The Reagan Administration's constrictive policies on affirmative action are pointedly contrasted with the experiences of black firemen and police officers in tonight's "Frontline" documentary (8 p.m., Channel 50; 9 p.m., Channels 28 and 15).
The program is called "Assault on Affirmative Action," and the title exhibits the program's tilt, which is decidedly anti-Administration.
It's not that the Administration's viewpoint--that affirmative action programs are unholy because they constitute reverse discrimination--isn't represented, but the preponderance of testimony, and the most eloquently presented, is from those who favor the policies that seek to redress past discrimination.
Through interviews with fire fighters in Memphis and policemen in Indianapolis, producer Scott Craig and reporter George Curry draw a picture of the limited opportunities that existed for blacks in those cities just 10 years ago, prior to affirmative action decrees that called for increased hiring and promotion of minorities and women to reflect more accurately their makeup of the overall population.
"To a white person I would say that, 'You're starting to feel the things that black people and minorities have felt for a long time,' " a black policeman says in response to arguments that some whites are being passed over for jobs and promotions because of their race.