Affirmative Action

This essay has a total of 1606 words and 10 pages.

Affirmative Action


One day, there were two people who went to an interview for only one job position at the
same company. The first person attended a prestigious and highly academic university, had
years of work experience in the field and, in the mind of the employer, had the potential
to make a positive impact on the company's performance. The second person was just
starting out in the field and seemed to lack the ambition that was visible in his
opponent. "Who was chosen for the job?" you ask. Well, if


the story took place before 1964, the answer would be obvious. However, with the somewhat
recent adoption of the social policy known as affirmative action, the answer becomes
unclear.




After the United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964,it became apparent
that certain business traditions, such as seniority status and aptitude tests, prevented
total equality in employment. Then President, Lyndon B. Johnson, decided something needed
to be done to remedy these flaws. On September 24, 1965, he issued Executive Order #11246
at Howard University that required federal contractors "to take affirmative action to
ensure that applicants are employed . . . without regard to their race, creed, color, or
national origin (Civil Rights)." When Lyndon Banes Johnson signed that order, he enacted a
very discriminating piece of legislature.




Affirmative action was created in an effort to help minorities leap discriminative
barriers that were ever so present when the bill was first enacted, in 1965. At this time,
the country was in the wake of nationwide civil-rights demonstrations, and racial tension
was at its peak. Most of the corporate executive and managerial positions were occupied by
white males, who controlled the hiring and firing of employees. The U.S. government, in
1965, believed that these employers were discriminating against minorities and believed
that there was no better time than the present to bring about change.




When the Civil Rights Law passed, minorities, especially African-Americans, believed that
they should receive retribution for the years of discrimination they endured. The
government responded by passing laws to aide them in attaining better employment as
reprieve for the previous two hundred years of suffering their race endured at the hands
of the white man. To many, this made sense. Supporters of affirmative action asked, "why
not let the government help them get better jobs?" After all, the white man was
responsible for their suffering. While this may all be true, there is another question to
be asked. Are they all truly responsible for the years of persecution that the African
Americans were submitted to?




The answer to the question is yes and no. It is true that the white man is partly
responsible for the suppression of the African- American race. However, the individual
white male is not. It is just as unfair and suppressive to hold many white males
responsible for past persecution now as it was to discriminate against many
African-Americans in the generations before. Why should an honest, hard-working, open
minded, white male be suppressed, today, for past injustice? Affirmative action


accepts and condones the idea of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Do two wrongs make a right?



Affirmative action supporters make one large assumption when defending the policy. They
assume that minority groups want help. This, however, may not always be the case. They
fought to attain equality, not special treatment. To some of them, the acceptance of
special treatment is an admittance of inferiority. They ask, "Why can't I become
successful on my own? Why do I need laws to help me get a job?" These African Americans
want to be treated as equals, not as incompetents.




In a statement released in 1981 by the United States Commission on Civil Rights, Jack P.
Hartog, who directed the project, said: Only if discrimination were nothing more than the
misguided acts of a few prejudiced individuals would affirmative action plans be "reverse
discrimination." Only if today's society were operating fairly toward minorities and women
would measures that take race, sex, and national origin into account be "preferential
treatment." Only if discrimination were securely placed in a well-distant past would
affirmative action be an unneeded and drastic remedy.




What the commission failed to realize was that there are thousands of white males who are
not discriminating yet are being punished because of those who do. The Northern Natural
Gas Company of Omaha, Nebraska, was forced by the government to release sixty-five white
male workers to make room for minority employees in 1977 (Nebraska Advisory Committee 40).
Five major Omaha corporations reported that the number of white managers fell 25% in 1969
due to restrictions put on them when affirmative action was adopted (Nebraska Advisory
Committee 27). You ask, "What did these white males do to bring about their termination?"
The only crime that they were guilty of was being white. This hardly seems fair to punish
so many innocent men for the crimes of a relative few.




Then after the white male has been fired, he has to go out and find a new job to support
his family that depended on the company to provide health care and a retirement plan in
return for years of hard work. Now, because of affirmative action, this white male, and
the thousands like him, require more skills to get the same job that a lesser qualified
black man needs. This is, for all intents and purposes, discrimination, and it is a law
that our government strictly enforces.




Affirmative action is not only unfair for the working man, it is extremely discriminatory
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