Some wise American once argued that our laws protecting freedom of speech do not extend to the individual who falsely yells “fire” in a crowded theater. Likewise, freedom of speech should not allow a group of black faculty members to yell “affirmative action” in a crowded, predominantly white, college faculty meeting. All hell might break loose.
The phrase “affirmative action” no longer refers to a specific public policy. Instead, it has become a proxy for the “race issue?’ Despite data showing that white women have been the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action, the controversy that surrounds it has everything to do with the conflict between white and black Americans. Depending on the context, the mention of affirmative action can spark discussions of black genetic inferiority, black criminals, the breakdown in the delivery of services (both private and public), reverse discrimination, and even reverse racism.
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