NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Affirmative Action Policies Breed Resentment

September 19, 2000

Diversity and inclusion may be the political wave of the future, but middle-income, working-class whites are still 55 percent of the electorate. The political importance of this group has been emphasized anew by social scientists Ruy Teixeira and Joel Rogers, authors of "The Forgotten Majority: Why the White Working Class Still Matters."

  • Most of the forgotten majority have some college education, but they usually lack degrees.
  • They have low-level, white-collar and service-sector jobs, and their household incomes are between $15,000 and $75,000.
  • They value individual effort, opportunity, hard work and family responsibilities, but for the past 25 years they have stagnated economically.

Men in this group particularly resent real or perceived reverse discrimination due to affirmative action. And they are getting charges of reverse discrimination heard, believed and vindicated in court.

  • Most recently, a Fresno jury awarded $4 million to three white California State University police officers who claimed they'd lost promotions or jobs because they were white males.
  • Last year, a San Francisco jury awarded $2.7 million to a white part-time instructor at San Francisco State University who claimed he'd been denied a full-time tenure-track slot because of his race.
  • There are more reverse discrimination cases in the pipeline, including the University of Michigan's defense of preferential student admissions based on the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1978 Bakke case.

Preferences strike at the economic and ideological ideals of forgotten Americans who live from paycheck to paycheck. In some cases, employment test scores have been artificially lowered through banding (whereby test scores are treated equally within a broad numerical band, such as 80-100) or the officially outlawed race norming (in which an individual's raw test scores are compared only to others of the same ethnicity).

Source: Frederick R. Lynch (Claremont McKenna College), "Rainbow Rhetoric Does Nothing for the Forgotten Majority," Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2000.


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