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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Let Them Abolish Affirmative Action and DEI: Black America Doesn’t Need It Anyway an OpEd by Kareem Jackson

As a proud Black American, I’m here to say what many of us have been thinking but perhaps hesitant to vocalize: it’s time to stop begging, to stop fighting, and let them abolish Affirmative Action and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

We do not need it anyway, right?
So, let’s prove it to them. And, let’s focus instead on reparations.

Let me unpack this…

Contrary to popular belief, these programs do not serve the best interests of the majority of Black Americans. Instead, they often benefit a select few while perpetuating harmful stereotypes; such as ‘the affirmative action hire’ and hindering our progress as a community

Let’s address the elephant in the room:

Black American privilege is real. Let me state it again, because it is worth repeating -Black American’s have privilege.

Especially for those of us with passports enabling international travel, we recognize the opportunities and advantages we possess. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that Affirmative Action and DEI programs do little to enhance this privilege. In fact, they often dilute the impact of our achievements by attributing them to tokenism rather than merit.

Moreover, the rise of “Woke Policies” has only exacerbated divisions within our society. While racism against Black Americans exists, so does their anti-White racism.

We hear you, white people.

We cannot ignore the fact that these policies often create a hostile environment where genuine progress is stifled by identity politics.

The recent promises from certain political circles to protect White Americans from “woke” policies highlight the need for change. While racism against White people may not have been widely acknowledged in the past, its existence cannot be denied any longer.

It’s time to move beyond divisive policies and focus on genuine equality for all’
The fact is, them acknowledging that racism (of any kind) does exist, and that there is black privilege, is a growth and a common ground we should accept.

“President Trump is committed to ‘weeding out’ ‘discriminatory programs’ and ‘racist ideology’ across the US Federal Government.” -Trump said, according to Steven Cheung, Spokesman for Trump

“All staff, offices, and initiatives connected to Biden’s un-American policy will be immediately terminated.” -Steven Cheung

Abolishing Affirmative Action and dismantling DEI initiatives may seem drastic to some, but it’s essential to understand the realities faced by Black Americans in the workforce. Many of us who have navigated these systems know firsthand the discrimination, hoops and tokenism that often accompany them. We’re tired of being overqualified and underpaid, serving as tokens in corporations and government offices that claim to promote diversity.

Instead of relying on handouts and token gestures, Black Americans deserve the opportunity to thrive on our own terms. Entrepreneurship offers a path to economic empowerment and self-sufficiency, allowing us to reinvest back into our own communities and families -remember them?

Reasons Black Americans May Benefit Without Affirmative Action and DEI:

  • The stigma of being an “Affirmative Action Hire” is detrimental to our professional reputations and advancement.
  • Black employees contribute trillions to organizations, yet often see little return on investment in terms of salary, economic empowerment or representation in leadership positions.
  • Minority-owned businesses are not synonymous with Black-owned businesses. Redirecting resources away from token diversity initiatives can empower ‘Black’ entrepreneurs to uplift our communities.
  • Black America is highly educated and a global community with untapped potential. Shifting focus away from fighting and begging for government handouts can unlock our true power and competitiveness.
  • Companies like the NBA and T-Mobile thrive because of the diverse communities they serve. Investing in Black success rather than token gestures benefits everyone.

Let’s talk about ‘the culture’ and its influence.

In a testament to the unifying power of Black American influence, artists like Beyoncé have demonstrated that they can bridge cultural divides and bring people together through their music -despite what the politics say.

Beyoncé’s recent foray into Country music with her album has resonated deeply across black and (country) white, as well as, diverse communities -around the world, transcending racial boundaries and proving that genuine connection can be achieved without the need for affirmative action or divisive policies. With both Black and White individuals embracing Country music and its associated fashion, it underscores the potential for Black Americans to succeed and inspire on their own merit, showcasing the strength of unity and cultural exchange.

With millions of both, Black and White individuals embracing Country music and its associated fashion, it underscores the potential for Black Americans to succeed and inspire on their own merit, showcasing the strength of unity and cultural exchange.

Additionally, with the launch of the “Cowboy Carter” album, Beyoncé’s immense inherent monetary value and the broader impact of Black culture on the Country music industry cannot be understated.
For every $1 single dollar Beyonce earns, the Country industry: music, fashion, tech, and overall American businesses adjacent to the industry, as well as, global influence, from YouTube to music download sites, all see an estimated return of around $100+, highlighting the significant economic boost that Black artists bring to industries beyond their own.
That being said: where is The Beyonce DEI campaign? Where is the Beyonce Affirmative Action Program, and was she sold out because of ‘privilege’ of some kind? Or, was it her God-given talent and immense training?
While some Black Americans, like Beyoncé, have transcended traditional industries to wield significant global influence, many others face systemic barriers within the US workplace.
Figures like Taraji P. Henson and Monique have spoken out about the challenges they’ve encountered in Hollywood, where Black actors and creators (typically ‘employees’ of the studio or producers, filing a 1099, and who pay up to 50% of their ‘life’ earnings in US taxes), they, often struggle to secure equitable opportunities and compensation for their talents.
Similarly, in corporate America, Black employees spend more on access, then frequently find themselves on lower salaries and receiving less recognition than their white counterparts. They also tend to pay the most in taxes as well, student loan debts, and usually cannot depend on the ‘corporate track’ to steady promotions and retirement.
This disparity is compounded in the digital realm, where Black influencers online often see their creativity and ideas appropriated by their white counterparts, who then profit from their work.

