was rampant and that affirmative action policies were needed, but even in such a climate there is one fact that supersedes all associated historical happenings: There have always been poor individuals of every race, color and creed.

With this in mind, the main argument against utilizing race in such a manner centers on the fact that the poor show no ethnic boundaries; they’re young, old, Hispanic, White, Black…the list goes on. Any policy analyst will tell you that standardizing the homeless is completely and utterly impossible.

It’s all about resources. I truly believe that while we cannot standardize the poor, we can cluster lower income regions and localities into “need-based” groups. After all, consider the young, Caucasian youth who inhabit the southern areas of Appalachia. Not only are these children without resource, but they are often void of minority status. Does this mean that their needs should be placed below those who meet unfair racial qualifications? No. If America truly wants to be an equal opportunity employer she must implement policies that enable her to be. The vast majority of Americans oppose affirmative action policies; they see them as highly problematic. One must consider the tension and other associated issues that may result (I’m not speaking about the work force here; that’s another topic, entirely).

Now is the time to work with colleges and universities to develop a method by which low-income neighborhoods and geographic regions with needs can be slated and analyzed to provide a demographic image that enables America’s educational facilities to see a panoramic view – a look into the lives of poverty-stricken youth of all races, whether they be part of the minority or the majority. That’s equality at its best.