The problem with affirmative action is that it has such an ephemeral quality--it is very hard to measure equality of opportunity in any tangible way. The only way to measure equality of opportunity is through equality of outcome. Conservatives say we shouldn't measure equality of opportunity through equality of outcome because it negates the merits of individuals and focuses on race instead. But to go with this line of reasoning, when looking at the preponderance of white men in the work force, is to assume that minorities don't earn high positions in the work force simply because they are not qualified. But then one must assume that there is a huge crop of minority applicants who are simply not qualified for the job, and that is just not true.
There are just as many minorities--Hispanics, women, African-Americans and Native Americans--who are as qualified if not more qualified than many of their white male competitors. And to those conservatives who say affirmative action is reverse discrimination against white men, I would rather see reverse discrimination that is helping a minority of the population than the blatant or implicit discrimination which affirmative action is trying to overcome. There are many minorities who have been helped by affirmative action, including me, based on their merits and not on their race. Racial prejudice and dicrimination still exist, and until we can visually measure affirmative action, those programs that help minorities need to stay in place. Marriah Star '98