By Alejandra Orias Garita - Student of International Relations
"Racism was already a global pandemic way before the coronavirus." - Spike Lee
Throughout history, the United States has encountered migration, and these minority groups have always suffered from inequality. Going back to the end of the 15th century, the “conquest” of the Americas took place. More than a million people were taken to the United States to work as slaves. From that moment on, black African Americans have suffered from inequality, racism, and violation of their human rights.
As a consequence of this discrimination, according to Akinwotu (2017), “racial quotas were officially adopted in 1950 and designed to address the prejudices” (p.1). Thus, this anti-discriminatory system tries to ensure a certain amount of “spaces” in politics, education, employment, health care and other parts of society for this population; historically, in the United States, black people have fought to stop racial quotas in the country. Therefore, I do agree that racial quotas undoubtedly try to ensure representativeness in a democratic system, and are definitely a tool for inclusion. But, why do we need a “non – discrimination system,”, if we supposedly live in an “equal world” where everyone should have the same opportunities, no matter our ethnicity?
As we know, the United States has always been characterized by being an extremely racist region. This is why, Akinwotu (2017) states that “in the United States, “race quotas” are illegal – but using race as a factor in enrolment or recruitment is not” (p.1). Knowing this information, we can see that in reality, a quota system is discriminatory due to the fact that they give little priority to the minority populations. And though they are illicit they are still used.
Nevertheless, some may argue that racial quotas do not guarantee representation and social inclusion. Perhaps, we don’t need strict numeral equality; what we can do is give the same opportunities to everyone, no matter our race, but it is definitely important to have representativeness of these groups in education, health care, politics, and more. According to Akinwotu (2017), “in 2015, Abigail Fisher took a legal case against the University of Texas to the Supreme Court, arguing that as a white woman she had lost out on a place due to preferential treatment given to black and minority students” (p.1). With this case we can observe that definitely discrimination is still on its peak in the United States, and they aren’t stopping this.
To sum up everything that has been stated before, I do agree that this anti-discriminatory system can guarantee the representativeness of these minority groups in politics, education, and other parts of society. But although we have this type of quotas in politics it doesn’t assure that people in a democracy will vote for these minority groups, and at the end that will be what the population voted for. Thus, I think that quotas should be illegal due to the fact that we all should have the same opportunities as we all are the same and we should never experience any type of discrimination or so. Racial quotas and quota systems try to ensure the representation of minorities in important parts of society and that at least they have “some” spaces in politics and education, but they shouldn’t have limited spaces, they should be as involved as everyone else.