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Affirmative Action Is a Good Idea | Al Jazeera America

Like any other judgment criteria, race- and gender-based affirmative action isn’t error-proof, nor is it impervious to the occasional knave like Hudson who tries to work it. But data from all sorts of different fields suggest that it makes our perception of reality more accurate. Affirmative action is an improvement on American judgment. In our Big Data–driven society, in which competition is supposed to filter for merit, why aren’t smart managers and owners practicing aggressive affirmative action above and beyond proportional representation? There is, in effect, a cartel of white men agreeing not to compete to employ the talents and abilities of people who don’t look like them — the very existence of which calls into question the whole labor system’s supposedly competitive structure. The fact remains that if you don’t want to engage in affirmative action, then you’re just adopting white male mediocrity as your standard of excellence.