Patterns of exclusion of women and minorities (primarily people of color) must be acknowledged as a continuing practice that violates any semblance of social justice, or respect for diversity.
Early laws in this country favored white, male, landowners. That group maintained its dominance until deliberate actions were taken to include minorities. In the two-century history of this country, the quest for equality has produced four Constitutional Amendments and a plethora of Congressional Acts, Executive Orders and Supreme Court decisions. Along the way, slaves were freed and given citizenship; women won the right to vote; and "separate but equal" was recognized as segregation and was dismantled. We should be proud of the gains these affirmative actions have achieved, but we must also recognize the inequalities that still exist. In a heterogeneous society, equality requires constant vigilance.
The Green Party disagrees with the assertion that affirmative actions should be class-based rather than race / gender-based. There is merit to the class-based argument, but it would have a different goal: an attempt to provide opportunity to those trapped in poverty. Race / gender affirmative actions attempt to include specific groups that have a history of being excluded regardless of their economic status or level of education.
Anti-affirmative action sentiments are being provoked as a subterfuge to hide economic problems: the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few; the exploitation of labor in the U.S. and abroad; the problems presented by greater automation; and the continued decline in real wages and jobs. Our political leaders have failed to address these issues even though other industrial nations are beginning to deal with them. The common practice of these leaders has been to use minorities as scapegoats in order to divert attention from the real issues. This is a recurring scenario in history: economic disparity causes social unrest; anger is directed at easy targets - those least able to fight back; the underlying issues are deflected because they are complex and carry enormous social implications and long term effects.
The Green Party recognizes the need for affirmative action programs and supports the following:
Retention of inclusion goals for women and minorities in government hiring and procurement when all other qualifications are equal - similar to the preferences given to veterans.
Maintaining employment programs whose goals are to achieve a workforce that reflects the diversity of the community.
Promoting equal employment opportunity through education and examples of successful programs, but also pursuing Court imposed remedies and legal retribution where necessary.
A realistic assessment of our future economy and employment in the post-industrial age.
Proportional representation as an affirmative action towards achieving fair representation for all. Electoral systems promote patterns of inclusion or exclusion and, so, the Green Party supports the goals of the Voting Rights Act. [see Proportional Representation plank]