Affirmative Action Has Helped White Women More Than Anyone

Their successes make the case not for abandoning affirmative action but for continuing it

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Abigail Fisher speaks to the media after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in her case in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 10

In the coming days, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule in a potentially landmark case on the constitutionality of affirmative action. The original lawsuit was filed on behalf of Abigail Fisher, a woman who claims that she was denied admission to the University of Texas because she is white. But study after study shows that affirmative action helps white women as much or even more than it helps men and women of color. Ironically, Fisher is exactly the kind of person affirmative action helps the most in America today.

Originally, women weren’t even included in legislation attempting to level the playing field in education and employment. The first affirmative-action measure in America was an executive order signed by President Kennedy in 1961 requiring that federal contractors “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” In 1967, President Johnson amended this, and a subsequent measure included sex, recognizing that women also faced many discriminatory barriers and hurdles to equal opportunity. Meanwhile, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 only included sex in the list of prohibited forms of discrimination because conservative opponents of the legislation hoped that including it would sway moderate members of Congress to withdraw their support for the bill. Still, in a nation where white women and black people were once considered property — not allowed to own property themselves and not allowed to vote — it was clear to all those who were seeking fairness and opportunity that both groups faced monumental obstacles.

(MORE: Touré: Why We Still Need Affirmative Action)

While people of color, individually and as groups, have been helped by affirmative action in the subsequent years, data and studies suggest women — white women in particular — have benefited disproportionately. According to one study, in 1995, 6 million women, the majority of whom were white, had jobs they wouldn’t have otherwise held but for affirmative action.

Another study shows that women made greater gains in employment at companies that do business with the federal government, which are therefore subject to federal affirmative-action requirements, than in other companies — with female employment rising 15.2% at federal contractors but only 2.2% elsewhere. And the women working for federal-contractor companies also held higher positions and were paid better.

Even in the private sector, the advancements of white women eclipse those of people of color. After IBM established its own affirmative-action program, the numbers of women in management positions more than tripled in less than 10 years. Data from subsequent years show that the number of executives of color at IBM also grew, but not nearly at the same rate.

(MORE: Eric Liu: What Asian Americans Reveal About Affirmative Action)

The successes of white women make a case not for abandoning affirmative action but for continuing it. As the numbers in the Senate and the Fortune 500 show, women still face barriers to equal participation in leadership roles. Of course, the case for continuing affirmative action for people of color is even greater. The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households. Researchers found that the same résumé for the same job application will get twice as many callbacks for interviews if the name on the résumé is Greg instead of Jamal. School districts spend more on predominantly white schools than predominantly black schools. The fact that black workers earn, on average, 35% less than white workers in the same job isn’t erased by the election of an African-American President — one who, by the way, openly praises the role of affirmative action in his life and accomplishments.

As for Fisher, there is ample evidence that she just wasn’t qualified to get into the University of Texas. After all, her grades weren’t that great, and the year she applied for the university, admissions there were actually more competitive than Harvard’s. In its court filings, the university has pointed out that even if Fisher received a point for race, she still wouldn’t have met the threshold for admissions. Yes, it is true that in the same year, the University of Texas made exceptions and admitted some students with lower grades and test scores than Fisher. Five of those students were black or Latino. Forty-two were white.

MORE: Heather Mac Donald: How Affirmative Action Backfires at Universities

156 comments
BeamerBeamer
BeamerBeamer

Of course white folks hate AA.  First of all you cry about black folks are lazy, ignorant, don't want to do anything.  WE go to dilapidated schools with failing curriculum, because of poverty, drug wars and no tax base.  No problem building prisons for us, but education, no that is reverse discrimination.  Then you claim black people aren't smart enough so the scores are lowered.  Here is the thing, white people 2.5 times more likely to get the job over a black person any day of the week with equal skills. To tell the truth, AA actually helped white men in the construction business.  White men would just let their wives open up the business and they still reaped all of the benefits.  You people crying about AA, look around your workforce, do you see black people outnumbering whites?  So freaking hateful, as long as black people are jailed and in poverty you are happy, you think well that is their nature, but let us try to make progress, you think we are stepping on your toes. SMH

ChristopherBuchholz
ChristopherBuchholz

To everyone saying Affirmative Action is bad for people because it undermines "merit" : We white males already are born with advantages that we did not merit. Not only that, but wealthier children are born with advantages that they did not merit. So are you willing to put your money where your mouth is and take those advantages away? 


