America has had a penchant for using inclusivity and neutrality whenever it comes to explaining anything Racial within the broader sense of its culture. You might ask, what do I mean by that? Well, take Affirmative Action for example. The Encyclopedia Britannica calls it:
“an active effort to improve employment or educational opportunities for members of minority groups and for women. Affirmative action began as a government remedy to the effects of long-standing discrimination against such groups and has consisted of policies, programs, and procedures that give limited preferences to minorities and women in job hiring, admission to institutions of higher education, the awarding of government contracts, and other social benefits. The typical criteria for affirmative action are race, disability, gender, ethnic origin, and age.”
Note to self: Why include women specifically when all “minority groups” include women. This differentiation therefore means “white women” in particular. Limited Preferences is a misnomer since Affirmative Action means to actively recruit, consider and hire or admit Negroes who were never even considered prior to the inception of the Civil Rights Act and its provisions.
Investopedia defines Affirmative Action this way:
“…affirmative action refers to a policy aimed at increasing workplace and educational opportunities for people who are underrepresented in various areas of our society. It focuses on demographics with historically low representation in leadership and professional roles. It is often considered a means of countering discrimination against particular groups.”
Note to self: During the inception of the Act and provisions such as Affirmative Action, underrepresented was a euphemism for “Negro.” Demographics with historically low representation is a euphemistic phrase meaning Black people or the Negro.
Cornell University considers it:
“…a set of procedures designed to; eliminate unlawful discrimination among applicants, remedy the results of such prior discrimination, and prevent such discrimination in the future. Applicants may be seeking admission to an educational program or looking for professional employment. In modern American jurisprudence, it typically imposes remedies against discrimination on the basis of (at the very least) race, creed, color, and national origin.”
Note to self: By far the most neutral definition.Assumes applicants include men and women.
Countless others offer similar definitions for Affirmative Action. Indeed, if we understand the meaning of the terms Affirmative and Action, where the former means the expression of approval and agreement, and the latter means to do something to accomplish a goal, aim or purpose, then taken together it means:
Approval and agreement in, of and for accomplishing a goal, aim or purpose.
In the case of Black Americans, Affirmative Action was supposed to mean the reparative relief from discrimination in the areas of employment and education, since the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was not enough by itself to provide even the barest of opportunity in the form of equity and equality in those areas by itself without good faith efforts by companies, corporations, and educational institutions to begin to actively look for, recruit consider and accept qualified Black people into their organizations.
As most of my essays start out with some historical background or definitions of terms, this essay is not really intended to provide the entire history of Affirmative Action since just as there are countless definitions, there are countless explanations of its history, as well as opinions both for and against the policy and practices. What I intend to do is unbleach any notion of neutrality and inclusivity permeating out of the rhetoric and embodiment of any policy that was remotely created to help Black Americans and how neutrality and inclusivity has worked against us time and time again over the generations.
The Civil Rights Act came directly out of a Black movement for equality, equity, opportunity and justice, and yet, not one whitened body of politics or policy would dare describe the Act as a direct result of the Black struggle. When described in the news, terms like Race, while mentioned, were not made the primary reason for any policy or legislation clearly coming out of the Black struggle. Instead, the country was going to stop discriminating “on the basis of Race and other so-called underrepresented groups. The term, Civil itself became decidedly a dog whistle and euphemism for “Black,” and “Negro, and it was completely obvious the Black/white binary was the actual issue. However, as is the case some fifty-five years later, a miniscule few will even admit everything in America is about Black and white, as though every other “color” was representative of the kinds of discrimination imposed by Jim Crow on the “Negro” in particular, even though no other ethnicity wanted to be included in the moniker “colored.” As the vanguard of the struggle for desegregation and nondiscrimination, Black people fought on the front lines for equality, equity, opportunity and justice, and as a reward for this work, Black people were included rather than the direct beneficiaries and recipients of any attempt at redress, since the wording was created to be neutral, so as to ensure all future underrepresented groups would be considered.
