Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Affirmative Action = Flawed Strategy
Yet another day goes by and yet another debate about Affirmative Action on the Black talk radio circuit. Today on the radio show "The Right Side With Shelley Whynters" on WAOK Atlanta a guest who wrote a book about how White kids are benefiting from Affirmative Action policy in its current state while Blacks get left out.
His major contention was that Blacks vying for positions in ELITE SCHOOLS are being displaced as Affirmative Action programs atrophy. I called in and challenged his basic assertions. I told him that "certain Black people are inclined to fight White folks at certain fissures within our society". We would rather fight to get a few elite Blacks into Harvard and University of Michigan while all the while the "wide middle" of Black America is left to flounder. Where as these elite Blacks choose between Harvard or their second choice - University of Pittsburgh....the "Wide Middle" of Black America chooses between COLLEGE or NO COLLEGE. I suggested that we should focus on measurably improving our public schools rather than helping Black elites get into an Ivy League school or equivalent. I also noted that there is a very distinct difference between the practices of a PRIVATE SCHOOL like Princeton and a PUBLIC school like the University of Michigan regarding its abstraction of MONEY from the consideration of who gets in.
His follow up was EXPECTED to say the least. He stated that our BLACK LEADERSHIP is spawned from these elite Black schools and thus it is vital that we have representation there. To this I say B.S.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I would MUCH RATHER HAVE an increase of 200,000 Black folks with college degrees from Penn State, Colorado State, Mississippi State and Albany State than I would take 2,000 Black "leaders" from THE IVY LEAGUE.
Some people practice the theory of CENTRALIZED LEADERSHIP!
I am for DISTRIBUTED LEADERSHIP AND INTELLIGENCE.
I don't need a LEADER. We need more leaders at the edge rather than in the center and then we need a SYSTEM to allow them to work collaboratively.
Some people believe that the Black Consciousness is too fragile to sustain fundamental debates about our METHODOLOGY. They instead prefer the UNITY model where we all play "follow the leader".
Affirmative Action is a STRATEGIC MISTAKE. We need to focus on preparing our 9th grade students to become "college material" than putting our resources in getting a few Blacks into elite schools. It's just that simple.
In fighting on behalf of a few Black elite to attend Elite White colleges it is the logical equivalent of the Civil Rights Industry fighting the RACISM faced by Blacks in getting seated at the 5 star White restaurant all the while they have walked past thousands of starving Black people on the street as they made their way downtown for the protest march in front of the ritzy hotel.
The "Wide Middle" is a more worthy target to focus upon than the "Elite few".
Sadly we are driven by the "Struggle Against White folks at the racial fissure points" rather than STRATEGICALLY focusing upon the more PROPORTIONALLY EFFECTIVE strategy for the masses.