Make school equal for everyone regardless of whether their parents live in a wealthy suburb or in the city, or in a rural area? Make sure punishments are the same, and end black children being suspended 3 times as much for the SAME offenses? Or give children everywhere equal healthcare no matter what kind of job the parents have? Or how about the same level of stress, that has been proven to cause problems with IQ and behavior in children? Or are you willing to pay to remove lead paint from cities, which is a huge problem and causes IQ and violent behavior? For instance, 7% of children in Baltimore have lead poisoning. Most cities are the same. 


This does not even count the fact that black people get worse home loan rates than whites even with the exact same credit ratings. Worse auto loan rates, higher costs. That is several hundred more dollars a middle class white family has to spend on their children every month, that a black family does not have. Again, another unmerited benefit many white children enjoy.


After all, if we want merit, we have to make sure ALL children start on an equal footing. Anything less is giving some children unmerited benefits they did not earn.


Because if you really believe rewards should be based on merit only, then you are advocating for a shocking upheaval of society even more than affirmative action calls for. In short, people who TRULY believe in merit and "equal opportunity not equal results", want even MORE spending to help others in need.

Paul.Revere
Paul.Revere

Affirmative Action is discrimination.  Considering race, sex or religion should be outlawed. Giving anyone an advantage based on anything other than merit violates equal protection.   We see time and time again, unqualified/less qualified minorities, women and others receiving admission, jobs and preferential treatment because of quotas or preference points.


This system devalues the people of color and women who rightfully earned a place in a school class or in a company because others will, even if subconsciously, think they are just there because of some preferential status.  It also devalues them as a person, to say you need the rules for admission made easier because otherwise you just can't compete without help.  Sad to say so many people are more than willing to say, "yes give me a hand because I don't think I can do it on my own."   They should have more pride and say, just give me an equal chance and I can prove I deserve to be here.


My view is that it corrodes their ambition and ability to believe in themselves, it is a self defeating cycle.  They (minorities and women) will always be lesser individuals in their own mind as well as the minds of the white males who have been subjected to reverse discrimination until they learn to stand on their own two feet and stop taking handouts.

BeamerBeamer
BeamerBeamer

@Paul.Revere Wow you poor oppressed white men.  When I look around in the work force white men are everywhere from the rooty to the tooty.  I guess if you can't have it all, its robbery.

BeachActor
BeachActor

What Sally Kohn missed in her article is the UC system of colleges in California is actually Aiding admission by giving Blacks 150 SAT points just to get into the school. They award Latinos 50 points and they actually subtract 50 points from Asians SAT scores since they do so well. Whites scores stay the same. affirmative action at its best

NolanDrazin
NolanDrazin

In response to the question: We do not need affirmative action programs and longer, nor did we ever. Affirmative action programs have the set idea and belief that minorities and women should be given easy acceptance into fields of education as well as to jobs. This goes against everything about racial equality and/or equality in general.


To start with education, primarily college. Colleges are difficult to get into, despite any race or ethnic background. They require good grades, good time management, and plainly, a good personality. According to the Washington Post, "there are about 350 schools that turn down more than half of their applicants [each year]." These applications are not just from blacks or other minorities, they are from whites and other 'privileged' groups as well.


The idea to make it easier for minority or underprivileged groups to get into college, much of whom do not have these good aspects, is plainly absurd and unequal racially. If someone does not have good grades etc... why should the college be forced to accept them? This will only damage the college and its reputation of how good it is with it being forced to accept bad students.


The Civil Rights movement clearly preached the message that one should not be judged or discriminated  based on their "race, color or national origin." (NCSL.org) By taking pity on minorities so much so that they are being given easy and unfair access to education, primarily that of college, the overall Affirmative action program is racist.


