Contrary to popular belief, black professionals aren't fans of affirmative action, says CNN columnist LZ Granderson. That's because they've grown tired of others assuming that affirmative is the sole reason they've succeeded in their careers.
"It's insulting, it's demeaning and there's not a damn thing we can do about it, because as long as race is part of the qualification metric, the perception that the bar was lowered so that we could jump over it will persist," Granderson says in a new column.
He also points out how even a wealthy, powerful white man such as Mitt Romney joked this past spring that he'd have a better shot of winning the presidential race if he were Mexican. In reality Latinos and African Americans consistently have higher unemployment rates than whites do. Considering that the federal government classifies unemployed people as those who are actively searching for work, that means in September 2012 the percentage of black jobseekers was double that of white jobseekers. Why is this the case if affirmative action has ushered legions of minorities into jobs they don't deserve? You'd think that if people of color had it so good with affirmative action the white unemployment rate would be the nation's highest. After all, so many white people are being discriminated against because of affirmative action.
If it's not clear, I'm being sarcastic. I've simply grown tired of hearing about affirmative action victimizing whites when research on employment discrimination has shown that being a person of color is far more of a liability on the job hunt than being white is. Research has shown that job applicants of color are routinely discriminated against even when they have the same professional qualifications as whites. Employers have discriminated against minorities for having "ethnic" sounding names, the zip codes they live in and the credit scores they have. What's more, even when people of color do find work, employers typically pay them less than their white counterparts and don't promote them as much. So, how exactly are minorities cashing in on affirmative action?
I, for one, don't have a problem with affirmative action. I have a problem with the perceptions surrounding it. Whenever the affirmative action debate comes up, it's assumed that the minority in the equation is unqualified. But University of Chicago researchers have found that even when job candidates are equally qualified, the minority applicant is the one least likely to receive a callback from a potential employer. That said, it's not time to do away with affirmative action. It's time to revamp affirmative action so that it's more effective in countering discrimination.