Bleah, my wife is Japanese/Korean. I'm all for interracial marriage.
I'm not one to dance around the issue and cloak Affirmative Action in terms like "fighting racism". I don't care about fighting racism because racist people don't concern me. I lived down South, and I'm white, and I'm quite familiar with many people who are casually and unabashedly racist. But I'm not the thought police, and I'm a big first amendment supporter, so as far as I'm concerned folks can think and say whatever the hell they want.
That's why I put zero stock in this "AA stirs people up" argument. That's not an argument against Affirmative Action at all, any more than it used to be an argument against civil rights. The backlash against a policy is not an argument against a policy itself. All positive movements have naysayers; their existence has nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness of the movement itself.
What I am interested in, and the true point of Affirmative Action, is increasing minority representation in higher education and professional careers. You think race is "pseudo-science"? Maybe you're right, but again, I don't really care. Race, whatever its basis or lack thereof, continues to be a powerful force in society, and as such, we have to acknowledge its existence. The fact that even the anti-AA folks talk about alternative strategies to increase minority representation in medicine is, in my mind, a tacit acknowledgement that (1) Race is operative in our society, and (2) Increasing minority representation in fields like medicine is a good thing.
That being said, nothing works better than Affirmative Action. All the other "ideas" to get more minorities in medicine are really just vague generalizations, and things we should be doing anyway (better education, etc). As long as students admitted under these programs are held to the same standards of licensing examinations and graduation requirements, they are qualified physicians. So what's the problem?
You might not care about racism, but racism is the thing that got us here to the point where you think we need AA, so ignoring racism is ignoring the root of the problem that you're trying to solve. That's the problem.
You can get all the minorities you want into a field, but if by doing that you're making the root of the problem worse you'll never actually solve the problem. A lot of how well people do in school just has to do with how well they believe they're supposed to be able to do. When everyone else around you is expecting less of you due to stereotypes and AA, you're already being set up to do worse. So racism *IS* something I care about, since it is the core problem here-it is literally what causes people to underperform in school, whether it's because the schools are underfunded or because subtle racism has caused a teacher to assume a child is less capable-and thus focus less on the child, racism is the cause of everything that's making AA seem like such an attractive solution.
But AA just lets the root of the problem fester and grow-it gives the racists who want you to believe that one race is inferior/superior ammo, because now they can point at AA as proof. And that just means that all those kids out there are going to be assumed to be less capable, get less teacher time, have other kids tell them they're stupider, etc. All that you need to ruin your testing ability is for ANYBODY to remind you that your "race" does worse on tests. It's called stereotype threat, and it's not just a made up concept, it's been tested time and again and it's very real.
AA feeds the stereotype, and that stereotype goes on to hurt kids via stereotype threat, and via teachers expecting less of kids (which is also VERY harmful-if a teacher assumes a relatively dumb kid is smart, that kid will actually end up catching up and surpassing the rest of the class just because the teacher gives the kid a lot more chances to learn-calling on him, etc), and other children psychologically hurting them using these stereotypes.
So if you think you can band-aid the problem with AA, you're wrong. Look, unlike some of the other anti-AA posters, I DO NOT CARE that I'm "losing a spot" to an URM, because quite frankly, URMs have to overcome way more crap than I've had to overcome, even if it's "just" a stereotype. But I *DO* care that AA is actually going to end up perpetuating this harmful stereotype.
By basing aid on something OTHER than race, you'll be able to get rid of the racial stereotype threat, or at least not give the stereotype so much credibility.
Or keep going down the AA road, and constantly have other people believe this stereotype that URMs are inferior. Because that's basically what AA is doing for URMs-it's making everyone else believe that they're inferior. Even if URM students don't really believe it rationally, it'll be in their subconscious, ruining their performance. What a great solution. (that's sarcasm)