Sen. Dan Sullivan and 17 other white male Senators think gutting affirmative action will end discrimination.

It’s hard to objectively write about the Senate voting to end state-sponsored affirmative actions programs, especially when every woman and every Black senator voted to uphold the critical policy.

This is not a post about why affirmative action is needed; we’ve covered that topic already over on For AR People. But for those who need a quick refresh: affirmative action programs help excluded groups of people access the same opportunities as white men. What this post is about is 17 white men who are upset by programs that help women and minorities. These senators believe removing opoprunity barriers to some takes away their right to first dibs.

And it does — that’s the entire point of affirmative action. No one group should get first dibs at economic mobility, business loans, college scholarships, venture capital investment, job placements, board appointments, vocation training, and more. Being white and being male doesn’t make one entitled to health and happiness. We can’t believe we even have to type that.

Good policy removes barriers to opportunity, and affirmative action programs — though imperfect — address these barriers with measurable solutions. Arkansans are not unfair, spiteful people; we’re quite the opposite. Scour websites of Arkansans’s state departments, US Senators, and higher education institutions and you’ll find “fairness” listed as a top value. US Senator John Boozman’s page states, “In Arkansas, we appreciate the values instilled in and passed down to us for generations. Those ideals – freedom, fairness, economic opportunity… are worth protecting and advancing.”

To those who aren’t white or male, the 18 state senators who voted to end affirmative action do not reflect Arkansas fairness. At best, these senators are entitled and out of touch. And worst, they are endorsing bigotry, sexism, and regressive thinking. These 18 senators would do well to remember they represent people who are not white men, too.

Senators who voted to end affirmative action:

  • Justin Boyd (R- Fort Smith)
  • Josh Bryant (R-Rogers)
  • Ron Caldwell (R-Wynne)
  • Tyler Dees (R-Siloam Springs)
  • Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville)
  • Scott Flippo (R-Bull Shoals)
  • Ben Gilmore (R-Crossett)
  • Kim Hammer (R-Benton)
  • Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs)
  • Ricky Hill (R-Cabot)
  • Mark Johnson (R-Conway)
  • Steve McKee (R-Pearcy)
  • Payton (R-Wilburn)
  • Penzo (R-Springdale)
  • Terry Rice (R-Waldron)
  • Matt Stone (R-Camden)
  • Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch)
  • San Sullivan (R-Jonesboro)