Many may say that the reason that we need Affirmative action is due to many minorities not having the opportunity or chance to get higher education or a job; but this is simply wrong.


Scholarships and other means of getting into college should be given based on merit or financial help. Regardless of opportunities, people need to prove that they can do well (i.e. in high school) in order to get one for college, even if it is for financial aid. The pure idea of giving minorities easier access to college is absurd when many non minority groups have to work even harder to get into college due to it.


In conclusion, Affirmative Action groups violate the Civil Rights movement; the very movement that they have chosen to use as their basis for ideas and reasoning. They are favoring minorities over all other races and/or ethnic groups, which directly goes against article VI of the Civil Rights act. We are all supposed to have equal opportunity, unlawful 'assisting' to do so is not in truth, equal. This is why we do not need Affirmative action programs today, nor did we ever need them.

EphraimGabriel
EphraimGabriel

So easy to say that now that white women got most of the benefits then your righteous speech completely negates the outright policies that made sure the system from jobs to assets etc. Only benefited whites and specifically excluded blacks who the whole program was actually designed to help. I am for getting rid of affirmative action as a black male. Why? Because it helped mostly white women.

Paul.Revere
Paul.Revere

@NolanDrazin Thank God someone finally gets it.  Your words were directly on point.  The nature of Affirmative Action as it is today is by its very nature is discrimination.  Race and gender should be omitted from the applications and random numbers assigned to each applicant to prevent these types of biases from creeping into the process.  The days of minorities and women getting a "leg up" is ruining the education system and the American economy as well.  


I am fine if they can gain admission on their own or get a job because they are the best candidate, but to say they should receive preferential treatment is racist or sexist or both.  Further, it violates equal protection under the law.

EphraimGabriel
EphraimGabriel

How convenient that now that we see that it helped white women you want to call it racist??? As a black male I am for getting rid of affirmative action because it helped white women the most not the group it was intended to help which was blacks. I also laugh at how you sugar coat centuries of rasict policies specifically aimed at keeping whites with all the wealth and blacks to help produce that wealth while denying blacks any share in that wealth. Your comment is so bogus. Yea get rid of affirmative action I agree it just amazes how you can make it seem racist when your women got most of the benefits in the 1st place and I mean the vast majority of the benefits. Wow just wow your disconnect from reality is mind boggoling.

BeamerBeamer
BeamerBeamer

@Paul.Revere @NolanDrazin Wow, Black people getting a leg up is  ruining education system and the American economy?  I thought white folks ruined the American economy.  

zcasavant
zcasavant

20 times more, really?  I question that number..... where did this article acquire these numbers?  I think online articles should be required to cite sources, or at least a link for that.

But anyway, seriously, I cannot tell you the number of times I've seen a young black woman at my school and wondered "Do you really deserve to be here, or did you AA your way in?" - and I CAN'T be the only one thinking this!  I try not to think thoughts like this, but it is basically impossible now.  Affirmative Action causes more harm than good.  And how could it not?  It's racism and sexism!  There is NO REASON to consider race or gender in admissions, if merit and need are considered instead.  If someone is poor, they'll get aid based on need, not race.  If their whole race is poor, guess what?  They'll all get scholarships! Punishing or rewarding the college students of today's world for centuries-old treatment of other races is wrong.  And taking from-the-top statistics and applying them to individuals is wrong.  I cannot believe Affirmative Action still EXISTS in today's progressive world.  How is it even still a thing??

Clearly, there haven't been enough lawsuits yet.... the pot needs to be stirred up a LOT more.  The Supreme Court just made a favorable ruling, however, and several states have banned it, so we are progressing a little.  But not enough.  I think disgruntled people need to know where to START to make change.  There are enough people opposing it (millions and millions), I think just a little direction is needed.

bcgeorge
bcgeorge

@zcasavant Consider the demographic make up of the people making the decisions, whether it is for hiring or admissions to a university. Undeniably, the majority of the people making such decisions are white people. Now consider this: subconscious biases. Yes, they are real, and people's actions are influenced by them. 

