Essay, Research Paper: Affirmative Action

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Affirmative action was implemented with the idea and hope that America would
finally become truly equal. The tension of the 1960's civil rights movement had
made it very clear, that the nation's minority and female population were not
receiving equal social and economic opportunity. The implementation of
affirmative action was America's first honest attempt at solving a problem, it
had previously chose to ignore. However, there are many people that don't see
affirmative action as a positive solution to this major societal problem of
racial inequality. These people feel that Affirmative action uses reverse
discrimination to solve the problem of discrimination in the workplace. The
Enthymeme Affirmative action uses reverse discrimination to solve the problem of
discrimination because Affirmative action makes employers have to choose from
the best available employee from the minorities, instead of having the
possibility to choose simply the best employee. A= Affirmative action v1= uses
B= reverse discrimination to solve the problem of discrimination Because A=
Affirmative action v2= makes C= employers have to choose from the best available
employee from the minorities, instead of having the possibility to choose the
best available employee. Assumption: Anything that makes employers have to
choose from the best available employee from the minorities, instead of having
to simply choosing the best available employee uses reverse discrimination to
solve the problem of discrimination. Assumption and Audience The assumption for
this paper will appeal to employees who do not qualify for Affirmative action,
as well as employers and minorities. Employees not qualifying for Affirmative
action feel shortchanged due to the fact employers, for a lesser skilled
employee, bypassed them. They feel tricked by the government or the minority
therefore firing up racism among the bypassed group, while Affirmative action
was introduced to decrease racism. Employers also feel as if they have ended up
with a lesser skilled employee therefore increasing the amount of lesser quality
work. Employees provided with equal opportunity jobs bear the mark of "not
being the best pick, but only the best pick from a limited group."
Organization Question at Issue: Does Affirmative action use reverse
discrimination to solve discrimination? Definition of A: Affirmative action is
an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities for
members minority groups and women. A -* C Relationship: Affirmative action
causes federal contractors/employers to choose from the best available employee
from the minorities instead of choosing the best available employee from the
whole Definition of B: Reverse discrimination to solve the problem of
discrimination is using discerning treatment against a white male or female
instead of a black male or female to solve a problem of racial inequality. A -*
B Relationship: Affirmative action uses reverse discrimination to solve the
problem of discrimination. Definition of C: Employers ability to choose the best
available employee from the whole instead of a select minority is the outcome of
affirmative action. It insures that minorities are recruited to have real
opportunities to be hired in the workplace. C -* B Relationship: By employers
having to choose from the best of a minority group for employment rather than
just simply the best employee, reverse discrimination is used to solve the
problem of discrimination. This is due to the fact that unequal opportunity is
given to the minority. Research Encarta 1998 Encyclopedia http://www.purdue.edu/HUMANREL/tis_aa.htm
Conclusion This argument would be represented in an editorial form due to its
appeal to the common everyday man trying to make an honest living. Affirmative
Action Animosity Affirmative action is the U.S. program set forth in the early
1970's to correct the effects of past discrimination by giving preferential
treatment to women and ethnic minorities in the workplace. At the time of
affirmative action's induction to society, proponents of affirmative action
programs felt that the only way to increase the number of minorities in the
workplace was to establish a system of quotas to be maintained by law. However,
by forming and maintaining these laws over the past twenty-five years, a
development of an entirely new set of problems arose; problems that would fuel
controversy over affirmative action. A majority of people are dissatisfied with
current affirmative action policies, but are opposed to eliminating them
completely: "Americans hold doggedly to notions of family and liberty, but
they also believe in a sort of rough equality of opportunity that gives the
underdog a real chance in life" (Kahlenberg 209). Once necessary,
affirmative action programs have outlived their usefulness, and promote
discrimination by continuing to allow for unfair hiring practices. Affirmative
action uses reverse discrimination to solve the problem of discrimination
because it makes employers have to choose from the best available employee from
the minorities, instead of having the possibility of simply choosing the best
available employee. The primary goal of affirmative action programs was to
increase the number of minorities, including women, in the workplace. The
American Association for Affirmative Action states that they are "dedicated
to the advancement of affirmative action, equal opportunity and the elimination
of discrimination on the basis of race, gender, ethnic background or any other
criterion that deprives people of opportunities to live and work," (AAAA
Sept. 1998). Most people would agree that goal has been realized. There was a
definite need for action to enlighten individuals and corporations to the
negative results of their prejudices. It is unlikely that corporations would
have taken the initiative to hire from the minority groups had it not been for
government intervention. Affirmative action has created numerous opportunities
for women and minorities in this country. It would be difficult to argue that
these programs were not absolutely essential in making progress toward the
semi-equality that we have today. However, affirmative action has always been a
compromise, and with the progress made, a price has also been paid. Affirmative
action must now be rethought and restructured. Laws created preference programs
that "were based in the conscience of the American people and in their
commitment to equal treatment,"(Roberts & Statton 67). "The racial
quotas that we experience today are blatant perversions that are illegal under
the statutory language of the Civil Rights Act" (Roberts & Stratton
67). If the goal is true equal opportunity employment, removal of all advantages
and allowing people to be hired for their skills and abilities only should
occur. Continuing to allow for unfair hiring practices, affirmative action
programs promote discrimination. Using reverse discrimination, defined as the
discerning treatment against white males instead of black males or women of any
race, to solve the problem of discrimination will always receive criticism for
its hypocrisy. For example, in 1965, the Newport News Shipbuilding Co. buckled
under the heavy hand of the EEOC, who had solicited complaints by knocking on
the doors in black neighborhoods. The company reluctantly agreed to promote
2,890 of its five thousand black workers, designating 100 blacks as supervisors,
and agreed to a quota system. One shipyard worker stated that the EEOC had done
its best to "set black against white, labor against management, and
disconcert everybody." (Roberts & Stratton 93). Another example of this
reverse discrimination was in the education system; the public case of Cheryl J.
