Friday, December 15, 2006

Perpetual Headache 

Some issues never seem to resolve themselves and become a perpetual PR headache. Affirmative action is one. Arguments over affirmative action are again before the Supreme Court. The state of Michigan voted down use of affirmative action in school enrollment, and the university is in a quandary about what to do. The activist attempting to strike down such laws is himself an African-American . He has a point that resonates with those who find fundamental unfairness in categorizing by race and/or gender.

But the issue of diversity doesn't go away, and it's a concern for corporations in the US, so much so that there is competition for skilled women and minority managers.

About the only conclusion one can come to is that some things in society change at glacial speed, and there is little one can do to speed them up, even with application of laws. That doesn't mean one gives up, but realism sets in after years of pushing. It's easy to predict that 15 years from now, there will still be a PR issue with affirmative action in the US. Women may populate top ranks comfortably by then, but other minorities won't. It took nearly 40 years to change smoking habits in the US. It will take longer to get rid of affirmative action as a PR issue.


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