Paper on The Failures Of Affirmative Action

This essay has a total of 1571 words and 8 pages.

The Failures Of Affirmative Action

The Failures of Affirmative Action


Thomas D Goslin III
Eng 114-55
Joranko & Robbins

Once upon a time, 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 one of the most discriminating pieces of legislature since the Jim
Crow Laws were passed.
Affirmative action was created in an effort to help minorities leap the
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 we 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? I think mother taught us better
than that.
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. My experience with minorities has led me to believe that
they fought to attain equality, not special treatment. To 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.
But the injustice toward the white male doesn't end there. After the
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