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Affirmative Action | Myths and Facts

Myth:Affirmative action is only an issue for black, Latino and other minority people.

Fact: Women of all races have been the beneficiaries of affirmative action programs.
Partial sexual integration of historically elitist, all-male institutions and jobs has resulted from the implementation of affirmative action policies and the struggle for equality generally. Recent Census Bureau reports indicate that median income for fulltime working women was 74% of that for men. Affirmative action is also an issue for everyone who supports equality and justice in our society.

Myth: Affirmative action hurts Asian Americans.

Fact: Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) benefit from affirmative action programs.
Affirmative action has helped integrate this society and has undercut the influence of racist and sexist discrimination.

In fields of study and work where APAs are underrepresented, affirmative action has been directly beneficial. Discrimination against APAs persists: college educated APAs on average earn 11% less than their white counterparts, and high school-educated APAs earn 26% less than their white counterparts.

The defeat of affirmative action in the University of California system led to a decrease in Filipino, Pacific Islander, Chinese, Indian and Pakistani enrollment at UC Berkeley graduate programs and also led to a dramatic increase in racist hate-crimes against APAs in the city of Berkeley.

Myth: Affirmative action aids only women and minorities who are wealthy.

Fact: Working class and poor black, Latino and other minority people have benefited significantly from affirmative action policies in college admissions and hiring.

Affirmative action as a factor in college admission offsets the weight given to standardized tests on which wealthier people of all races and both sexes tend to score higher than their poorer counterparts.

Racist and sexist discrimination affects all social classes—therefore the measures designed to offset racist and sexist discrimination are applied to all social classes.

Myth: The fate of affirmative action will be decided in the courts—so why bother with action and protest?

Fact: Law is the product of society, not the other way around.
The Brown v Board of Education 1954 decision was the product of a Supreme Court that was, in its political attitude, overwhelmingly segregationist. So why the integrationist decision? The answer cannot be found in law books. It is found in the street—in the beginnings of a new phase of struggle for black equality.

Myth: Affirmative action should be based on socioeconomic status, not race or sex.

Fact: Socioeconomic status is not counter-posed to race or sex.
First, programs that offset the disadvantages to which poor people of all races are subjected are not counter-posed to race- and sex-based affirmative action.

This is not an argument against affirmative action—it is an argument for expanding the scope of affirmative action. For the racists who use the cover of the so-called “merit” argument to advance this proposal is sheer hypocrisy.

Poor people of all races tend to do worse on the SAT and other standardized tests—so from the “logic” of their demagogy, programs that give “preferences” to people of “lower socioeconomic status” would mean that “unqualified poor people” are taking places that “qualified rich people should have gotten”.

This is a hypocritical attempt to conceal the elitist nature of the argument against affirmative action with a dishonest claim to speak in the interest of poor people of all races. The primary reason for the inaccessibility of higher education to poor people is money. The primary obstacle keeping poor white students specifically out of higher education is not the small number of black and other minority students—it’s money.

If these racist hypocrites meant what they say, they would be fighting to lower tuition and expand grants and financial aid.Second, racism and sexism are living factors in today’s society. Middle class and affluent black and other minority people face racism and middle class and affluent women of all races face sexism.

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