Almost exactly a year ago Roger Clegg reminded us that “affirmative action” was turning 50, noting that “the first time the phrase “affirmative action” was used in the civil rights context, in Executive Order 10925, which President Kennedy signed on March 6, 1961.”
He also noted, of course, that then the phrase meant the opposite of what it quickly came to mean: “taking positive steps, proactive measures … to make sure racial discrimination did not occur, that individuals were treated “without regard” to race by government contractors.
“Fifty years [now 51] is a long time,” Clegg observed.
It means that about seven out of 10 Americans have never lived a day of their lives when there wasn’t affirmative action. Even if we make the generous assumption that it took a decade for the phrase to be twisted into its current meaning, that still means more than half of Americans have always lived under a legal regime in which politically incorrect discrimination was banned but politically correct discrimination was permitted, even encouraged, even required.
Perhaps in Fisher v. Texas, to be argued next fall, the Supreme Court will recognize that discrimination based on race can never be politically correct.