affirmative action1




Affirmative Action


As long as humanity has been thriving on the earth, inequalities have separated men. From the "haves" and "have nots" of the hunter and gatherer societies, to the Caste System of India, to the American Democracy. Is this fundamental inequality natural, or is it a problem that man should set out to remedy? Would society actually be able to exist with no inequality? These are the types of questions that were taken into consideration when perhaps the most anti-democrat bill ever to be entertained by the American Congress cam up for debate; enter Affirmative Action.
The roots for Affirmative Action stem all the way back into the era before the Civil War. With slavery an option as cheap labor, many people bought into the idea of it, both those in the North (mainly factories) and those in the South (mainly plantations). But there was one ripple in this ideal, those words in the Declaration of Independence "..That all men are created equal.." With these simple words, the changing of a nation was to follow. In 1857 a key event in the history of Affirmative Action took place, the Dred Scott decision. In this decision the Supreme Court ruled that slaves were "subordinate and inferior being," this is where the initial differences began. After this decision, Abraham Lincoln pushes for reconciliation with the Emancipation Proclamations, which on January 1, 1863, freed the slaves living in the South. After this monuments step, Congress pushed forward with the Thirteenth Amendment. Ratified on December 6, 1865, this permanently abolished slavery, but this did not end the dispute. The South rebuttled with the passage of the Black Codes and the Slave Codes. Regardless, the Congress pressed on with new legislation, namely the Fourteenth amendment. This legislation pushed for equal rights and protection under the law for slaves, under the Bill of Rights; it too passed in Congress and was ratified on July 9, 1868. Finally, this rush of legislation was capped by the Fifteenth Amendment, which guaranteed voting rights to slaves. As anyone can see, the majority of the step that were take were done so by the legislative process of the Congress. The intense debating of each bill, was refined down into these amendments to the Constitution. But with each bill and the passage of time, strong factions began to develop.
The first faction that pops into mind when Affirmative Action is mentioned is the NAACP. For many years now the NAACP has pushed for legislation that favored the minorities in areas such as employment and benefits. Legislation continued to be passed that heavily benefited the minorities to the point that it was quite detrimental to the majority. Here is where Affirmative Action steps in. So, what is Affirmative Action exactly? Effectively, Affirmative Action is the brain child of the Civil Rights Movement, which stems from the legislation passed years ago ; it was created to give special consideration to women and minorities, but has grossly deformed into what it is today. Through the pressures of the NAACP, legislation was passed through Congress that setup quotas in employment; this ensured that businesses would have to employ a certain number of people of different backgrounds and sexes, regardless of who was most qualified for the position. Seeing that the situation was growing out of hand, Congress passes legislation that limits the reaches of Affirmative Action, much to the despair of the NAACP. They cry that a great injustice has been done, but a greater question arises; is the basis for Affirmative Action an injustice? In a Democratic society, yes it is. "If you don\'t work, you don\'t eat,"(John Smith). You get what you work for, and in a Democratic society you have to make your own way. Obviously, in the beginning, slavery was unfair, but for how many generations should reconciliation be made? Ultimately, the minorities are given an unfair advantage; simply for the reason stated, they are a minority. But what about the people that are more qualified? When they are put out of jobs, will legislation be produced to protect them. This is one of the arguments that Congress faced when debating Affirmative Action, reverse discrimination. Regardless, American law-makers feel that it is still necessary to create an uneven playing field.
Affirmative Action raises serious ethical questions.