On the same token, people's decisions are also influenced by such biases. After all, why do such economic gaps exists between blacks and whites in this country? Conventional wisdom would state that blacks are lazy, that don't work hard enough, that they are inferior intellectually, therefore, making them less qualified to begin with. However, if blacks are lazy, then why enslave them in the first place? Why devote time and resources into forcing a population of people to work for you -- involuntarily, of course -- if they aren't hard workers? 

And regarding black intellectualism, it's hard for a person to become intellectual if they are denied simple privileges such as formal education and literacy. After all, the sole purpose of denying these privileges to a group of people in the first place is the fear that they could effectively change their place in society once they acquire the knowledge. Now why would such a fear exist if a group is supposedly intellectually inferior anyway?


What also needs to be discussed is that not every African-American is the beneficiary of affirmative action. I'm married. I'm a homeowner. I'm a college graduate. I'm a veteran and former school teacher. I have manage to accomplish most of the goals that I set for myself when I was a little boy. To my knowledge, however, I have never received any sort of affirmative action. Conversely, I have been denied many opportunities because I'm black despite the many challenges I had to overcome to achieve basic American goals. Should I not be considered more qualified for opportunities because I had to endure more just to accomplish the same as the next man?

yvimitel
yvimitel

@zcasavant BUT, I am sure you are the first to say" I'm not a racist", stop playing the race card!, and it is people like you that keep perpetrating the racism, lies and discrimination.  If this is your mindset that everytime you see a african american in a good school or position you think "Afrimative Action", I 'm sure it affect your hiring decision if you are in a position of managment, doesn't it? 


Well, I hope you are not a white woman because we all now know how you got there...and if you are a white male, then we are all familiar with the "old boys network". 


No...we don't all get scholarships- that is a lie...my brother paid 52k a year for my neice college but guess what, whites get scholarships based on financial need. and what difference does it make to you- how people pay their college tutition. Hopefully, you didn't get it because you knew someone or your family was an alumni- is there a difference- absolutely not!  How many of you took our spots in college because you had family that attended, or your a neighbor. 


What is sad is that many whites tell me they have NEVER gotten a job without knowing someone that took their resume to hiring managers desk. How many blacks have that opportunity- but yet you want to spew hate about being handed opportunties, benefits, and affirmative action.  SMH....your weakness and insecurity is so sad.


I dont have time to address your centuries-old treatment of racism- especially since just 50 years ago, blacks could not vote and had to attend seperate schools and couldn't eat or use the same bathrooms as whites.  Economically , your race due to greed and pure evilness put us back as a race. The monies our grandfathers, and great grandfathers could have used to save (like your ancestors did with free labor) could have went to building a better future and legacy for blacks. And when we did build up, our houses and businessess were burned down -not only by Klansmen but your family members who hated blacks so much they did not want them to even own property or businessess. 


Please- educate yourself, pray and stop continuing the hate and ignorance known as racism.

jbezzyS7ven
jbezzyS7ven

@zcasavant with statements like the one you just made. I would look at you in a class room and wonder how you got in.. "Today's progressive world" you are clearly in denial..

jbezzyS7ven
jbezzyS7ven

@zcasavant "In today's progressive world" the article is not about the world sir..It''s about policy's in America, I wonder how you got into college

dsteel53
dsteel53

@yvimitel @zcasavant 

" just 50 years ago, blacks could not vote"


The 15th Amendment, granting African-American men the right to vote, was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution on March 30, 1870.


" (like your ancestors did with free labor)"  You act like all white people owned slaves and exploited blacks in the past.  Only a tiny percentage of Southern whites were plantation owners with slaves.  99.9% of poor whites back then were dirt farmers and bonded servants.  Also, many freed slaves owned slaves in the Old South.


Your the one who needs to educate themselves.

Killer_of_Kings
Killer_of_Kings

@dsteel53  Yes 15th amendment gave the right to vote in 1870 but The Voting RightsAct, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnsonon August 6, 1965, aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that preventedAfrican Americansfrom exercising theirright to voteunder the 15th Amendment (1870) to the Constitution of the United States. 

