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Terry Eastland, ENDING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, Basic Books. 1996

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Rachael Miller <remille@ilstu.edu> ENDING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION (Rachael Miller)
"Erik S. Weidner" <esweidn@ilstu.edu> Ending Affirmative Action

Date: Tue, 04 Mar 1997 16:35:16 -0800
From: Rachael Miller <remille@ilstu.edu>

Terry Eastland, ENDING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, Basic Book. 1996
Review By: Rachael Miller

"I have a dream that my four children will live in a nation where they will
not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their
character". Throughout this book this quote by Martin Luther King and the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, are used as evidenced that affirmative action is
creating un equality. The main point of this book is took evaluate the
current problems with affirmative action and try to find solutions that
would create a better program. The current affirmative action program
promotes adding points onto the test scores of women and minorities. It
also promotes establishing quotas for jobs in order to diversify the work
place. Those people immigrating into this country, that were not initially
included in the framework of affirmative action, are also receiving the
benefits of selective hiring. This book declares affirmative action to be
outdated. Eastland feels that the program has become to broad and is
promoting the one thing it was established to eliminate, discrimination

The problem is personalized right from the beginning with stories and names
of people who have felt the reverse effect affirmative action has. First
the reader meets Danny O'Connor. Danny has been a outstanding Memphis
police officer since 1975. In 1988 he decided to try for a promotion to
sergeant. His chances looked promising, out of 75 promotions that were
allowed to given, he was ranked fifty-sixth. However, once the police
force had taken into consideration race 26 blacks were placed on the list,
19 of which had lower scores than Danny. Well Danny tried year after year
with the same result, missing out on his chance at promotion because of
affirmative action. cheryl Hopwood is another example of how standards are
lowered in order to enact affirmative action. Cheryl was a good student
with a gpa of 3.8 out of 4.0 and LSAT score of 39 out of a possible 48

She was certain that she who be admitted into the University of Texas law
school. She was denied admittance into the school. She later found that
15% of the 500 seats were reserved for minorities. Taking her gpa and LSAT
score into account they placed her overall score at 199. The law school
admitted all the minorities the had scores of 185 or more lowering her rank
to below 500. Both Danny and Cheryl filed lawsuits. They both claimed
reversed discrimination, and although the evidence seemed clear they lost
in court. These two individuals were more qualified that a number of the
minorities that were accepted or promoted. When reading these case studies
it looks as if the answer is so clear cut. Eastland feel that there should
be a universal standard of testing. Those the are better qualified should
be rewarded for their knowledge and skills and not pushed back because of
sex or color. Eastland sees Cheryl and Danny as, "gallant foot soldiers in
the fight against a policy that by allocating opportunity on the basis or
race and sex is dividing and damaging the nation"(6) Cheryl and Danny just
see themselves as victims

Some institutions have moved on from timely test scoring and just
established quotas. A certain number or a certain percentage in order to
"diversify" the work place. Jerry Henry is a painter who used to get 70%
of work from the Ohio State University. Starting in 1983 he was told that
15% of the university jobs would be given to minority bidders. Initially
he was still able to bid on certain jobs, but eventually the college gave
all its painting contracts to minority bidders. Because he was not even
allowed to compete, Jerry lost his major source of income. This is not the
effect affirmative action was supposed to have when established. It was
supposed to promoted fairness and equality, now it just promotes

Eastland feels that affirmative action has become highly outdated. It was
Initially set up as a temporary program during the Jackson administration
in order to offer some sort of compensation to the black community. Not it
has turned into a multi minority and sex conglomerate. It has spread way
beyond giving blacks opportunity into giving all those who are not the
white american male an added advantage. the foundation of our democratic
society is all men are "created equal". Then how could such a program fit
in with the definition from which we decided to build a country on

Affirmative action has changed from a policy of ending discrimination to
that of overcoming under representation. Eastland cites court case after
court case throughout his book to support his point. Though the plaintiffs
have shown significant evidence of reverse discrimination, the courts
uphold affirmative action. Eastland seems to think that there is no longer
a need for there to be an affirmative action program. That although blacks
needed such a plan in order for them to be given the same opportunities
that whites had, society today has changed and so has affirmative action

In the eyes of the author society has changed since then. We have changed
our societal norms that determine right and wrong. Now society is more
sensitive to classifying people by stereotypes and discrimination. It is
now thought of as "bad" to be discriminatory, thus there is not the need
for affirmative action that there was. Throughout the book, Eastland
stresses that affirmative action has expanded to included those who it was
not intended for. Not only that but it no longer serves as a restitution
to blacks for past wrongs. Now it just generalizes and places a stigma on
those the action incorporates. If a woman or minority is given a job, they
are constantly going to question why they were hired and feel a pressure
by their peers in order for them to prove their aptitudes. Eastland can
put his point of view no clearer than when he says, "The time has come for
us to end it."

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Date: Wed, 05 Mar 1997 11:49:05 -0600
From: "Erik S. Weidner" <esweidn@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Ending Affirmative Action

Terry Eastland
Ending Affirmative Action
Basic Books, A Division of HarperColins Publishers, Inc. (1996)
Reviewed by: Erik S. Weidner

Eastland’s book, Ending Affirmative Action, is what I considered to be a
very compelling argument against Affirmative Action. I originally chose
this book because I don’t agree with affirmative action either. But
Eastland impressed me by giving what is not only a compelling argument but
one based in present logic, not past emotions.