Hopwood, Douglas W. Carvell, Kenneth R. Elliott, and David A. Rogers. They filed
discrimination charges again the State of Texas stating they were discriminated
against and denied admission to the University of Texas School of Law. The
college granted admission to less qualified African American and Mexican
American applicants through the use of a quota system. This practice of
preferential admissions for minorities furthers the practice of reverse
discrimination, now not just in the workplace, but also in the school systems.
This creates animosities between workers that lead to further segregation,
defeating the intentions of the programs entirely. Through the demise of
race-dividing policies, underrepresented individuals shielded by affirmative
action would be forced to compete, on a level playing field, for jobs and
admission to colleges and universities. Competition has nothing but positive
effects and is crucial in accelerating capitalism. The debilitating effects of
affirmative action and quotas hinder an individual's desire to compete in
society. Destroying discrimination caused by past offenses may never have
perfect solutions, therefore, creating valid arguments for maintaining the
existence of equal opportunity programs. But, to continue to offer one group
opportunity, due only to their minority status, at the expense of another is
wrong. Non-minorities continue to feel that their rights have been violated and
that they are being punished for crimes that they had no part in committing. And
when non-minorities are subject to the same discrimination, they have little
recourse: "Under the 1991 Civil Rights Act, white males can have no grounds
for discrimination lawsuits until they are statistically underrepresented in
management and line positions. The 1991 Act, in effect, repealed the 1964 act by
legalizing racial preferences as the core of civil rights law" (Roberts
& Stratton). Regardless of good intentions, changing the past effects of
discrimination is a goal that is far from reach, however, not unattainable.
Women and minorities should be entitled to enjoy the same successes as the rest
of the country, without the fear of being seen as the beneficiary of
entitlements. Business owners should be free to make intelligent hiring
decisions based on a persons skills and talents, without the fear of penalty
from the government. As Marsha M. states, "Affirmative action is used not
to level the playing field, but used to strong-arm employer's into jobs, raises
and promotions for Black Americans and women." The growing tensions that
result from these programs continues to divide races, not bring them closer
together. "Ultimately, either quotas will go or democracy will, because
legal privileges based on status are incompatible with democracy's requirement
of equal standing before the law" (Roberts & Stratton 177). Allowing
different sets of rules and lower standards to separate people based on race or
sex, defeats any efforts made toward finally ending discrimination. Today every
American has access to employment and educational opportunities. Americans live
in a world of free enterprise where they can create their own successes.
Americans have the means to achieve and succeed, they just have to have the
drive and incentive to go out into the world and do it. As in every aspect of
life some things may not come easily. Yet these experiences make one stronger
and sometimes even more determined to achieve their goals. Individuals of any
race should not use or misuse the color of their skin or sexual orientation for
advancing themselves over others. Instead by using their talents, knowledge and
sense of fairness to achieve their goals, affirmative action will become
outdated. Works Cited Page Affirmative Action: Part 1 Enforcing Equality, "
An Affirmative Action Primer", The Virginia Pilot. 1995. Pilot Online. 12,
September 1998. Heilman, Madeline. Study: "Affirmative Action Hires
Abilities Doubted" @. Money Magazine, Aug. 31, 1992, 3B. Kahlenberg,
Richard D. The Remedy. New York; BasicBooks, 1996. M., Marsha.
"Untitled". Tidewater Community College. November, 1998. Roberts, Paul
Craig., and Lawrence M. Stratton. The New Color Line. Washington, DC; Regnery
Publishing, 1995. Rough Draft Affirmative action refers to the U.S. program set
forth in the early 1970's to correct the effects of past discrimination by
giving preferential treatment to women and ethnic minorities in the workplace.
