When a man asked freed slave Frederick Douglas what the whites could do for the blacks, Douglas had but one thing to say:
“What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!”
We’ve come a long, long way from those days. Everywhere we look, we either hear about a company’s great affirmative action program, or we hear stories about kids getting into college on affirmative action.
As a woman, I’m often told that I shouldn’t complain about affirmative action; I wouldn’t have gotten where I am if I was a male. And honestly… That makes my blood boil.
I worked hard to get where I am. I’ve always kept up with the boys, standing on my own merits. I never needed a man to stand up for me. I busted my butt to get where I am, and I won’t have anyone saying that they gave it to me.
Because that’s what affirmative action is: white man saying that you -whether you’re black, Hispanic, female, Asian, etc.,- that you’re not good enough to do it on your own. That you need ‘whitey’ to give you that job. It’s saying that you, a young black man, aren’t smart enough to get into Harvard on your own! You need the white man to lower your scores, because otherwise, you can’t do it. It’s saying that I, as a woman, can’t do the job as well as a man, so I need a man to lower the standards.
I’m a firm believer of the best man for the job. And the beautiful thing about a capitalist society is as Milton Friedman says: “…a purchaser of bread does not know whether it was made from wheat grown by a white man or a negro, a Christian or a Jew…” (Interestingly, Friedman also said that minimum wage laws were the most racist laws on the books). If you can do the job, you’ll get the job. If someone better gets offered the job, it’s not racism; it’s capitalism. You want the job, be the best candidate. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re incapable of doing it on your own.