The State of Affirmative Action in America
The American Association for Affirmative Action Notes EEOC Received More Than 90,000 Employment Discrimination Complaints Last Year
-- America's Wire today released a Q & A with Shirley J. Wilcher, director of the American Association for Affirmative Action, who maintains that the more than 90,000 employment discrimination complaints filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last year clearly demonstrates that affirmative action is still needed in the United States.
In an exclusive interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kenneth J. Cooper, Ms. Wilcher criticized ill-defined diversity programs at some colleges and companies, urged federal investigations of employers that have stopped advertising jobs in minority-oriented publications and rejected proposals to limit affirmative action to native-born African-Americans or low-income members of minority groups.
"Clearly, there have been attacks on affirmative action so much that people are even afraid to even use the term anymore," Ms. Wilcher says. "We've even had debates within my group, the American Association for Affirmative Action - should we change the name? So far, the group view is we will not change the name because it has somehow fallen out of favor."
Adds Ms. Wilcher: "Some [employers] now are assuming that if you went to an Ivy League school and you are African-American, you were admitted through affirmative action and you're not as good. So you're still a victim if you graduated from Harvard or Penn or Yale. Somehow they can't quite believe you're good enough even though nobody [else] takes your exams."
Furthermore, she notes that the George W. Bush administration had prohibited civil rights officials from using the term "affirmative action."
The article on Ms. Wilcher is available at www.americaswire.org. In a special introductory offer, America's Wire is offering free 30-day trial subscriptions to media outlets - mainstream newspapers, community newspapers, news wires, ethnic publications and websites. During the trial period, media outlets can download and publish our articles for free.
"The Wilcher article exemplifies the type of coverage of issues related to structural racism in America that are rarely covered in the mainstream media," said Michael K. Frisby, president of America's Wire. "We want stories from our wire service to complement the news coverage already available from various media outlets. The nation needs to be better informed about the impact of structural racism that still exists in America."
The American Association for Affirmative Action is based in Washington, D.C., and has 1,000 members. During the Clinton administration, Ms. Wilcher ran the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, a Labor Department agency that enforces a legal mandate that government contractors practice affirmative action. Her experience in civil rights law extends back three decades to summer internships at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund when she was a student at Harvard Law School.
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America's Wire is operated by the Maynard Institute's Media Center on Structural Racism. America's Wire is an innovative news service that will provide enterprising content for wire services, mainstream newspapers, ethnic/community papers, magazines and websites. America's Wire will provide subscribers with professionally reported, written and edited stories that will help readers better understand the obstacles and challenges faced by people of color. America's Wire is made possible through a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.