Like abortion, gay rights, illegal immigration and income disparity, affirmation action is an issue looming large in the American society today. But the 2016 presidential candidates of both parties have all chosen NOT to address the topic despite their heated debates on the other policy areas. Why? Because it is the NO.1 politically incorrect thing in this country to even slightly question the relevance of affirmative action. You will immediately be called out as “racist”!
Dr. Ben Carson, a long-time opponent of affirmative action and a Republican candidate, finally broke the silence in his latest ad campaign:
More than anyone else running for president, Dr. Ben Carson knows about race and hatred. He was raised in the ghettos of Detroit. He saw the face of hatred, bigotry, and violence firsthand. So when Dr. Carson says we should replace affirmative action with compassionate action, that it’s a fairer way to treat people, we should listen to him. Judge Scalia’s life has taught us, if you’ve lived the life you believe in, you’ve earned the right to speak about what it has taught you. The rest is just political correctness.
Dr. Carson is the best representative of my views on affirmative action. He acknowledges the failure of social programs such as affirmative action to address the real issues faced by African Americans such as violence, poverty, and bigotry. As someone who has lived through all the difficulties, prejudices AND discriminations facing the black community, Dr. Carson also experienced how affirmative action did him injustice — even with an MD, he could not find a job because employers thought Ben, the black guy aka affirmative action student, was disqualified. I said many times on many occasions and I want to reiterate here once again:
Affirmative action hurts the very people it’s supposed to help by promoting negative stereotypes about their competency and professionalism.
Some said that Dr. Carson made this move to pander to the predominantly white electorate in South Carolina. How funny… When he first came out raising his view about affirmative action, he was portrayed as a betrayer of the black community. Likewise, ever since I went public about my story of posing as black in defiance of affirmative action racism, I have received very sharp criticisms and even straight-out personal attacks from the African American group. But I had the opportunity to appear on several African-American radio shows including Maya Akai Show of WVON 1690 Talk of Chicago, Monday Morning Perspective on WYCA Rejoice, Cliff Kelley Show on WVON, and the Jesse Lee Peterson Radio Show. I’d like to recant the memory here and share with you the honest discussions I’ve had with them.
The hosts responded positively when I talked about the enormous differences in the way that people treated me when I was “just another Indian doctor’s son”, compared with after I modified my appearance to look black. I discussed the daily humiliations that were part of the African American experience including “Driving While Black” and being accused of shoplifting. These were experiences that the hosts and their audience could clearly relate to.
At other times the audience and callers were skeptical but respectful. Many of them expressed frustration about the racism they have faced. I said they had every right to be angry about racism, but that more racism in the form of Affirmative Action was not the solution. Some agreed with me, many disagreed. When I talked about the negative stereotypes about minority professionals that I think are perpetuated by affirmative action, I got a mixed response from the audience.
The MOST memorable moment came on the Maya Akai Show, when Maya said, “white people rule the world.” I disagreed, citing the election of President Obama. My response was that anyone, regardless of race, who has the power to convince others of the strength of their ideas could rule the world. I took it a step further, telling Maya that my book and her radio program existed for exactly that reason. She agreed.