There are inequalities everywhere; that fact is inescapable. But to try to iron out inequity with further inequity is like trying to fix a broken bone by breaking another bone. It’s asinine, and ultimately harmful.
During an interview with Playboy, actor Vince Vaughn came out swinging against inequality, but not in the way you’d expect from a Hollywood star. When the interviewer asked him about affirmative action, he replied rather eloquently:
“Do you believe that using race as a factor in evaluating a person is a good way to operate? But then you’re evaluating someone based on race, which is racism. Rights don’t come to you because you’re a man or a woman or African American or European or Jewish. And I certainly don’t think the federal government should be in the business of deciding things or handing out money based on factors like these. I think history has proven without a doubt that the proper role of government is to protect individuals’ rights and liberties. That has always been the most prosperous, freest society for people to live in. And when government gets too involved, society turns into a place that gets very, very ugly. But I think we’ve walked more into Crossfire here than Playboy.”
Vaughn is absolutely correct. Affirmative action is racist. Allow me to lay out a scenario as an example.
Two high school seniors are applying to Harvard. One is Asian, and the other is Black. Both have equally outstanding scholastic achievements, with 4.0 grade point averages, and stellar extracurriculars. They are each granted interviews with the Harvard admissions Dean, and each of them impresses.
But the Admissions Dean has been given a mandate by the school. Because Blacks represent only a minority of students at Harvard, he has been told that regardless of aptitude, Black applicants must be given priority over all other races. So the Dean tells the Asian student that because there are already so many Asian students at Harvard, and so few Blacks, he is going to accept the Black applicant.
Not only is the decision unfair to the Asian student, but to the Black student as well, because he is being treated as if he were handicapped in some way, despite his aptitude. What this decision implies is that intellectual aptitude, scholastic achievement, and extracurriculars mean absolutely nothing in light of race. The only true deciding factor was the color of the Black applicant’s skin.
This is affirmative action; it tells Black people that they are not enough, that they are less-than. Affirmative action says “Oh, you poor, stupid black people need a leg up. Without our help, you’ll never get anywhere in life.” It’s demeaning. Rather than foster real equality, affirmative action fosters false equality—which is just another form of inequality.
There may have been a time when something like affirmative action was necessary, in light of desegregation, and leftover prejudices. That time is over. It’s 2015, and giving someone a leg up simply because of the color of their skin is vile, and just the same as disadvantaging someone because of their race. It’s judgment based on nothing more than pigment.