Anti-Affirmative action is gradually becoming a trend across the globe as many people pick up this ideology. This is being fuelled because affirmative action seems to unfairly twist a lot of policies and is viewed as inclined to a certain group of people while completely ignoring others.
To fully understand anti-affirmative action, there is a need to expound on the preceding movement, “Affirmative Action,” which led to the birth of “Anti-Affirmative Action.” In this case, the former informed the latter, so these concepts should be analyzed together.
Foundations of Affirmative Action
Affirmative action is an ideology that was prompted by the extreme inequality which exists in our world. Our world is marred with visible social classes aimed at distinguishing different groups of people in terms of wealth, occupation, religion, and academic level. This has been happening for many years now. One of the major factors used to group people is “race,” and it is the most sensitive aspect of differentiating humans. Though no one can out-rightly agree that people are not equal, the way we treat each other tells the whole story. Issues of marginalized societies, segregated communities, outcasts, misfits, discriminated people are common in many countries. Such trends are popular in developed countries, which tend to have the “high” class of rich individuals and at the same time have the poorest community where one fails to buy a loaf of bread. Developing countries also have social classes, but the majority of people are stuck in the lower classes. The gap between high and low classes was very alarming, and it influenced the Affirmative Action mindset among people.
It refers to “a policy aimed at increasing workplace or educational opportunities for underrepresented parts of society” [Source]. This means that marginalized individuals are elevated since they face a lot of discrimination in their territory. Affirmative action “focuses on demographics with historically low representation in leadership, professional, and academic roles and is often considered a means of countering discrimination against particular groups” [Source]. To achieve this goal, consideration is done regarding one’s race, sex, religion, or nationality when hiring a company, enrolling for a school position, or being eligible for a government fund or a scholarship.
In aiding the affirmative action idea, governments, education institutions, companies would roll out grants or scholarships to the minority groups in society. Others specified nationality, gender, or mother tongue when hiring staff. This saw the employment of women in higher offices, foreign nationals being allowed to work in government departments, houses offered to poor individuals, free medical and education services doled out to the vulnerable, and the approval of stimulus or food packages during the covid-19 intense periods last year channeled at low-income earners.
Anti-Affirmative Action Movement
This movement was inspired by how affirmative action was handled in various countries. It focused on countering bias or favoritism displayed towards certain races, gender, or groups of people in society.
Anti-affirmative action is defined as the movement against biased policies that discriminate against other people in favor of certain persons while offering assistance to vulnerable societies. It aims at countering unequal opportunities being presented to the world through intense support for marginalized groups of people.
It challenges how affirmative action has lost its core objective of bringing equality to humanity and is now robbing people of a fair share of benefits. Affirmative action points “to a set of policies and practices within a government or organization seeking to include particular groups based on their gender, race, sexuality, creed or nationality in areas in which they are underrepresented such as education and employment” [Source]. This definition has caused many problems in various organizations as there are favoritism tendencies portrayed.
Anti-affirmative groups despise affirmative action for failing to end discrimination, and they argue for a new method to be implemented [Source]. Stanford magazine notes that “Over the past quarter of a century, Stanford has been discriminating in favor of racial minorities in admissions, hiring, tenure, contracting and financial aid.” It was seen that affirmative action is just discrimination with a different name and changed the side to be discriminated. Preferences based on gender have led to the prejudice of poor white people and Asians, who then turned against the ideology.
Preferential preferences tend to “reduce competitive advantages of a society and economy built on talent.” This means one can budge into a position because they are colored and get a higher position among men because they are female. Supporters of anti-affirmative action posit that a society where one is rewarded based on talent or effort is not only more competitive but “also ethical and fair.” They also believe that some rich individuals take advantage of the flawed affirmative action idea and avoid paying fees or applying for a job through proper channels. For instance, many Black Americans and Mexicans living in the US are business owners but tend to enjoy preferential benefits because they are classified under vulnerable groups. Studies at varsities also show that students deemed to be minorities come from high-income earning families, but their race or gender get first preferences for admission.
In the US, last year, a varsity group of students approached the courts pursuing the removal of gender when enrolling one at college. The students argued that “policies common at U.S. universities put white and Asian American students at a disadvantage” [Source]. Because of stereotypes which state that a white person or Asian American has more privileges and is probably coming from a rich family, these races are now being treated unfairly. Despite financial stats also showing many white people starving and failing to fend for their families, society continues to play the “white privileges card.”
Many graduates complained about how employers are favoring females and foreign nationals or applications from refugee camps while shunning them away. Various protests have been held against this kind of treatment, but authorities seem too eager to elevate the status of minorities groups.
Anti-affirmative action stems from such a setup where catering for minorities is now threatening the wellbeing of other races regarded as “rich.” It opposes gifting a person with a job, college place, financial aid, or scholarship based on race or religion without carefully considering their financial status and without extending those same services to other poor people under the so-called “privileged races” banner. Assuming these factors, affirmative action is hurting society and propagating inequality rather than fighting it.
Hence, anti-affirmatives sought to the right those wrongs and perhaps bring in a new ideology that would put everyone at par while still catering for the vulnerable groups.