The debate over the implementation of affirmative action at the work place, school and in national and global politics continues to get complicated with demographic changes and gender power shifts take effect in the world. Affirmative action is based on the principle of implementing fairness and equal distribution of economic and political power equitably among all societal members despite differences in gender, religion or race. Affirmative action laws have been used to increase diversity in the work place, school, politics, economy and other social institutions to create tolerant communities and fair distribution of artificial and natural resources. Affirmative action has also provided marginalized communities and groups with opportunities at the work place, school, economy and politics. Affirmative action is also used by equal rights activists to overturn years of oppression on marginalized groups to equal and level the playing field in schools, work place, economy, politics and other social institutions. Despite these benefits resulting from affirmative action, the fact is that affirmative action is reverse discrimination against majority groups in the society. Affirmative action is also against the guiding principle of merit for public and private positions in social, political and economic institutions instead relying on race and gender as guiding principles in admissions and hiring putting off deserving candidates since they do not belong to marginalized groups. Affirmative action also promotes common stereotypes of marginalized groups and the feminine gender instead of creating an equal playing ground for all societal members. In order to promote true equitable treatment of all societal members, it is critical that social, economic and political institutions to ban affirmative action.
Affirmative action policies and laws have been established at work places, school admissions, economic opportunities and political fields to provide more opportunities for marginalized groups who would otherwise be left out in this institutions. Despite the principle of affirmative action having good intentions of integrating marginalized groups into social, political and economic institutions, the actual fact on the ground is that this practice promotes reverse discrimination. Reverse discrimination results in members of majority groups being denied opportunities by merit to be given to marginalized groups who have in the past experienced oppression and lack of opportunities. The universal human rights considers all persons as equal despite differences in gender, ethnicity, race and literacy and thus all people should be treated equally and be given equal chances for positions and admissions in social, economic and political institutions.
The practice of affirmative action denies members of majority or well positioned groups from accessing opportunities which they have merit. An example is the Stanford University admission policies which favored marginalized groups in the recruitment, admissions, hiring, contracting and financial aid distribution in favor of marginalized groups. This policy has resulted in individuals from the middle and upper class backgrounds, Asians and Whites from accessing admissions, financial aid and hiring at Stanford (Sander 381). Race and gender makeup of individuals is thus the dominant factor in admissions and hiring instead of meriotocracy. It is important for the society and social institutions to abolish the practice of affirmative action and instead uphold an individual’s merit and qualifications as the dominant factor in recruiting and admitting individuals to social, economic and political institutions. Although affirmative action principles are meant to foster diversity and tolerance at social, economic and political institutions, the result is the opposite since these preferential treatment of certain societal members creates divides in these institutions disrupting harmony and integration in these institutions as the marginalized are viewed as underserving and burdens to the rest of the team.
Affirmative action often results in members of marginalized and oppressed groups getting positions and admittance to schools and the work place even when they are poorly prepared or qualified for these positions. The result is that schools and companies end up with people who are not qualified or suitable for the given position. In academic institutions this practice of affirmative action has resulted in reduced academic performance and lost opportunities for students who would have made a great impact in the academic field. In companies affirmative action will result in hiring of unqualified employees just because they belong to an oppressed or marginalized societal group. Such employees cannot perform to required levels and result in loss of revenues and lost opportunities and talent for individuals who have merit for the given position (Spenner 313).
Affirmative action activists support the practice as a weapon to fight against stereotypes such as women cannot be leaders, girls cannot be engineers or scientists and other common stereotypes. When members of marginalized groups are given positions in social, economic and political institutions primarily based on their race or gender it reinforces the stereotypes being fought against. If a woman is placed as head engineer based on her gender as a woman, then the rest of her companions will tend to reinforce the belief that a woman can never be qualified to be head engineer, instead they have to rely on favors and help from affirmative action policies.
The proponents of affirmative action support the practice as an effective way of obtaining diversity and tolerance at social, economic and political institutions. This is because affirmative action results in favorable considerations for all societal members despite their gender or race differences. The practice promotes diversity since it exposes societal members to different cultures, genders and ideas. However, some members of institutions which uphold the practice of affirmative action view members of marginalized groups as liabilities and burdens who do not deserve the position they have been given through biased means. This creates animosity and intolerance at these institutions further dividing the community along gender and racial lines (Lowell 118).
The other supporting argument promoted by proponents of affirmative action is that the practice helps disadvantaged people coming from areas or communities with minimal opportunities to be part of mainstream societal institutions. This enables marginalized groups to be given an equal playing field for a more balanced and equitable society. However the law of equitability requires that all individuals be treated equally to get a real equal playing field based on merit rather than gender and racial differences.
Although affirmative action is meant to foster diversity and tolerance at the work place or other institution, it does not necessarily improve tolerance and diversity on individual members of the community. I firmly believe that affirmative action has been overtaken by time and thus should be banned and replaced by laws and regulations that promote equal opportunity sharing and individual competition to get positions or admissions to social, economic and political institutions.