Affirmative Action was a vehicle for employers, colleges and universities to actively recruit qualified Black people and then admit and hire them, since they had never done so in the past, and actively discriminated against them. For purposes of this essay, Race was going to be used “for” Black people instead of “against” them. Not many companies or educational institutions did so willingly, and the policy and legislation only counted government contractors and institutions that received Federal funds as requirements. Some only complied after consent decrees were placed on them as a result of willful discrimination. Black women were essentially recruited more often than Black men. According to the American Association of University Women:
“Among Black students in higher education, women are more likely than men to earn degrees: Black women get 64.1% of bachelor's degrees, 71.5% of master's degrees and 65.9% of doctoral, medical, and dental degrees.”
It can be reasonably assumed that many colleges and universities actively recruited Black women because they got a “two-fer” or a stat for both a Black and a woman. And yet, while it would appear that Black women have benefited more than Black men, the AAUW states, “Black women are significantly less than white women to enroll in four-year colleges, graduate within six years and go on to earn advanced degrees.” Both white men and white women continue to out rank Black men and women in terms of acceptance into colleges and universities, affirmative action notwithstanding, so using Race for rather than against Black people had no dramatic effect on the attendance of white people in higher education. As a contrast, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, since 2017 after California dropped what they called “racial preferences” from their admissions policy, applications by black prospective students dropped over 30 percent. Therefore, Race used for rather than against Black people had a very dramatic effect on admissions and attendance for Black people when abolished.
Note to self: the term “racial preferences” like “quotas” are used liberally in white supremacism to diminish the purpose of Affirmative Action. A racial preference actually meant non-discrimination and actively seeking qualified Black applicants. A quota meant a realistic goal, which usually meant one or two recruits and or hires or admissions during a specific period of time.
Affirmative Action was supposed to remedy past discrimination of who in America? Who in America suffered worse due to generations of enslavement and Jim Crow? Who is referenced as the prime example when discussing such redress? Whenever the subject of Affirmative Action is broached, why is it used to describe Black people as inferior and less qualified over qualified white people, while accepting as merit, the upward mobility for White women who benefited the most from it?
Anyone with an ounce of understanding of the way white supremacism operates knows using language that appears neutral, by including more than “Race” waters down the legislation or the policy to give the appearance of a desire to be affirmative in its actions and civil with respect to rights inclusive of Black people as well. Yet, think about it. According to its own cultural principles in America, the Races are either Black or white and anything else is a nationality, an ethnicity or the language spoken. The entire premise behind white supremacism is the ideology of superiority. Everything else is ancillary to that ideology. Hatred is its own issue and not being considered in this essay. Therefore, it stands to reason that they would immediately and successfully adopt the lie that the entire policy and its programs were discriminating against themselves who were by far more superior by allowing those inferior, uneducated, lazy Black people to go “ahead of the line.” To this day, this lie is perpetrated by these Racists to stop even the recruitment of Black people into their spaces and is the overarching rationale for all the attempts made to abolish Affirmative Action as the Roberts Court just did.
The latest Supreme Court ruling has used the same neutral and inclusive language as the Civil Rights Act itself and the Affirmative Action policy and provisions regarding so-called affected persons to destroy Affirmative Action. Recall, however, in doing so, they are very specific in the use of the term, Race when deciding what has been deemed unconstitutional. There is no mention of any of the others included as affected persons, only Race. By now, we should all know when the term Race is invoked, it means Black. Therefore, It behooves an answer as to why they even included the other affected underrepresented groups into the policy for protection if protecting them wasn’t at risk of being determined unconstitutional? Does this mean that any other affected underrepresented group is still protected? Why is the use of Race for rather than against unconstitutional and the others aren’t?
So, what does that tell you? I’ll tell you what it tells me. It tells me using Race for the benefit of Black people is now considered unconstitutional. It tells me everything in this country and its culture has and will continue to be all about Race no matter how they try to frame it with euphemisms, inclusivity or neutrality. It has always been about the desire of whiteness to feign superiority over Blackness using both color and character. It has always been about Race. And the Race always in the vanguard is Black. And that’s it.