Affirmaive action?

Janet Bryant jl_bryant at
Fri Mar 17 14:11:54 EST 1995

In article <37787.emklann at>, emklann at MARLIN.BIO.UMASS.EDU ("Ellen M. Klann") says:
>I am pondering the future of affirmative action for women...snip....
>I have always had mixed feelings about affirmative action for women.  On one
>hand it has allowed more women to achieve faculty positions, particularly in
>circumstances where they were "married to the location".  On the other hand
>I have noticed these women tend to have a much harder time than a normal
>hire because they are often not what the majority of the department wanted.
>This lack of support makes their obtaining tenure more difficult because
>there are those in power who want them to fail.
>As for myself, I always want to think that I got the job because I was the
>best person for the job and that the department wants me to succeed.  With
>affirmative action, even if you are the best person for the position it will
>always be suggested that you were not.  On the other hand, I do believe that
>being a woman has slowed by progress in male-dominated science.  I really
>want a job and maybe I deserve a boost up to redress the gender related
>problems I have encountered.
>What do other people (both genders welcome) think on this timely question?
>Are women in general comfortable with affirmative action?  When jobs are so
>scarce, do men harbor a deep seated resentment that to this point has been
>"politically incorrect"?  Is affirmative action for women a out-moded or ill
>concieved concept, or is it a continuing necessity?  Where do we go from
Thought-provoking, Ellen.  Thanks.

Here's my 2 cents.  Affirmative action is not fair.  period.  Any system that
affords someone opportunities that they don't deserve, is unfair.  HOWEVER,
I believe we can cut out programs designed to make the "equal opportunity
pendulum" swing more toward center (dare I say, equilibrium) when and
ONLY WHEN that balance is achieved.

What I mean by that is, when it will NOT be possible for a white male to
get a job he is unqualified for.  When 2 people, with equal credentials,
credit ratings, jobs, are not equally treated when applying for a mortgage
because one is "plaid" (insert color and/or ethnicity here)  and one is white;
THEN and only then can we give up our efforts for equality.

It's taken 200 years in this country for white males to become and maintain
a strong-hold as the "king of the hill"; why do we think it should take only
25 years to get them to give up their dominant position and embrace
a "fairness" and equality doctrine?   Yeah, right.

One last reminder:  it took 72 years for the women's suffrage movement
in this country to get the momentum and strength and support it needed
to ratify the 19th Amendment.  And it almost failed even then.

It's been 75 years since women won that right in this country.  Has
time dulled our sense of importance of equality because we now have tasted
aspects of "top-dog" and we're afraid of losing our hard-fought-for "specialness"?
(small aspects though they may be....) We cannot afford to stand for
discrimination - period.  And lest we get complacent, 
we need to remind ourselves again and again.

Gee:  maybe I should be wearing a purple sash just like they did
75 years ago..... ;-)

regards.  and peace.

Janet L. Bryant
jl_bryant at
Disclaimer: opinions are those of the author; NOT my company
(...imagine: the company typing its own memo.....)

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