There has been lot of back and forth on affirmative action in this site. As an outside observer, I have noted something:
Affirmative action is supported from the premises of:
1) Whites (or white men) are historically privileged
2) Blacks are historically and currently oppressed [added the word currently as an edit]
3) In addition, other groups are sometimes supported with the point 1 while replacing “Black” with something else
4) Whites, and the government, are responsible for fixing points 1 and 2.
Okay. Let’s assume this is true (to some extent, I think it is). Now, the government, and thus whites via proxy are going to compensate this to Blacks.
This compensations is called “affirmative action”, or “positive discrimination”. It is argued that it doesn’t hurt Whites as a group. This is strictly speaking true, depending on how one defines group.
Let me demonstrate this with an example (names via this (pardon the male-centredness, for the sake of example).
Now that the audience is led to believe that whites and the government are going to give something to blacks to compensate for past and present injustices, and this is exactly what the audience thinks they are seeing. Watch the process:
Jake, Connor, Tanner, Wyatt and Cody decide that they feel bad for treating DeShawn like crap , and decide to compensate this to DeShawn.
As a result, Fred who was in the closest competition with DeShawn loses his place to DeShawn.
DeShawn is happy, Jake, Connor, Tanner, Wyatt and Cody are happy, having shown their generous nature to each other and DeShawn. Only Fred is not happy.
Even if Fred agrees that DeShawn should be helped, but wonders what exactly Jake, Connor, Tanner, Wyatt and Cody gave up, and why should he be the only one who suffers, they can answer:
“Sorry Fred, we already did our part. We decided that DeShawn should get your place. Now shut up and don’t be so darn entitled.”
The fact that neither the government, Jake, Connor, Tanner, Wyatt or Cody haven’t actually given anything of their own is obscured in this process. The collective moral responsiblity — that is established in premises 1 and 2 — is externalized to inviduals who are then scapegoated for the whole process should they dare to complain.
The system is perfect. Only a tiny minority of whites have to actually give up something, while the vast majority of whites get to feel moral about it. And they also get to feel morally superior to the tiny minority who actually have to do something if they are not being “team players” about it.
Or, in leftspeak:
Anti-affirmative action lawsuits are not put forward by whites who would have gotten in to a selective college if only affirmative action didn’t exist. They’re put forward by whites who have such a strong sense of entitlement that they can’t admit they failed to gain admission because, on the merits, they didn’t deserve admission.
Add to this the fact that the cost is also externalized to Asians.
Added: In the surface, Affirmative Action is is about giving “points”. This is a smokescreen, the points can be adjusted just as needed. They are the acraba dabra of a magician. The only thing that changes hands in the real world are the college admissions of Fred (or Ling) and DeShawn.
[edited to make the thing clearer and addendums]
[fixed the allegory]