Affirmative action is one of the more recent and popular civil rights policies that affect today's society. Affirmative action can be described as nothing more than a lower educational standard for minorities. It has become quite clear that affirmative action is unfair and unjust. However, in order to blend race, culture, and genders to create a stable and diverse society, someone has to give. How can this be justified? Is there a firm right or wrong to affirmative action? Is this policy simply taking something from one person and giving it to someone else, or is there more to this policy, such as affirmative action being a reward for years of oppression against those whom it affects?
There have been many affirmative action plans and experiments attempted over the years; however most have been largely unsuccessful. These plans range from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In 1986 the Department of Labor published an experiment entitled workforce 2000, which investigated the number of the most recent entrants into the working class from the years nineteen eighty-five to two thousand (Hyde 1). "The analysis showed that of those who would be newly entering the workforce, only fifteen percent would be white males"(Hyde 1).
This course approaching prevalent accomplishment of affirmative action is the end outcome of an operation that began in eighteen sixty-four with the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. (Hyde1) This act forbids discrimination on the grounds of
race, color, religion, and national origin. Title VII was meant to serve as a vehicle for affirmative action; however, in order to address the inequities of the nations employment system, another method was needed. About one year after Title VII went into effect, President Johnson required government contractors to take affirmative action in the employment of minorities. With this idea, he introduced executive order 11246 on September twenty-fourth of nineteen sixty-five and order 113755 for women shortly after. (Hyde 2) In nineteen seventy-three the Rehabilitation Act was introduced. This act enjoined federal contractors that have a contract existing over two thousand five hundred employees to take affirmative action in the employment of people with handicaps. (Hyde 3)
There is no doubt that there will always be controversy with affirmative action until an effective policy is put forth. Many citizens, organizations, and businesses seem to be slow to realize that government mandated race and sexually based preferences can only be used under extraordinary circumstances. There are many equal opportunity programs, such as the NAACP, that are designed to protect minority’s rights and privileges. Therefore, there is no need for affirmative action to be used to it’s fullest extent in the world today. This policy is wrong because it involves reverse discrimination, promotes the hiring of less qualified workers, and basically does more wrong than right. A person should be hired for a job position because this person is the most qualified, not because this person is a minority or a female. Suppose an employer hires a person because he or she is a minority; if another applicant is more qualified for the job, then the employer is the person being negatively affected. If it is a prejudice act
for people to discriminate against minorities, then what makes it right for people to discriminate against the majority? Either way, someone is being discriminated against and affirmative action only legitimizes and legalizes it. In my personal opinion, affirmative action is a plan that can only enhance racial issues. For instance, what if someone loses out on the job position he or she deserved because this person is a part of the majority? Would race, gender, or a handicap not have anything to do with this injustice?
Affirmative action has proven to be an injustice to the majority of society. Over the years there have been numerous cases in which this policy has harmed a great deal of people in order to establish so-called justice for an elite few. Pasour explains one of the thousands of injustices that affirmative action has provided:
Affirmative action promotes the hiring of less skilled workers. It sometimes forces employers to choose the best of the minority workers they can find, regardless of whether they have the required job skills. For example, Duke University recently adopted a resolution requiring each department to hire at least one new black for a faculty position by 1993. However, only six blacks received PH.D's in mathematics in 1987 in all of the U.S., casting doubts as to whether it would be possible for each department to find a well-qualified black, much less hire one (1).
How does the Supreme Court justify that affirmative action is a legitimate plan that benefits the US? The Supreme Court has developed a test that supposedly proves affirmative action to be useful. “The case history indicates that the Supreme Court will
uphold affirmative action efforts as long as it satisfies the affirmative action test”(Hyde 6). As an affirmative action plan is prepared yearly, it is put to a test containing three simple mandatory objectives. However, although the objectives are strictly focused on helping the underrepresented, they do not seem to mention anything about not interfering with the rest of the world’s advancement in schools and work force.
Affirmative action in college is worse, because a person not in a minority can be cheated out of their education he or she is seeking. Therefore, the minority would again get the better job. Without saying minorities should not get financial aid or scholarships, a person should receive them for their achievements, not because they are a certain race, gender, or from a certain culture. Is this truly necessary in order to proportionalize a school to the extent that it is in exact ratio to the different types of people in the US? If there is a certain amount of people from one culture in a college and they are the most eligible, then that is fine. However, why take this privilege from someone that deserves it because someone else is in the minority?
Maybe affirmative action is necessary in come cases, because anyone that is not blind would have to admit that minorities are often underrepresented or simply forgot about. This policy is the only way that they can be get the job or school that they deserve. However, it has gone too far when many are punished so a few can jump in the place they want and may deserve, just not as much as others. Who can say that they would not take advantage of the plan? The answer is very few, and the ones that do take advantage of it still no that it is just not the right way to do things. It is hard to criticize the people who do get into job position or school because of affirmative action, they are
only doing what comes natural. That is taking advantage of what they can because there are so many chances and the one you miss could be the last one. The only thing that should be criticized is the plan and society itself. It is seldom that affirmative action benefits society in today’s society. "Proponents of affirmative action view their opponents with suspicion for good reason. They know not all of their opponents are racist; they also know that many of them are" (Guernsey 66).
"The only thing that will enable affirmative action-or similarly any similarly controversial policy-to be debated in an atmosphere free of suspicions is for the surrounding social context to be decisively transformed" (Guernsey 66). The only way that affirmative action could work would be in a society with no diversity, which would mean that affirmative action is needed. As long as there are different cultures, there will always be natural hostility between them. As long as there is diversity, affirmative action will only create more hostility between these different cultures.
Lets say that affirmative action gets its way; what will happen? Every business that hires someone only because of their culture or gender will only be hurting themselves. This is because everyone that were undergraduates or unqualified will not do as good of a job as the ones that were not hired because they were not a minority. Affirmative action can also be dangerous. This is because they are not only cheating themselves but cheating the ones who they serve. For instance, if an architect firm hires a drafter based on affirmative action instead of their skill, then they are hurting the people who get their drafting done through their firm.
The Supreme Court considers Affirmative action to be a very serious order of business. Their views of affirmative action are often very different than those of people who get the worst end of the bargain. Many of them only see that affirmative action is a good plan to represent the underrepresented. If this were the only aspect of affirmative action, then no one would be against it. However, something must be blinding them of the thousands of Americans who are shafted habitually in order to pacify a few.
Guersey, JoAnn Bren. Affirmative action: A problem or a Remedy. Lerner publications Company, Minneapolis MN, 1993.
Pasour, Earnest. “Affirmative Action: A Counter Productive Policy.” The Foundation for Economic Education. (January 1989): 11Pars. 29 Feb, 2000
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