Good Grades Not Good Enough

Merit based achievement is the pinnacle of success.  To excel in a particular area due to personal performance is also the pinnacle of personal freedom.  Affirmative Action stifles both true success and true personal freedom.  It has outlived its noble purpose and has become what it was intended to replace–a beacon of racism.  Not the overt in-your-face racism of early America, but the soft racism of low expectations and back-handed insults.

A federal appeals court has ruled a Michigan law passed in 2006 as unconstitutional which “bans the use of race and gender preferences in college admissions and government  hiring and contracting”.  The ruling essentially forces schools and government agencies to consider race and gender when considering applicants.  Since the law’s passing, schools and government agencies were required to consider only an applicant’s qualifications.

I have always viewed Affirmative Action (AA) as demeaning and far more racist than the alleged racism it purports relieve.  It is foisted on minorities with the same underlying racism that social programs are.  AA, under the guise of making opportunities equal, sends the message: “We realize that as a minority, you cannot compete intellectually with the others.  Either you are not smart enough, or you do not have the self-control to study instead of goofing off.  We’re here to tell you not to worry, we understand, we’ll make schools and employers pretend you are just as smart and qualified for a job or school placement, even though you aren’t.”

To be sure that is a distasteful oversimplification, and people who support AA will not characterize it in that way.  But the truth of the matter is AA artificially turns otherwise unqualified individuals into individuals who must be considered who would be otherwise unqualified.

Business owners and schools are selfish.  Their common goal is success.  Businesses are in business to make money.  They prefer to hire the smartest most competent applicants for the job.  Those are the kinds of employees who have the potential to make the business owner the most money.  Schools want to accept the smartest and best students who will potentially earn the best grades.  Schools want the highest percentage of enrolled students to graduate with the highest grades possible.  It makes the school look good, and worthy of donations from alumni as well as other collegiate recognition and prestige.  When the school graduates high percentages of students with high grades, they can also charge more for tuition.  The most qualified applicant translates to the greatest benefit to all involved.

AA tells minorities “you aren’t qualified, but we’ll make them hire/enroll you anyway”.  With out merit-only based success you have not truly succeeded, your social status has.  You have not been hired or enrolled because of what you have accomplished, instead, your skin color or gender has gotten the job or acceptance letter.  AA takes your personal freedom.  When you get a job because of AA, it is only because the employer or school has not hit the required quota, not because you are perceived as a potential asset.  When you are hired on your merit, you don’t have to worry about whether the quota has been met, you have marketable value.

AA has turned into something ugly.  Certain politicians and political activists have convinced a good many people to not expect too much out of certain minorities.  They have convinced them not to set their goals too high because there is a system in place to pick up their slack.  A merit based society ensures people see the rewards of their discipline and the consequences of their idleness.


  1. The court’s rationale was that the law harmed minorities and was therefore unconstitutional. By overturning this, aren’t they harming other groups of people? The court is ruling that race must be considered, which is racist in itself.

    • It only harms them if they are inherently unqualified. It only harms them if they are by nature not as smart. Just making that decision with that wording should set minorities and political activists saying “what did he just say about us?” But the left thrives on it, it’s the ultimate kickme sign.

  2. I think affirmative action is targetting the wrong end of the problem.

    teaching the importance of tolerance and getting along with people regardless of differences in elementary school – eliminate the roots of racism and you get rid of the problem in a more meaningful way

    then deal with the poverty that holds back many people across ethnicity from having at least the opportunity to achieve to their potential

    the problem with AA isn’t really the concept, but how it’s been done – leveling the playing field is one thing, but engaging in token hiring of unqualified people is more likely the exception than the rule

    but I don’t think it helps the hired person to feel like or know that they got the job because of factors not relating to qualifications – and I know what it feels like to be passed over for a promotion for a person because of ethnicity – and it doesn’t feel very good either to know that it doesn’t matter how qualified you are that you simply won’t be promoted on a aspect that you have no ability to fairly compete on.

    I just don’t think that the way that AA or as in Canada, Employment Equity has been done engenders the best out of any workers.

    • Minorities who are AA hires aren’t told they are AA hires. It creates the false sense of security that what little they have accomplished is sufficient.

      Additionally, poverty does not prevent education, lack of initiative does. Every grade through highschool is provided at no cost to the student. All that is required is effort. Personal integrity is what is missing. When programs like AA and others that suggest your place in life is not your fault then there is no motive to free yourself.

      Student loans are available for anyone who wants them, college is attainable for anyone. Poverty is no excuse for not applying yourself, just need self-discipline.

  3. Terrance H. says:

    Being a white male from Michigan, John, you can imagine my disdain. It’s absurd.

    I attended the “Harvard of the Midwest,” or so they say, and that place was infamous for declining white students; I was one of the lucky ones. But African-American, Latino, or Asian students with lower grades and scores get in before whites – always. That’s the way it’s been for a long time.

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