Affirmative action works

Affirmative action works. There are thousands of examples of situations where people of color, white women, and working class women and men of all races who were previously excluded from jobs or educational opportunities, or were denied opportunities once admitted, have gained access through affirmative action. When these policies received executive branch and judicial support, vast numbers of people of color, white women and men have gained access they would not otherwise have had.

These gains have led to very real changes. Affirmative action programs have not eliminated racism, nor have they always been implemented without problems. However, there would be no struggle to roll back the gains achieved if affirmative action policies were ineffective. The implementation of affirmative action was America’s first honest attempt at solving a problem, it had previously chosen to ignore. In a variety of areas, from the quality of health care to the rate of employment, blacks still remain far behind whites.

Their representation in the more prestigious professions is still almost insignificant. Comparable imbalances exist for other racial and ethnic minorities as well as for women. Yet, to truly understand the importance of affirmative action, one must look at America’s past discrimination to see why, at this point in history, we must become more “color conscious”. History Of Discrimination In America: Events Leading To Affirmative Action.

The Declaration of Independence asserts that “all men are created equal. ” Yet America is scarred by a long history of legally imposed inequality. Snatched from their native land, transported thousands of miles-in a nightmare of disease and death-and sold into slavery, blacks in America were reduced to the legal status of farm animals. A Supreme Court opinion, Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), made this official by classifying slaves as a species of “private property. “

Affirmative Action: Public Opinion vs. Policy

When Justin Ketcham, a white college student from the suburbs, thinks about affirmative action, he thinks about what happened when he sent out letters seeking scholarships so he could attend Stanford University after being accepted during his senior year of high school. The organizations that wrote back told him their money was reserved for women or minorities. To Americans like Ketcham, it’s a matter of fairness. The average white male will claim that it’s not fair to attempt to rebalance scales by balancing them the other way.

Students like Ketcham are also more likely to claim that affirmative action is a program eared towards curtailing workplace prejudices that really don’t exist anymore. But when Hillary Williams, a black insurance company manager from the inner-city, thinks about affirmative action, she thinks about the time she had to train three consecutive white male bosses for a job that no one even approached her about filling. To her, it’s also a question of fairness.

African-Americans like Hillary feel that there is just no other was besides affirmative action to level the playing field in certain businesses. And so the disparity in public opinion begins. A racially-divided America creates separate roups, which “Affirmative Action issue taps a fundamental cleavage in American Society” (Gamson and Modigliani 170)–each with their own view of affirmative action on different sides of the line. Government attempts to create policy based upon the voice of the people but affirmative action seems to present an almost un-solvable dilemma.

Traditionally, it had been a policy that was greatly scrutinized for its quotas and alleged unfairness towards Blacks, but at the same time it had also been praised for its inherent ability to help minorities gets jobs they deserve but could not obtain otherwise. So how do we each a “happy medium” so-to-speak? In American political culture, it appears as though individualism and egalitarianism are values that find themselves on opposite ends of the political battlefield.

In a complex world of political ideology and political culture are sets of values and principles that are widely endorsed by politicians, educators, the media and other opinion leaders that make up the definition of what is to be American (Feldman and Zaller). Some favor the values of individual freedom, especially individual economic freedom, over other values, especially equality and popular sovereignty (egalitarianism). These people are labeled Conservatives. The other side of the spectrum consider themselves as Liberals (Feldman and Zaller).

Because we live in a meritocracy created by the strong forces of capitalism, there is a tendency for people to fall behind either in the economy or in the academic community. During the Civil Rights movement of 1960’s, affirmative action was implemented with the idea and hope that America would finally become truly equal. The tension of the 1960s civil rights movement had made it very clear that the nations minority and female population was not receiving equal social and economic opportunity. The implementation of affirmative action was America’s first honest attempt at solving a problem it had previously chose to ignore.

The Philadelphia Plan was one of the first major vehicles for affirmative action named for the first city in which a labor department agreement with federal contractors had been reached. “The plan set specific numerical goals for each of the minority employment and the availability pool. ” Labor Department officials announced that “because of the deplorably low rate of employment among minority groups” in the industry, they would set up similar plans in other major cities (Gamson and Modigliani 139). Today, without a college degree will definitely decrease the chance of upward mobility.

Public universities give preferences to minorities based on race and gender. Many private universities, including Harvard, Chicago and Stanford, have given preferences to the children of alumni, faculty, and athletes. This is not to say that public universities give the same preferential treatment, but it goes to show that public institutions use affirmative action to uplift the non-privileged minority (Leslie 1991, 59). And universities gives special scholarships and fellowships to a limited amount of applicants from a particular, egional, gender, ethnic, or religious backgrounds (Lipset 39).

Conservatives believe that people could achieve social mobility by “hard work (and ambition) rather than lucky breaks or help from other people” (Lipset 30). From 1983 through 1990, surveys taken by NORC found that around two-thirds of respondents consistently agreed that “people get ahead by hard work (and) a much largerpercentage said ambition” (Lipset 30). In October 1989, poll taken by ABC News-Washington Post, found that 60 percent of whites and 60 percent of blacks agreed with the statements: “if blacks would try harder, they could be just as well off as whites. “

Affirmative Action Essay

Papers are piling up on top of a desk. People are running around trying to meet their deadlines. Assignments are being pushed back to later dates. Phones are being answered, but put on hold for the next available representatives. The president of the firm puts out a notice of hire. The word is spread throughout the business community through the newspaper and the internet. Resumes are received every business day. The board members of the firm review hundreds of resumes that are received daily. They rate the applications according to qualifications and experiences.

