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Think. Discuss. Act. Affirmative Action

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Review: Black-White Divide Appears to Be Widening

Fulwood, S. (1994, October 11). Black-white Divide Appears to be Widening.Los Angeles Times.


(Download Black-white Divide overview as a PDF)

The main point of the article review is that, as years progress, more white Americans are dissatisfied with programs that encourage social equality and are “politically correct.” Based on author’s assessment, “Americans are rebelling against political correctness.” This may be happening because white Americans-especially male-feel that these programs are a social injustice, since they do not receive any aid from the government, while minority group members do. In other words, white male Americans feel reverse discrimination.

Still, feelings often differ from facts. Based on statistics, blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be in poverty than whites. See the below table about the percentages of people in poverty.


Typical family

Family with female household, without spouse.

Percentage of all poor related children living in families, with female household.

All Races
















Based on census data, there are clearly more Hispanics and blacks living in poverty than whites. Since more minority people are in poverty, larger percentages of minorities are in welfare programs.

Social equality and political correctness are indeed different from poverty. However, because we live in a capitalist society, self-esteem and career opportunities are based on one’s socio-economic background. If one is poor, he or she is less likely to be educated and treated with social equality. Therefore, helping people through public policy and welfare is acceptable.

The government does not discriminate against whites, since whites also receive government aid. Just because more black and Hispanic people are aided by the government does not mean that attempts for social equality work to the detriment of whites. It is simply the government’s attempt to reduce the number of people in poverty.

The survey also indicates that white Americans believe that equal rights have been extended too far for minorities. However, this response may be an indication that racism is deeply embedded in American culture: that when whites see blacks receiving social justice, it seems like an injustice to whites.

Questions for Reflections and Discussion

  1. How do you respond to this article? What do you think should be the government’s role in attempting to aid those in poverty?
  2. How should concerned individuals address social equality, racism, justice, and socio-economical difficulties among different ethnic groups? Should the government be expected to solve the problem? If not, what else can be done?
  3. What can be done to educate and advocate for minorities, so that they can receive proper education? Is education the only way to eliminate their poverty? What about political power? What can be done to improve the economic situation of blacks and Hispanics?
  4. How deeply is racism embedded in our society? What can be done?
  5. What amount of support is enough? How is “equality” defined? What will it take for different ethnic group members to all feel “equal”? Is this a good, reasonable goal?

Suh Y. Yoon
© 2018 CYS

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