Analytic Memo on Response to Op-ed on Race-based Affirmative Action

TO: Dr. Patricia Williams

FROM: [Student’s name]

DATE: July 4, 2018

SUBJECT: Response to Your Op-ed on Race-based Affirmative Action

Globalization and economic, social, and political challenges have significantly changed the cultural compositions of societies around the world. Immigration has intensified over the years with countries such as the United States witnessing a radical change in the cultural composition of their communities. With up to 3 percent of the global population projected to be immigrants in the next few years, the need for multiculturalism policies cannot be understated (Grant and Robertson 209). However, as you rightly pointed out in your opinion editorial that appeared in The New York Times, the success of multiculturalism policies aimed at promoting cultural diversity is not solely hinged on economic-based affirmative action policies. There is more to cultural multiplicity than just promoting equitable wealth creation across all races. Racism is a significant problem whose solution extends beyond putting money in people’s pockets equitably.

Multiculturalism policies are aimed at promoting cultural integration minimizing cultural discriminations, such as racism, at the same time. Additionally, a culturally diverse society can only be considered to be functionally multicultural and diverse when cultural tensions do not exist. In nations such as Australia, multiculturalism policies have been identified as the primary pillars of building united and cohesive states. Moreover, the country’s legislative agenda has historically been geared towards promoting cultural diversity as a platform for ensuring national solidarity and a new identity (Keddie 2 – 4).

As you aptly highlighted in your op-ed, there is a need to expand our commitment to affirmative action that promotes cultural miscellany. However, such expansion of assenting action and by extension multiculturalism to include social, legislative, and political spheres, calls for a change of mindset. Studies have shown that attitude towards multiculturalism policies is affected by various factors, including the social group identity and individual’s worldviews. Others also have a negative perception towards multiculturalism guidelines because they perceive the push for cultural diversity as a threat to their social identity. Therefore, racism plays out as a self-preservation measure. Others, especially cultural minorities, are indifferent to cultural assortment due to perceived discrimination that they experience from individuals from the dominant culture.

These outlooks of cultural diversity also play out in how people interpret the whole concept of multiculturalism. In the study about challenges facing multiculturalism that he conducted in the year 2013, Gomarasca points out that two schools of thoughts or models of multiculturalism exist. His critical analysis of the mentioned concept allows him to highlight the core reason why multiculturalism has continued to decline across the globe, specifically in Italy despite the growing immigrant population and globalization policies. A differentialist model of interpreting multiculturalism has seen people treat multiculturalism as a conception that primarily focuses on treating cultures as different and unrelated entities. In response to the differntialist approach, Gomarasca suggested a new approach to the cultural variety that is hybridization (67 – 69). His suggestion mirrors your suggestion at the end of your opinion editorial that there is a need to push for expanded implementation of affirmative action “in law, in politics, in life.” Hybridization, which is reflected throughout your article, is founded on cultural intermixing and acceptance without raising eyebrows. Reaching such a point calls for accepting that each culture is unique. However, despite such distinctiveness, all cultures are interconnected. It is only through such a prism of perceiving cultures that our outlook of other cultures will change. To eradicate the issue of racism and not continuously draw from the well of our deep-rooted racial prejudices as you have called for, it is necessary for us to consider each culture as a hybrid of another. Affirmative action can only have far-reaching effects if we consider our cultures as a continuum and not distinct entities with no threads connecting them.

Rooting for creativity is not an endeavor that has benefits that extend beyond economic equality and social acceptance (Chen and Hamilton 587). Cultural miscellany has been known to advantage some professions such as science, which have radically changed the global community over the years. The current holistic understanding of how the different components of the cell work, which reflects how a multicultural society works, was the discovery that Ernest Everest Just made. Just was an African American biologist who specialized in embryological studies. His insights on how the cell works drew significantly from the cultural background (Byrnes 264). In public health, cultural multiplicity is critical in delivering quality health care services as they stem from a greater understanding of health issues affecting each culture. Moreover, health care professionals who have embraced cultural diversity are better placed in understanding the health disparities across various cultures than those who have not. It is also a unique opportunity for skill development as public health professionals, including those that aspire to join the profession, to develop their key competencies. Competencies and skills are effectively developed by interacting with individuals from different cultural backgrounds (Satcher 263).

Changing people’s perceptions towards other cultures call for more than just policies. Additionally is an undertaking that goes beyond state-level initiatives. People are important when it comes to ensuring the success of these policies. The state cannot effectively influence the mindset of individuals towards multiculturalism policies and initiatives. The primary success factor in implementing far-reaching affirmative action and bringing down the historical walls of racism and skepticism towards persons from other cultures is individuals. The onus rests with individuals to push the agenda forward and move it beyond state-level implementation. This is the fundamental idea that runs throughout your article. For African American athletes to be appreciated for their successes as effort-based, there is a need to appreciate the fact that their successes are founded on hard work and commitment and not their race. It is only through a modification of attitude that an African American pianist will be appreciated for his or her musicality and not some racially-charged perception and stereotype of his or her abilities.

Indeed, your op-ed is quite insightful and captures the gist of cultural variety. It rightly calls for transforming the concept from treating cultures as different and disconnected entities into the continuum. Culture should be treated as a bridge that connects people in a society rather than a dividing factor that sets people apart. However, such envisioning of how our culturally different societies should operate is a long way from being achieved even though the push for cultural diversity has dominated political, social and economic forums for decades. Moreover, the successes of cultural variety are well documented across various sectors including science and public health. These challenges that cultural multiplicity has encountered over the years justifies your call for the expansion of affirmative action. Expanding it will ensure that affirmative action moves beyond state-level implementation. It makes sure that personal attitudes towards multiculturalism are positively transformed.



Works Cited

Byrnes, Malcolm W. E. E. Just, and Creativity in Science. The Importance of Diversity. J Afr Am St vol. 19, 2015, p.264–278.

Chen, Jacqueline M., and Hamilton, David L. Understanding diversity: The Importance of Social Acceptance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 41, no.4, 2015, pp. 586–598

Gomarasca, Paolo. Multiculturalism or Hybridisation? Cultural Mixing and Politics. Diversities, vol, 15, no. 2, 2013, pp. 67 – 80.

Grant, P. R., and Robertson, D. W. Predicting Immigrants’ Attitudes toward Multiculturalism Using a Measure of Its Perceived Benefits. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, vol. 36, 2014, pp.209–220.

Keddie, Amanda. Australian Multicultural Policy: Social Cohesion through a Political Conception of Autonomy. Journal of Sociology (2012).

Satcher, David. The Importance of Diversity to Public Health. Public Health Reports, vol. 123, 2008, p. 263.