Sayeth Kamilla Baiden (freelance journalist and final-year English student at Queen Mary University):
In all types of employment and academia, positive action – as opposed to positive discrimination – is used to provide opportunities exclusively to women or various minorities in order to help them get into particular field.
I love positive action schemes. They’ve given me yet another thing I can apply for – opening up more paths and opportunities in a time when there’s thousands of other swarming university students and graduates on a hunt for experience, training and jobs.
Well, yes. You would think that, wouldn’t you?
After being accepted onto the schemes, a few of my friends who did not meet the criteria voiced their opinions. “We’re happy for you, but it’s a bit unfair that you’ve got this based on your colour”; or “I find it hard to get work experience too – it’s not really fair that I can’t apply for these type things”. I then realised that diversity may not be as fair and equal as it is meant to be.
No! Fancy! Your university education wasn’t wasted then, clearly..
I sympathise with them. For many ordinary people it’s very difficult to take the first steps on the career ladder. And I’d hate to see a backlash. But I think people like my friends should appreciate the whole picture.
Yes, it’s because you’re worth it, eh?
Positive action schemes are intrinsic to the progression of the individual and the organisation. They give the individual an opportunity to excel in their career field and get a chance to gain the vital experience – while the organisation starts to make moves to mirror the diverse society we live in.
Because they’d never be able to function without a member of the entitled brigade on staff, I suppose?
Although positive action schemes exclude a large number of people, they allow individuals and organisations to progress one step closer to mirroring the reality of the world we live in. So, no, they are not perfect. But they do make our society a lot fairer than it would otherwise be.
Translation: ‘I got mine! Screw everybody else!’
But you see, by making things unfair for everyone else, they make things fairer for Kamilla. And if you can wrap your brain around that twist of logic…