Daily Wire host Candace Owens blasted affirmative action policies as “harmful” and degrading during an appearance on “Dr. Phil” Wednesday.
Owens, appearing alongside two professors defending the controversial policies, turned the traditional narrative — that affirmative action helps minorities — on its head. Instead, she said such policies amounted to nothing more than a “burden of responsibility” for the Left, and often do more harm than good.
“When you artificially place a black American into a school in which they do not belong based on their knowledge, it doesn’t mean that they go on to get A’s,” Owens said. “In fact, there was a black adjunct professor, you guys have definitely heard of him, Dr. Thomas Sowell, who was teaching at Cornell University and he found that the majority of the black American students that were there were on academic probation,” she added.
Owens went on to explain that, while these students were some of the smartest in the nation, they found themselves on academic probation because they were artificially placed in positions they hadn’t been required to earn. The tangible results of affirmative action, she said, were often not successful minorities but politicians or administrators who claimed victory for policies that only made people “feel good.”
In reality, Owens said affirmative action advocates often harm to the same people the policies allege to help. In the end “you either know the answers or you don’t,” she said.
Panel member Dr. John Pascarella, professor and chief academic officer for the race and equity center at the University of Southern California, advocated for affirmative action specifically for “institutions that have historically excluded people of color.”
Owens asked Pascarella how he could hold that viewpoint when she and others point to affirmative action being “factually, in effect, a bad thing for the black community,” to which the professor asks if the factors that create success are solely due to race.
“No, it’s due to their intellectual capabilities, which is how students should be judged,” Owens said, adding that judging on merit is the real “equal policy,” for students, not affirmative action.
Owens asserted that even the premise behind affirmative action was degrading, saying that the people who supported it were, in effect, claiming that minorities were incapable of achieving certain objectives without help from mostly white benefactors.
“I don’t think Sasha and Malia Obama are people that have struggled, and therefore should be allowed to get into the college, universities on a higher basis than white kids that have worked harder than them,” Owens continued.
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Dr. J. Luke Wood, a professor at San Diego State University, pushed back on Owens’s comments, arguing that poor performance by affirmative action beneficiaries could be the result of their experiences at the institutions.
“You’re saying ‘could be,’ I’m giving you actual facts,” Owens shot back. “We can fantasize and say ‘maybe they just don’t feel good,’ but that’s not the case.”
“We’re talking about a cultural problem, what’s going on back at home, as was in my circumstance,” Owens said. “None of that is because of institutionalized policy.”