Race-Conscious Agenda

Race-Conscious Agenda

On June 23, while Supreme Court Justices concluded to favor the University of Michigan’s Law School admissions process and denounce the undergraduate admissions policies, African Americans were making up their own minds about affirmative action. A national poll of 1,800 participants conducted in June by Black America’s Political Action Committee (BAMPAC) suggests that when it comes to affirmative action, African American opinions are congruent with the majority of Americans, says Alvin Williams, president and CEO of BAMPAC. “Sixty-five percent of African American registered voters believe affirmative action is good in principle but needs to be reformed,” says Williams. “Only 19% believe that it is fine the way it is.”

This is not to say that African Americans oppose affirmative action. When asked if they favor or oppose set-asides for minority-owned businesses and racial quotas in employment and education, 62% were in favor of it. “In their minds, something needs to be done to ensure that we are given a shot at higher education and in America’s workplace,” says Williams. “They, as well as a lot of other people, are uncomfortable if the program is just based solely on race.” He offers that the trend in African American opinion is that race can and should be a consideration as well as other factors such as gender, and geographical and socio-economic background.

Also, 42% of those surveyed strongly disagree that Bush’s policies will improve equality and fairness in the United States. BAMPAC is a nonpartisan organization that surveys the African American community yearly to assess their feelings on the current administration and their evolving attitudes toward the major political parties.