Excerpt Of The Day: The Cruelty Of Affirmative Action

“My enemies say my career would have gone nowhere without affirmative action. I don’t think that’s true, but because there is affirmative action, they can say that. There are no blacks who are free from that stigma, and that’s a terrible thing to do to people who are trying to succeed on their own. I think affirmative action is the worst cruelty blacks have endured since slavery.

At that point, blacks made the worst mistake in our history: putting our faith in the hands of outside saviors. The idea that somebody else can lift you up, can teach you skills, and make you competitive is just ridiculous. That sort of abject dependence has never worked, and it never will.

Blacks do well in sports, music, entertainment, and literature—because there’s absolutely no white intervention, paternalism, affirmative action, or anything else. We’re asked to compete without any assistance, and sure enough, we compete. We succeed. In these areas, whites never intervene, so we ask the best and we get the best. But in colleges and other places, there are a billion excuses. Whites intervene and convince themselves not to ask much of us. It’s the same old vicious cycle.

…Affirmative action and all of its sundry manifestations should be completely eliminated. It stigmatizes all blacks, and it’s not voluntary. One of the real cruelties of affirmative action is that whether we want it or not, it is imposed on us, simply because of the color of our skin. You don’t get to opt out.

You shouldn’t be able to go onto a campus and have a separate black graduation ceremony, a separate black student union, a black studies department. Why do I get all these racial things, but you can’t have them? Why?

White paternalism and guilt is behind it, because it allows whites to effectively take credit for our advancement. Just like slavery, affirmative action allows blacks to be used, and bestows on us a stigma of being inferior. It’s a stunning cruelty. We ought to be marching on Washington to end paternalism and affirmative action; not marching to keep it.” — Shelby Steele

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