By: Rougi Toure, Outreach Coordinator
Although it is not Black History month anymore, the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. was on April 4th 1968. Recently our nation is filled with high racial tension due the presidential elections and the focus on police brutality directed at black populations. A movement aimed at promoting a multi lateral view of what is to be black in America emerged called Black Lives Matter. This national movement influenced college campus across the country to participate in a National Die In for the University of Denver. This took place at the Anderson Academic Commons. On Monday April 4th at 4 PM students and Faculties and community members all met up to partake in this event for a remembrance of not only Martin Luther King Jr. but also to remember Laquan McDonald a teenager in Chicago who was shot 16 times under 13 seconds. All this various factors gave me concern, where are the voices of those with African roots within Academia.
In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson introduced Affirmative action with his executive order 112246 , that was later signed by President John Kennedy, this aimed to eliminate discrimination when it comes to employment and education. It is very important to come to an understanding of this Myth from the Journal of Social Issues. Starting with the adoption of color blind policies for example the entrance examination “ Unless preexisting inequities are corrected or otherwise taken into account, color-blind policies do not correct racial injustice — they reinforce it.” High entrance exam scores are created to quantify and qualify the students’ levels, but it does not take into consideration various other skills a student may have. Those students from higher socio-economic backgrounds tend to have more advantages and they might be more prepared due to better educational opportunities and an environment in which they can flourish. Various studies have confirmed that affirmative action does not increase when controlling for female and minority representation. I believed initially a lot more minorities and females were employed.
Although this has increased, it is also important to look within the system. If hiring is only done at lower or higher positions within a company or organization,that can indicate a clearer picture. From the human rights perspective, it is important to understand that if a society is not ready to accept a human wrong as a wrong, the law can only go through a limited amount of change. The change has to be carried by society itself for it to be adopted and normalized.
Photo by: Dorret. Photo source here.