So the other day I was doing an interview for a students final year project and the topic of ‘positive discrimination’ or ‘affirmative action’ came up.
This is something I think about so often yet I still struggle with where I stand on the matter so I thought I’d do a quick post on it and share my views as of right now.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that companies have to employ a certain amount of BME/disabled/womens/lgbt etc staff etc and I understand that it’s crucial in terms of representation. However… because I know that such schemes exist and that schools/universities etc have to have a certain proportion of PoC I can’t help but always wonder if I actually deserve to be there. If I was selected on my own merits or to just fill a quota.
I also often feel like this narrow margin by such liberation groups have opportunities to get in in the means they have to compete against one another. This is problematic ij itself because I feel as tjough it can lead to a false sense of superiority amongst those who ‘make it’ and create further conflict.
But, then I also realise that even if it was just to fill the quota or a intra-racial competition, the fact that my brown, headscarf-clad face and Asian name ‘made it’ my be all that it take so make others who look like me apply for a similar position in the future. It’s a long-term process but if I can help inspire more and more people like me to apply for the uni/job/placement or whatever it is then the growing number of BME applications every year will mean that eventually someone will get there on their own merits. If it means that by being there as the token PoC, I helped pave the way for more PoC to come, then for now, maybe that’s all we need?
However, the fact that we still need such schemes in a supposed ‘post-racial’ speaks volumes in itself…
I’m going to leave they for now because I’m still unsure of how I feel about the whole thing but feel free to add anything or share your views in the comments!