His approach was not biased or jaded, which was surprising, for I thought
that a great deal of hostility would show through and make his arguments
weak and hard to give credence to. It is difficult to agree with someone,
even if they are right, when they allow anger to get the better of them and
over rule logic.

Eastland starts off his book by citing briefly five different cases in
which affirmative action was used to keep qualified people out of
jobs/education opportunities only to allow less qualified minorities or
women to get the job based wholly on the fact that they were from a
particular group. Eastland argues that Affirmative Action does this is
exactly what Affirmative Action set out to end: discriminates based on
color or sex.

Eastland believes that no mater how good the intentions, if they are done
for the wrong reasons they will be doomed to failure. Good intentions done
for the wrong reason always end up being corrupted and polluted.

Discrimination is discrimination. If it is bad when done to one group,
then it is as equally bad when done to another. Especially when it is done
under the misleading protective cover of correcting previous wrongs.

How long must people who had no part in those crimes be punished?
Affirmative Action is wrong and should be ended.

Eastland, after briefly reviewing the five cases involving unjust
discrimination, goes into a little greater detail of each case and supports
his opinion with recent Supreme Court and lower court decisions
questioning, and even condemning Affirmative Action.

The first case is that Danny O’Connor a police officer who was
discriminated against on two different occasions and thus lost the
promotion to sergeant that he deserved.

In his first attempt, in 1988, to make sergeant Danny was competing against
209 other officers for 75 promotions. After the written exam, the
interview, evaluation for on the job performance and seniority were taken
into consideration and added up Danny was 56th out of 75 to be promoted

Then, in keeping with the cities Affirmative Action Plan, it was deemed
necessary to add 19 black officers, (there were already 7 who had actually
made it of their own merit), to the list to make it fair. Fair for whom?
This adding of 19 additional officers to the list of 75 most qualified
meant that 19 officers who were truly qualified, and not black, had to go
so as to make room for the 19 who did not make it on the list to begin
with. Danny was one of those 19 non black people.

Danny tried a second time the next year, with similar results. This time
94 of the 177 candidates would be promoted. 15 black made the list but
Affirmative Action had to be put into place. So, 18 more blacks, that were
not qualified, were placed on the list and 18 qualified whites were taken
off the list. Danny was one of those 18. On two separate occasions Danny
was discriminated against because he was white, and for no other reason

The next example is one of Jerry Henry, who owns a painting company in
Columbus, Ohio. Jerry had for several years been doing contract work for
Ohio State University. Jerry estimated that about 20% of his business came
OSU. All of that started to change in the Spring of 1983 when Jerry was
told that there were upcoming painting jobs but that they were only for
minority contractors. Affirmative Action sounds like discrimination. It
did not stop there though Jerry recalls that by late 1985 no contracts were
being offered to non-minorities in the Decorating Department and by 1989 no
painting contracts at all were being offered to non-minorities.

This means that no matter how good the work, how reliable the service, how
low the rate, if you were white you would not get the job, period. What
incentive is there to offer a quality product when you have a captive

The two previous cases are just a few examples of the injustices done to
non-minorities by Affirmative Action. Eastland will argue again and again
through out his book in favor of ending Affirmative Action. Hence the name
of the book.

Eastland continues on with his argument by questioning the use of such
terms as "flexible goals" and "manning tables" and "voluntary
participation" as merely creative wording for the terms quotas (which are
illegal) and coercion.

Flexible goals are just a way of manipulating words and numbers so as to
appear as to not use the quota system. For example in a quota system, for
every 350 employees hired 53 of those would have to be minorities. But in
a "flexible goal setting" system, approximately 15% of the total employee
population would have to be minorities. If you do the math 350 * .15 =
52.5. So if the employer hired 53 minorities out of every 350 employees
hired that would be approximately 15%. (15.142857% to be a little more

To say that all or even most corporations voluntarily participate in
Affirmative Action is as ridiculous as saying southern blacks of the pre
Civil War Era voluntary participated in slavery. Ridiculous you say? Not
really when you look at what voluntary participation in Affirmative Action
really is

In 1965 an executive order was passed "requiring nondiscrimination and
Affirmative Action on the part of federal contractors." If it was deemed
that a contractor was "underutilizing" minorities then the contractor would
lose the federal contract. Underutilization is defined as:
"The number of minorities utilized by a government contractor versus the
availability of minorities in the local job market."

If the contractor is below the acceptable level of utilization as set by
the Labor Department, then this contractor would lose their contract.

Understanding that federal contractors employ roughly one third of the
total national work force it would be financial suicide for corporation not
to adhere. So, it is deemed voluntary

Much the same way it could be argued that participation in slavery by the
slaves was voluntary

The slaves did not have to participate in slavery, they could have run away
to the abolitionists of the North. Almost always to be caught and returned
to their master to be whipped, sometimes to death. So therefor, it would
stand to reason that their choice to not run away was on a voluntary basis

Much the same way corporations voluntarily corporate in Affirmative
Action. Do it or die of financial ruin

Recently the tide has been turning away from Affirmative Action and toward
ability based hiring

I don’t believe that anyone would ever argue against Dr. Martin Luther King
and his ideals and principles regarding equality. In Dr. King’s "I Have a
Dream" speech he preached these words:
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all
men are created equal.’ "

There is not too much room for interpretation of the previous passage. All
means all, not just all those of a particularly group


Erik S. Weidner

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