So, my question is, “What will me loose if they cancel DEI and Affirmative Action Programs?”

Once the blinding effects of American access and handouts fade, and more Black Americans recognize the community-based, and global opportunities available to them, particularly in countries like Africa and The Philippines, where they can experience the benefits of Black privilege while achieving success, it will inevitably, become evident that the traditional US workplace may not be worth begging for anymore.

Why not?

Because it does not always provide the opportunities and recognition Black Americans deserve.

In the name of transparency, and in the spirit of inclusivity, here are…

10 Negative effects that white America, corporate America, and beneficiaries of DEI and Affirmative Action may experience if Black professionals are not incentivized to leave the black community and pursue opportunities with them:

  1. Loss of diverse perspectives: Without Black professionals in their workforce, organizations risk losing valuable insights and perspectives that contribute to innovation and problem-solving.
  2. Decreased creativity and innovation: Black professionals often bring unique experiences and creativity to the table, fostering innovation within companies. Without their contributions, organizations may struggle to remain competitive in rapidly evolving markets.
  3. Damage to reputation and brand image: Companies that fail to promote diversity and inclusion may face backlash from consumers and stakeholders, leading to reputational damage and loss of trust.
  4. Reduced access to the Black consumer market: Black consumers wield significant purchasing power, and companies that lack diversity may struggle to effectively market their products and services to this demographic, resulting in missed revenue opportunities.
  5. Negative impact on company culture: A lack of diversity can lead to a homogenous company culture that stifles creativity and employee engagement. This can ultimately result in higher turnover rates and decreased morale among employees.
  6. Limited talent pool: By excluding Black professionals from their recruitment efforts, companies restrict their access to a diverse talent pool, potentially missing out on highly skilled individuals who could contribute to their success.
  7. Legal and regulatory risks: Failure to comply with diversity and inclusion regulations can result in legal and regulatory challenges for organizations, including discrimination lawsuits and penalties.
  8. Missed opportunities for growth and expansion: Black entrepreneurs and sole proprietors contribute to economic growth and job creation within their communities. By failing to support and engage with these businesses, companies miss out on potential partnership opportunities and access to new markets.
  9. Lack of cultural relevance: In an increasingly diverse and globalized world, companies that lack diversity may struggle to remain culturally relevant and responsive to the needs of diverse consumer groups.
  10. Continued perpetuation of systemic inequalities: By not actively promoting diversity and inclusion, companies perpetuate systemic inequalities that disadvantage Black professionals and hinder social progress.
  11. Empowerment of Black American women: You’re definitely going to miss this. And, when I write this, I am thinking of my own mother. As we have just passed through Black History Month and Women’s Month, I thought it only proper to talk specifically to black women.

Historically, Black women have made significant sacrifices, leaving their homes, husbands, families, and communities to enter the workforce and support their families. Their labor and dedication were often directed towards uplifting not only their own households but also the occasional white families they assisted.

However, the empowerment of the Black Woman, that was once predominantly focused on supporting the Black man, Black children. The Black Family, and the Black Legacy of family reunions and structure, has expanded to include Corporate America, and “work” or profession.

Did you know, that by prioritizing diversity and inclusion initiatives and creating opportunities for Black professionals; including but not limited to, our women, companies not only tapped into the talents and skills of this of our demographic, but also cut into to the empowerment of our Black American Women.

Investing in the success and advancement of Black women in the workforce not only benefited individual companies but also strengthen communities and promoted gender equality, ultimately leading to a more inclusive, diverse, and prosperous society for all.

Overall, incentivizing Black professionals to leave their communities, entrepreneurship, and work for corporations by competing for a few positions, which promised to prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives was not only beneficial for individual companies but also for society as a whole.

The US Economy at-large has grown 10X since ‘Integration and The Women’s Lib Era’ and to give you a visual, the US Economy before integration really set in, was the same size as the African Economy is right now.

In conclusion, abolishing Affirmative Action and DEI initiatives is not about denying the existence of racism or the challenges faced by us, Black Americans.

It’s about recognizing that true progress (for us) cannot be achieved through tokenism and divisive policies. However, we did our part.

The best of us, have built your organizations, we’ve proved ourselves, and now, it’s time for Black America to reclaim our power and chart our own path to success.

What are your thoughts?
This conversation is not over.

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