As happens, some of my essay on affirmative action and women ended up on the cutting room floor. So I thought I’d share with you the paragraphs that weren’t included, which I offer here as an important coda to the essay:
We live in a nation actively shaped by history, much of it beautiful but some of it shameful. The deep and dark legacies of explicit, legal discrimination against women and people of color still leave a mark today, continuing to stain our economy, our politics and our society with bias. The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households.
Researchers found that the exact same resume for the exact same job application will get twice as many call-backs for interviews if the name on the resume 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 jobs isn’t erased by the election of an African American president. Just as electing a female president wouldn’t change the fact that women earn just $0.77 for every dollar earned by men.
Unequal opportunity is baked into the arc of American history — for white women and women of color and black men and many other groups. Addressing that inequality, creating true opportunity and prosperity for all, requires more than passivity and patience. It requires affirmative action. Affirmative action not only helps fulfill the vision of equality about which our founding fathers could only hypothesize, but it helps all of us, including Abigail Fisher and all white women, whether we know it or not.