At the time of their induction, proponents of affirmative action programs felt
that the only way to increase the number of minorities in the workplace was to
establish a system of quotas to be maintained by law. However, by forming and
maintaining these laws over the past twenty-five years, a development of an
entirely new set of problems arose. These problems are what fuel the controversy
over affirmative action. Most people are dissatisfied with current affirmative
action policies, but are opposed to eliminating them completely: "Americans
hold doggedly to notions of family and liberty, but they also believe in a sort
of rough equality of opportunity that gives the underdog a real chance in
life" (Kahlenberg 209). Once a necessary evil, affirmative action programs
have outlived their usefulness, and promote discrimination by continuing to
allow for unfair hiring practices. The primary goal of affirmative action
programs was to increase the number of minorities in the workplace. Most people
would agree that that goal has been realized. There was a definite need for
action to enlighten individuals and corporations to the negative results of
their prejudices. It is unlikely that corporations would have taken the
initiative to hire from the minority groups, had it not been for government
intervention. Affirmative action has created numerous opportunities for women
and minorities in this country. It would be difficult to argue that these
programs were not absolutely essential in making progress toward equality that
we have made today. The American Association for Affirmative Action states that
they are "dedicated to the advancement of affirmative action, equal
opportunity and the elimination of discrimination on the basis of race, gender,
ethnic background or any other criterion that deprives people of opportunities
to live and work (AAAA Sept. 1998)." However, affirmative action has always
been a compromise, and with the progress made, a price has also been paid.
Affirmative action must now be rethought and restructured. Laws created the
preference programs: "were based in the conscience of the American people
and in their commitment to equal treatment. The racial quotas that we experience
today are blatant perversions that are illegal under the statutory language of
the Civil Rights Act" (Roberts & Stratton 67). If the goal is true
equal opportunity employment, removal of all advantages and allowing people to
be hired for their skills and abilities only should occur. By continuing to
allow for unfair hiring practices, affirmative action programs promote
discrimination. Using reverse discrimination to solve the problem of
discrimination will always receive criticism for its hypocrisy. By requiring
corporations to fulfill quotas, the affirmative action laws promote the hiring
of less qualified workers. For example, in 1965, the Newport News Shipbuilding
Co. buckled under the heavy hand of the EEOC, who had solicited complaints by
knocking on the doors in black neighborhoods. The company reluctantly agreed to
promote 2,890 of its five thousand black workers, designating 100 blacks as
supervisors, and agreed to a quota system. One shipyard worker stated that the
EEOC had done its best to "set black against white, labor against
management, and disconcert everybody." (Roberts & Stratton 93). This
creates animosities between workers that lead to further segregation, defeating
the intentions of the programs entirely. Another example of this "reverse
discrimination" was in the education system; the public case of Cheryl J.
Hopwood, Douglas W. Carvell, Kenneth R. Elliott, and David A. Rogers. They filed
discrimination charges again the State of Texas stating they were discriminated
against and denied admission to the University of Texas School of Law. The
college granted admission to less qualified African American and Mexican
American applicants through the use of a quota system. This practice of
preferential admissions for minorities furthers the practice of reverse
discrimination, now not just in the workplace, but also in the school systems.
Affirmative action has never been a perfect solution and people will always have
valid arguments for maintaining its existence. But, to continue to offer one
group opportunity, due only to their minority status, at the expense of another
is wrong. Non-minorities continue to feel that their rights have been violated
and that they are being punished for crimes that they had no part in committing.
And when non-minorities are subject to the same discrimination, they have little
recourse: "Under the 1991 Civil Rights Act, white males can have no grounds
for discrimination lawsuits until they are statistically underrepresented in
management and line positions. The 1991 Act, in effect, repealed the 1964 act by
legalizing racial preferences as the core of civil rights law" (Roberts
& Stratton). Regardless of good intentions, changing the past effects of
discrimination is an unattainable goal. Women and minorities should be entitled
to enjoy the same successes as the rest of the country, without the fear of
being seen as the beneficiary of entitlements. Business owners should be free to
make intelligent hiring decisions based on a persons skills and talents, without
the fear of penalty from the government. As Marsha M. states, "Affirmative
action is used not to level the playing field, but used to strong-arm employer's
into jobs, raises and promotions for Black Americans and women". The
growing tensions that result from these programs continues to divide races, not
bring them closer together. Allowing different sets of rules and lower Standards
to separate people based on race or sex, defeats any efforts made toward finally
ending discrimination. "Ultimately, either quotas will go or democracy
will, because legal privileges based on status are incompatible with democracy's
requirement of equal standing before the law" (Roberts & Stratton 177).
Today every American has access to employment and educational opportunities.
Americans live in a world of free enterprise where they can create their own
successes. Americans have the means to achieve and succeed, they just have to
have the drive and incentive to go out into the world and do it. As in every
aspect of life some things may not come easily. Yet these experiences make one
stronger and sometimes even more determined to achieve their goals. Individuals
of any race should not use or misuse the color of their skin or sexual
orientation for advancing themselves over others. Instead by using their
talents, knowledge and sense of fairness to achieve their goals, affirmative
action will become outdated.
BibliographyPage Affirmative Action: Part 1 Enforcing Equality, " An Affirmative
Action Primer", The Virginia Pilot. 1995. Pilot Online. 12, September 1998.
Heilman, Madeline. Study: Affirmative Action Hires Abilities Doubted @. Money
Magazine, Aug. 31, 1992, 3B. Kahlenberg, Richard D. The Remedy. New York;
BasicBooks, 1996. M., Marsha. "Untitled". Tidewater Community College.
November, 1998. Roberts, Paul Craig., and Lawrence M. Stratton. The New Color
Line. Washington, DC; Regnery Publishing, 1995.
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