Affirmative Action

This essay has a total of 1658 words and 8 pages.

Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action


Affirmative action is meant to be an attempt at equality throughout society. It
supposedly proposes that each person receives equal opportunities in the classroom
as well as the work force. Not only would this apply to minorities but to women
as well. Every sector in America would be equal and unprejudiced - or so proponents
say. On the other hand, adopting affirmative action would force many employers to
replace hard-working employees with those of less qualification simply due to their
gender or ethnic background. Many people feel that affirmative action would be very
beneficial to our society. They have many thought-inspiring arguments. Some claim that we
owe blacks for what we took from them in the past. We gave them a setback in our economic
system, and affirmative action would be our way of reimbursing them for time and
opportunities they lost out on (Norman 50). But where should the line be drawn; how much
do we do to repay people - in this case blacks - for past wrongs? Is it enough to give
them equal rights, or will we give them extra opportunities to make up for those

we took away? It has been argued that the black sector in America, in general, is
lower in class due to their environment prior to the Civil War, but the black people
of today are not those who lived then. Each person today - no matter their gender,
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origin, race, belief, or whatever difference has the same opportunities as everyone
else. In my opinion no one needs any special favors to get ahead. In this paper I will
discuss some of the problems with affirmative action. These include disgruntled employees,
reverse discrimination, and the negative effect on our economic status. People who are for
affirmative action have many possible positive outcomes as a result of this law passing,
some of which have already been implicated. The first subject I will discuss is diversity
in the work place, including women and minorities.

Proponents of affirmative action attempt to show that diversity in the work force
has brought with it improved skills and new insights (Carlton 20). I agree that
diversity could encourage the majority to learn more about minorities by forcing
them to work side by side. On the other hand, it could also create tension due to
the fact that the minorities may replace those who have held a particular job for
a long period of time. There would be a feeling of loyalty among those previously
employed, and it would only be natural for them to become bitter and resent the minority
worker who took the already filled positions simply due to their race or gender.
Instead of creating a more unified society, as some would suggest, it is more likely
that affirmative action could create more divisions among employees and people in
general. Statistics have shown that affirmative action has found jobs for a large number
of minorities and women. In 1995, sixty percent of the work force was made up of
minorities and women. That was an increase from the 1979 estimate of forty percent.
In the same way, women's wages increased 119 percent from 1979 to 1982 (Carlton
22). There still remains the question: how much longer should we attempt to right
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our wrongs? If minorities make up sixty percent of today's work force, will we keep
going until it becomes eighty percent, or ninety? The answer is most likely not. It
appears that affirmative action has fulfilled its purpose and has now outlasted its
usefulness and should be done away with. Finding jobs for minorities and women was a step
in the right direction, but affirmative action was a rather controversial - perhaps

even unconstitutional - way to do it. I have no problem with a qualified woman or minority
getting a job. However the key word is qualified, and I do have a problem with it if they
are given the job based only on what they are and not what they can do. I have applied for
many jobs, only a few of which I had been accepted for employment. Each one of the
rejections was a sign to me that maybe I wasn't qualified for that particular job. All it
did was make me try harder at my next interview. In my opinion it would make me feel worse
if I got a job knowing there were far more qualified people ahead of me who didn't get the
job or lost it because of me. It makes no sense to fire a perfectly qualified person and
then hire a new employee who is not as qualified. The Supreme Court, on July 12, 1995,
criticized affirmative action saying it was not morally justifiable and could amount to
unconstitutional reverse discrimination and harm for those it was seeking to advance. In
addition to the problems it could cause in the workplace, affirmative action is also
reverse discrimination. Next I will talk about the ways affirmative action reversibly
discriminates against white males.

We spend so much time trying to find equality and unity between whites and those people of
other colors. What about minorities among whites? Should the Irish-Americans receive
benefits like affirmative action if they are a minority to German-

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Americans? I am Italian, and if I came to the U.S. to look for a job sixty years ago I
would have been called a variety of names and would have been discriminated against just
as much as the next black man. However I have no desire to get a handout because of what
happened sixty years ago. Basing whether a person receives a job on their race seems a lot
like discrimination, which is what we are trying to eliminate in the first place. It is
also discrimination to take jobs and opportunities from white males, who happen to be the
majority. It is referred to as reverse discrimination, and while followers of affirmative
action say it does not exist, it obviously does (Norman 51). To give a percentage of jobs
to the minority, the majority will have to give a percentage of their jobs up. It is
generally accepted that discrimination is wrong, and that should include biases against
the majority - not just the minorities. Aside from the personal stab it is to the
individual who is getting fired, it is also a stab at our economy and production
possibilities. My next topic is the negative effect affirmative action has on our economy.

Not only does affirmative action have a negative effect on the social aspects of
our country, but it also greatly affects our economic status. By replacing well-qualified
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