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Shelby Steele is opposed to affirmative action as it exists today based on the two premises that it hurts the people it is trying to help and avoids fixing the problems that hinder blacks and other minorities to this day He believes that affirmative action in itself is a bad policy The hurtful effect that affirmative action instills is a psychological one Affirmative action was unleashed in the sixties largely due to the guilt whites felt from the mistakes of their ancestors and black peoples demands for more power which they did deserve The problem is the way it affirmative action leaps over the hard business of developing a formerly oppressed people to the point where they can achieve proportionate representation on their own given equal opportunity and goes straight to proportionate representation Steele 115 The confusion that he feels exists is the difference between racial representation and racial development Black students entering a school like the University of California at Santa Barbara hypothetically that were admitted as a result of affirmative action may not be prepared for the level of work and competition Combining the fact that after a full six years in college only 26 percent of black students graduate and that black students are five times more likely to drop out than white ones it is not difficult to believe that black students are less prepared What effect does this preferential treatment for blacks have on their psyche It is a policy of lowering the normal standards to increase black representation When affirmative action is a factor it increases their own self-doubt and brings with it feelings of inferiority to whites It just adds to centuries of the idea that blacks are of lesser value Logically blacks may know that whites have had more opportunities and are better prepared Not because of intelligence but because whites are generally a more affluent part of society with more advantages That this is one
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