Affirmative Action A Need for Reform




Affirmative Action: A Need for Reform


The goal of affirmative action was not (or at least should not have been) to promote diversity.
The goal should have been to promote and ensure equality of opportunity for people regardless of
race, color, creed, gender or national origin. The system that has evolved since the civil rights

legislation of the 1960\'s is a misapplication of its original intent. Laws have been passed, quotas

have been established and seemingly, everything has been done to prevent discrimination, but

these new laws and quotas are only discriminating against a new group of people--the qualified

white male. The affirmative action system originally may have had a just intent, but I

sincerely believe it has been counterproductive in practice.

Affirmative action by design was intended to help minorities and women reach the same

levels of opportunity as the so-called majority, but in the process, reverse discrimination has

taken place. Graglia believes "affirmative action" has become simply a deceptive label for racial

preferences (31). This discrimination transgresses the basic American ideal that all people are

equal before the law and must be treated as individuals. With the mass media rarely recognizing

quotas much less portraying white males sympathetically, Peter Lynch, a sociological researcher,

states "white males have been silently victimized one by one" (qtd. in Brimelow and Spencer).

Now , in order to be employed, qualifications do not always matter as much as the color of a

person\'s skin or his ethnicity. Race and gender-based preferences have no place in an affirmative

action program. Race preferences were originally reserved for the approximately twelve-percent

of Americans who are black (O\'Sullivan 22). Today their beneficiaries of racial preference include Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, Alaskan natives and immigrants

who belong to the "protected classes." A whopping one-third of the population is currently

covered by race preferences--a figure that is predicted to inflate to about fifty-percent by the year

2050 since immigration from Third World countries is primarily responsible for transforming

America demographically (O\'Sullivan 22). These statistics essentially mean that a white male is

now almost three times as likely to suffer officially imposed negative discrimination as he was

thirty years ago (O\'Sullivan). Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream: "I have a dream that my four

little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,

but by the content of their character." Affirmative action will never fulfill Martin Luther King

Jr.\'s dream unless the program undergoes some reform. Is discrimination the solution to

resolving past discrimination? No, I don\'t believe so when it hurts others. Some people believe

that affirmative action is justified as a way of making up for past discrimination. Although

discrimination still exists in the United States, as it does in the rest of the world, most blacks

entering the job market today were born after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and have suffered little
prejudice when compared to their predecessors. In my opinion, affirmative action was a feeble

attempt to correct a long history of racial and sexual discrimination that seems to incite rather

than ease feelings of racial hostility.

Secondly, affirmative action promotes the hiring of less skilled workers. Affirmative action

sometimes forces employers to choose the best of the minority applicants, regardless of whether

they have the required skills, education or experience. Many colleges and universities frequently

also have quotas for how many blacks it is necessary to admit to "round out" their class

enrollments. Today\'s affirmative action can call for a college admissions officer faced with two similarly qualified applicants to choose the minority over the white, or for a manager to recruit

and hire a qualified woman for a job instead of a man. "Qualified" as defined by affirmative action
means minimally qualified (Koch 66). This guideline when applied in the real world, means that

whites and Asians--no matter how economically disadvantaged or educationally deprived--may

not compete equally in programs intended for blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and women

(Koch). Affirmative action decisions are not supposed to be based on quotas, nor are they

supposed to give any preference to unqualified candidates. The Supreme Court and other courts

have drastically reduced the scope of affirmative action, and