When at a large department store one night, I observed a small group of white teens who came in and walked past a security guard, who sat there without noticing. They were dressed in baggy jeans and had baseball caps on backward, and were a bit on the loud side. An African-American man came in shortly after and went to look at some merchandise. He was likely in his twenties and was dressed in casual business attire. I could not help but note that the security guard got up and followed him around the store, while ignoring the white teens who were roaming the store.
This scenario is something every minority student I have worked with can identify with firsthand. Is there really an even playing field out there, as those who want an end to all affirmative action/race-based programs like to claim? The actual evidence suggests there is not. It is probably better than the last generation had it, but there is obviously still racism, stereotyping, and so on in the real world. When someone suggests to me that any and all ‘preferential treatment’ towards minorities who are working hard is wrong, I typically respond that this is an ideal reality we need to shoot for…but until ‘preferential treatment’ for someone like George W. Bush, who was accepted into Yale with an academic record that is normally laughed at by their admissions office (and this happens on occasion for the children of the wealthy and powerful), I’ve got no problem with responsibly run programs trying to even society’s playing field.