So if we already had constitutional rights, Why did President Johnson have to sign the Voting Rights Act? Simple, states in the south would use poll tax, Impossible literacy test, guess the number of beans in the jar, or State troopers and KKK to keep minorities from voting. 


I don't blame you for not knowing that. Most public school education of civil rights is only given on the shortest day of the year and talk about slaves. 

mkrause54
mkrause54

The statistics might be misleading too. Many Arabs, Hispanics and Asians consider themselves 'White' on job forms. Even women from Pakistan & India perceive themselves as 'white' due to caste system ethnic identification in their countries of origin. Federal contractors may have embellished their statistics to present some brown women as white high level employees. Federal contractors also may have used the resumes of white women to apply for funding, but these women may not have been actually hired or only paid for a short time after the grant was approved.

ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross
ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross

@mkrause54  and your point...to make it seem...that white women have not in fact...been the greatest benefactors of affirmative action


and believe it or not...the second largest group to have benefitted from federal affirmative action programs...are those who received the affirmative hiring............here is where the 2nd largest group got their affirmative action benefit...white men through that special social benefit...known as the GI Bill 

jbezzyS7ven
jbezzyS7ven

@ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross And land grabs in the 1800"s "just show up and claim it" clearly that had nothing to do with working for it. The only qualification needed, be a white male.. Oh the GI bill created after WW2 only allowed whites to take advantage of it"s benefits. although minorities also served in the war..

mimenteinquisitiva
mimenteinquisitiva

Way to make a TOTALLY BS point using 19yo data sets! Any idiot that believes this needs to look up some current numbers SMH...

yvimitel
yvimitel

@mimenteinquisitiva I work in HR and it is true...why do you think all of these white women are in middle and upper management in the last fifteen years....any corporation you will see more white in managment than men.  also, look at all of the white women sportscasters.  Of course, you don't want to believe this because it messes with all of the racist hate and lies many have been spewing about blacks. 


Most black people know this and since there are more whites in HR , they know it too but of course, they would rather keep quiet on this.  LOL...




yvimitel
yvimitel

@mimenteinquisitiva no- just educate yourself- this is not the only article- it is facts. The statistics are true. I worked in HR...companies had hiring quotas for white women because they piggybacked on the "minority" status. Look at your company- why do you think there are soooo many whit women in the last 15 years in mangement roles- more than men...but yet they are supposed to be minorities.  


This society has always been set up to benefit whites- so just continue to enjoy white priviledge while you can.

SandyReis
SandyReis

What I see is minority, men and women going to college or improving their lives through other ways and marrying white people, paying their white bills in the white suburbs and it all benefits white people in the long term. Jewish people also benefit from this more than any other minority group and they are the only minority group with so much economical power and they are racist to minorities and to white people. Minorities-especially women of color-get very little out of all of this. Maybe asians get special treatment due to being the favorites. 

ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross
ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross

@SandyReis  you are speaking in the same terms...with the same tone...as others...so intent on doing you harm


it is not attractive or truthful when they say it...and nether is it when you do

JaniceMarquis
JaniceMarquis

I am a white educated woman in canada. I have not be able to find employment for 3 years now in ottawa. The reason I am having such a hard time is affirmative action programs. They will not hire a white woman who is born in this country and speaks english. There is french superiority and minority over me. They do not have to be qualified to get any positions, that is why our government is a mess.

mkrause54
mkrause54

@JaniceMarquis Similar problems occur in the US. Office workers may be hired instead of qualified professionals who earned their own degrees to make their contracts more profitable for the successful grant applicants.

ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross
ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross

@mkrause54  and that is a affirmative action program designed to benefit those already employed by them...a tool used by most US employers...to hire from within


not to be surprised...to current employee benefit...has been a benefit...mostly enjoyed by white Americans

JaniceMarquis
JaniceMarquis

@mapaxn  He hates all whites! Funny thing is that he is jewish. He would not eve be here if my uncle did not fight against the nazis and win in WW2!

ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross
ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross

@mapaxn  and you are correct...the affirmative action  programs since 1964 that have benefitted first and foremost white women...have closed the gap somewhat...but not yet all the way


but if we speak to women as we speak to black folk......time for them to get over...their victimization...and following the lead of those...sex hustlers...who earn their living...pushing discriminatory women's issues


but that we will never do...as the prime beneficiary of these programs...are the families of these white American women

sr22
sr22

@mapaxn Lol good one, No way anyone could seriously post the old and busted pay gap myth with a straight face these days, I love your sarcasm!

RealManAllen
RealManAllen

The Equal Pay (1963), Title 7 (1964), Title 9 (1972), Voc. Rehab. Act (1973), Pregnancy Discrimination Act (1978), and the Family Medical Leave Act (1993) are but a FEW examples that prove who the REAL beneficiaries of Affirmative Action were. White American women. And let's even BEGIN to touch on the Progressive Maternalist Reform laws that even predate the Civil Rights Movement. That's a WHOLE OTHER story in and of itself.

CliftonRichard
CliftonRichard

How ironic,that one of the most privileged & entitled groups in American society are the ones whom benefit more so than the perceived "minority" connotation associated with it. The Caucasian man basically pulled a bait & switch by giving the benefits to his,woman. Bamboozled indeed.

jmarquis59
jmarquis59

I really get a kick out of these feminists who sit high on their golden chair and do not have a clue about the real world around them and what people are really going through.

jmarquis59
jmarquis59

Next time I eat at a food bank I will recall this article that white women have privilege!! Funny its only white and natives in food banks you dont see many immigrants!!

jmarquis59
jmarquis59

35 years of slow destruction to my country canada by the Liberal policies that have indebted our nation. We have to stop giving free townhomes to people from africa and focus on helping canadian born!

ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross
ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross

@jmarquis59  certain those people from Africa...are responsible for everything wrong in the country...but then the real Native Canadians...just might say...all was good...until those white folks arrived...and where given a subside...to the whole damn country

jmarquis59
jmarquis59

I am a white woman in canada. Canada has a smaller population but we have the highest immigration from the 3rd world countries for no known reason. Now whites are not being hired. In fact if you are white and only speak english you are no longer allowed to apply for a federal government job or a provincial government job. There are now some minorities at the million mark and they still have this stuipid quota. I have worked since I was 15 and have been out of work for 2. 5 years in the capital due to affirmative action quotas and french requirements to read and write in french in all jobs. I have been living in rooms in ottawa and I am low income for the past few years when I am highly skilled. Its very unfair that minorities alot who have only been in canada  a few years get preference over someone like me. I grew up middle class and my family has been here for 400 years.

jbezzyS7ven
jbezzyS7ven

@jmarquis59 The natives of Canada wold laugh at what you perceive to be a long time, 400yrs..

ahnonever
ahnonever

Affirmative action is organized racism against white people  destroying the race.  This author, Sally, is mentally retarded.  Affirmative action has benefited most all above white women by stomping out their men - the fathers, brothers uncles and other protectors- and pitted stupid white men against women to boot because men believe this garbage. .Anyone with a brain knows if you stomp out and down the white man, that automatically takes the power from white women by default.        The white race is dwindling because of affirmative action.  The lie about white households being 20 times more wealthy than black takes the cake.  All out of cake. 

jmarquis59
jmarquis59

@ahnonever Your right I dont believe that 20 times the wealth bull either. Now if you are talking about jewish that may hold true!

jmarquis59
jmarquis59

@ahnonever To these blacks who complain, I suggest go live in CHINA, INDIA, Saudi Arabia and tell me what they give you and how they treat you and see if they hire you for any job at all or if u get social assistance that a white western nation will give you! Its only western nations that help minorities, yet there are many asian nations who are richer than we are and they dont let any immigrants in their nations!!

ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross
ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross

@ahnonever  maybe you are not white...and that explains why your income is lower than blacks...or maybe...you just have issues...that keep you from making it on your own

JaniceMarquis
JaniceMarquis

@ArmondBellamarBarboza-Ross @jmarquis59 @ahnonever They don't want us to go back. It was us and them and that is all we wanted here. Anyway they get millions of free dollars from out taxes. Every native kid by age 18 gets 1800 a month plus they do not pay any taxes. Also white people built this nation, minorities did not.