Positive Discrimination: Reversing Racism, or Reverse Racism?

As time ticks on, so does economy and population. And where populations and economies grow, so does the need for jobs, school places, and university acceptance letters.

But just because our acceptance of women, ethnic minorities, and non-heterosexuality has also taken an inclusive turn over the past 40 years, is the answer to these issues as exclusive as it once was?

Or should each case be talked about on its own? Is this new wave of social acceptance actually about individuals?

The obvious rival to positive discrimination is meritocracy – something that, on the face of it, is shunned in the name of correcting the historic wrongs against non-whites. If the two forms of social accession are to be argued as bedfellows, however, then it would be a worthy competitor to discrimination.

But in a society where discrimination is no longer an incessant problem, are we fighting against something which isn’t actually there? An invisible rival to liberty left in the bitter, smokey wake of the slave trade, aimlessly punching the lingering shadows of suffragettism. Are we avenging the long-dead ashes of those who were once under the discriminatory oppression of the white, straight, rich man, or are we ourselves now under the thumb of their history, and a timeless immature game of ‘he started it’?

The newly sparked and ever watchful eyes of the feminists has been baited by an inquiry by Commons Committees in the UK into the number of women MPs amid the proposed constituency boundary change, slicing the current 650 seats to a still sizeable 600.

It seems, just like many schemes to equalise politics, Labour’s ‘women only shortlists’, a previously productive enterprise, has now fizzled into a dark, meaningless crispy puck of manifesto pie. That said, it did plenty in 2010, with 50% of female candidates for seats being put forward by All Women Shortlists.

But has patriarchy not been made extinct, courtesy of liberalism? And if so, surely the fact they were needed in the fist place says little about actually fighting discrimination, and more about Westminster’s obsession with planting itself with women, trying to gain equality through some kind of feminist osmosis.

But why? Why is feminism redundant in politics, and why, therefore, is it fighting for what it is principally arguing against? Well, in both the UK and the USA there is the haunting assumption of degrees being necessary. And with tuition fees in the UK set to rise to £12,500 a year and US fees averaging $50,000, it seems great as if wealth inequality is flourishing over the pond, as well as at home. Just over a quarter of blacks and hispanics living in the US are in relative poverty, and the number of three-day emergency food supplies given to people in crisis by Trussell Trust foodbanks in the financial year 2015-2016 rose to over 1 Million in the UK.

It seems the road to Washington and Westminster is growing ever distant for those from the poorer definition of an estate. But this does not mean picking people off the streets and offering them a seat in the Commons or Congress; it means equalising the provision of education, irrespective of wealth. Americans would have you believe that such an approach is strictly socialist. It is not. It is equality of opportunity as opposed to outcome, a tenet of their beloved friend, LIBERALISM. Once they are given the opportunity to be educated, then it is down to meritocracy.

To combat the race, gender, and class inequality in politics, would it not be fairer and more economic to give ‘oppressed’ groups the opportunity to be successful by treating them equally, as opposed to handing them success and thus purporting inequality even more?

It seems the ‘fairer’ one wishes to make politics less democratic, rendering the groups who endorse positive discrimination incapable of remaining relevant unless they directly violate their own legality.

 I am aware that, whilst scepticism towards positive discrimination, right now, is acceptable, it may appear more sinister in decades to come in the ever more inclusive society in which we will continue to find ourselves in.

I mean, why undo the wrongs of the past if it means living in a regressive now? Would not looking forward through liberally-tinted spectacles be the most progressive way? As Ghandi once corrected the King of Babylon in Matthew 5:38, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

By Nick Ford, 18





One thought on “Positive Discrimination: Reversing Racism, or Reverse Racism?

  1. Interesting read, Nick. It’s telling that the most vocal critics of positive discrimination are predominantly white, heterosexual men, that is those least experienced in negative discrimination. Positive discrimination does not mean employing underqualified people, but favouring equally able candidates of underrepresented demographics. Disappointingly ongoing struggles for equal pay and representation, or suffering hate crimes and harassment are overlooked here; less than ninety years after equal suffrage and fifty years after African decolonisation, it seems naïve to suppose that ‘liberalism’ has provided a level playing field or solved deeply rooted socioeconomic imbalances. And that is why reverse discrimination is a myth; discrimination is not made of incidents but institutional inequality of power, that surely remains today.


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