Affirmative Action May Be Hurting People; Dr. Bonnie Advises Smart Heart Skills

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An article in the Wall Street Journal points out that, with the best of intentions, affirmative action may actual be hurting people ( Relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil has suggestions for how our society can pull together and provide opportunities for all.

The Wall Street Journal reveals that affirmative action may not be equipping people in the ways it was supposed to ( The article points out that in an effort to get more minorities into colleges, jobs, and provide more opportunities, institutions may have actually been ushering people through the "system" that weren't ready for what was on the other side. Relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil says the US needs a path to more honest policies that can help the people they were designed to help!

"Instead, we now have a policy that may be mis-matching people," points out Dr. Bonnie. "For example, minorities may be let into schools because of affirmative action, but then find that they haven't been well prepared." Additionally, the Wall Street Journal cites the statistic that students in these situations have a more difficult time passing licensing tests, like the bar exam. And a Duke study found black students drift away from science and engineering studies in higher rates than whites.

Dr. Bonnie suggests that these demographics need more support - and not just once they're in college. "They need to have a process and foundation that helps them up until they get to college, or get into the work force as well as one that helps them after they get in." Just because they get into a good school or job doesn't necessarily mean they're going to stay there or do well when they leave.

To this end, Dr. Bonnie agrees with the article that the US needs racial preference reform. She believes Smart Heart Skills can help politicians and organizations come to a better understanding of what the country needs. "When I work with patients, I provide a place where each person can express any frustrations or concerns in a constructive manner." She suggests the people she treats check in with each other on any issues they face once a week for a set amount of time to make sure each person is being heard, concerns are being addressed, and plans are being put into action for how to handle any shortcomings.

"Something similar needs to be done for this issue in our country," emphasizes Dr. Bonnie. "It's not enough to be effusive and inspirational, or even to sit down with those who think differently than you and have the best intentions." The crucial part of Smart Heart - for both couples and organizations - is to come up with an actionable plan to "handle any shortcomings." Dr. Bonnie admits this is the most challenging part! But, she says, "It will also get us a lot further than charisma or charm!"

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Dr. Bonnie talks more about these skills in her book, Make Up Don't Break Up, as well as in this video:

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Dr. Bonnie Weil
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