In a few short years, when my two children will be applying to college, the affirmative action policies by which most universities offer black students some form of preferential treatment will present me with a dilemma. This paper examines Shelby Steele’s essay Affirmative action was conceived of as a way to compensate blacks for years of separatist policies and socially. The Price of Preference. A Multicultural Approach, Prentice. I think we need social policies that are committed to two goals:

Here again, racial preferences allow society to leapfrog over the difficult problem of developing blacks to parity with whites and into a cosmetic diversity that covers the blemish of disparity—a full six years after admission, only 26 percent of blacks graduate from college. But this argument does not get around the fact that racial preferences now taint this color with a new theme of suspicion that makes blacks even more vulnerable to discrimination. And to these arguments other very obvious facts must be added. Curriculum Library Book Buy the Book. Whites can have no racial innocence without earning it by eradicating discrimination and helping the disadvantaged to develop. Representation can be manufactured; development is always hard-earned. In America, many marginally competent or flatly incompetent whites are hired every day—some because their white skin suits the conscious or unconscious racial preference of their employers.

This is not a very substantial or reliable power, and it is important that we know this so we can focus more exclusively on the kind of development that will bring enduring power. This despite racial preferences. Affirmative action essaysWords Writers Stanley Fish and Shelby Steele take different stances on whether affirmative Continue reading this essay Continue. Preferential treatment rewards us for being underdogs rather than for moving beyond that status—a misplacement of incentives that, along with its deepening of our doubt, is more a yoke than a spur.


shelby steele affirmative action essay

It was virtually impossible to find people outside either camp. Yet, they have never experienced racial discrimination, have never been stopped by their race on any path that they have chosen to follow.

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Affirmative action does not work, Steele contends. However this inferiority is explained—and it is easily enough explained by the myriad deprivations that grew out of our oppression—it is still inferiority.

It tells us that racial preferences can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. It is reformist and corrective, even repentant and redemptive.

shelby steele affirmative action essay

To be against them is to be unkind. They would say that this small preference is the meagerest recompense for centuries of unrelieved oppression.

shelby steele affirmative action essay

We had won a certain specialness and now we affrmative losing it. Affirnative Views of Affirmative Action Essay. Born in the late forties in Chicago, I started my education a charitable term in this case in a segregated school and suffered all the indignities that come to blacks in a segregated society.

We help each other in our homework. The mandates of black power and white absolution out of which preferences emerged were not wrong in themselves. What this means in practical terms is that when blacks deliver themselves into integrated situations, esxay encounter a nasty little reflex in whites, a mindless, atavistic reflex that responds to the color black with alarm.

By making black the color of preference, these mandates have reburdened society with the very marriage of color and preference in reverse that we set out to eradicate. This is the sort of affirmative action that America owes to blacks and itself. He was appointed a Hoover fellow. Attributions may follow this alarm if the white cares to indulge them, and if they do, they will most likely be negative—one such attribution is intellectual ineptness.


Whites are now less willing to endure unfairness to themselves in order to grant special entitlements to blacks, even when those entitlements are justified in the name of past suffering. All of this is compounded by the cultural myth of black inferiority that blacks have always lived with.

From the Content of Our Character: We cannot be sure that the discriminatory impulse in America has yet been ashamed into extinction, and I believe affirmative action can make its greatest contribution by providing a rigorous vigilance in this area. Need Help With Assignments?

shelby steele affirmative action essay

Kennedy John Fiske John G. The fact is that after twenty years of racial preferences the gap between white and black median income is greater than it was in the seventies.

In his essay, “The Evolution of Affirmative Action,”. The article takes a position that is against affirmative action because it takes. But this only makes him a halfhearted supporter of affirmative action. Affirmative action is such a gesture. Henry Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Racial preferences implicitly mark whites with an exaggerated superiority just as they mark blacks with an exaggerated inferiority.