The names are disregarded at this point. A dozen of the applicants are chosen, and notified to setup initial interviews. One applicant meets all the qualifications, and has had numerous experiences in the field. This applicant clearly surpasses all the other applicants. The commitee is very impressed by this young man. He heads home in delight, hoping to hear from the marketing firm again. Unfortunately, he never hears from them again. The main reason why he was not chosen, was because of the color of his skin. Since he is Asian, they could not hire him, because 50% of their employees are Asian.

Under the affirmative action, they must employ someone who s underrepresented. This type of situation happens often. It is not the qualifications, but the color of the skin that employers look for today. Affirmative action is a step backwards. We are back to color and race differences. We are all Americans and should be treated as so, not what ethnicity we are. Affirmative action should be abolished solely because we do not want to make the same mistake our society made in the past — discriminate according to color. Two wrongs do not make a right.

Many people say that we should keep affirmative action to render fairness to the minorities because of the wrongs that was once put on to them. This simply does not make sense. To compensate someone, a person must have gone through an experience. People today did not go through such discrimination, as their past ancestors. How can we punish someone for what they had no control? Our white society today did not commit the wrongs that were committed a generation ago. We should not punish them, but rather treat everyone fairly. We should treat everyone as Americans.

As Bakke quotes the Constitution, “… The guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment extend to all persons. It’s language is explicit: “No State shall… deny to any person within its urisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ” It is settled beyond question that the rights created by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment are, by its terms, guaranteed to the individual. ” (Bakke, p. 485) In the past, we were fighting to abolish racial separation, but today, we have affirmative action, which still brings about the separation of the different races.

We should fight for equality for all. Affirmative action affects everyone, including our children. Under the affirmative action law, our schools are currently recruiting students according to race and color. According to a critic on affirmative action, “A college board survey, described in Andrew Hacker’s Two Nations, in 1992 the average combined SAT score for black students whose parents earn more than $70,000 a year was 854, which was twenty-five points lower than the average SAT for white students whose parents earn less than $20,000 a year. ” (Rosen, p. )

In effect, the solution by supporters of affirmative action is to lower the school’s standards so that they can accept a more diverse group of students. This solution is ridiculous, simply because everyone has a chance to do good. It is just a matter of effort. If a student is spoiled, and does not realize how important an education is, he will not study as hard as someone who has been brought up with education as their number one goal. Family incomes have less to do with SAT scores than the efforts students put into their studies. We should not lower our standards.

Instead, all students should raise their own standards in order to improve our society. For example, the University of California in Berkeley has a diverse student body with a majority of Asians. An Asian student coming out of high school with a 4. 0 GPA, and a list of extra curricular ctivities would not be accepted simply because of his ethnicity. Instead the school would rather accept a Mexican student with a 3. 0 GPA. Why should the student who did not study as hard be rewarded just because of his race? Nobody has the choice of ethnicity when they are born, so we should not deprive anyone when they make the effort.

Affirmative action also brings about different standards in grading. The National Merit Scholarship has one standard for African Americans, and one for the rest of the applicants. This type of double standards is absurd, because black students are not graded any differently in the classroom. This also implies that black students are not capable of handling the same material as the rest of the Americans are. This double standard, in itself, is an insult to the black community. There are many black people who want to be treated equally, without any special assistance.

By giving minorities special treatment, we are simultaneously insulting them by implying they are of a lower class. As Judge O’Connor of Richmond county states, “Classifications based on race carry a danger of stigmatic harm. Unless they are strictly reserved for remedial settings, they may in fact promote notions of acial inferiority and lead to a politics of racial hostility. We thus reaffirm the view expressed by the plurality in Wygant that the standard of review under the Equal Protection Clause is not dependent on the race of those burdened or benefited by a particular classification. (O’Connor, p. 500)

We do not want to cause any more hostility than there already is in our society by imposing special standards. Our goal is to promote unity in our society, not separation. This also affects the efficiency in our workforce. In the work place, people hired under special assistance may slow the process. If someone was hired over another simply because of the color of his skin, and not by his qualifications, the business loses as well. They must pay someone the same salary they would have paid a more efficient employee.

Lowering standards in the workplace, to accommodate a race, is a step back to poorly made products. In the 1980’s, American cars were marked with a distinction of poor quality. Since then, our cars have vastly improved, but the distinction is still planted in many people’s minds. If we lower our standards in the white collar force, we may develop the same distinction in our corporate businesses as we have in our cars. Another point is that many people say that affirmative action will bring diversity to our workforce.

A projection done by the San Jose Tribune suggests that by the year 2000, white males will make up only 10% of new hires. This does not promote diversity, rather reverse discrimination. To have a unified and peaceful society, we must move away from the separation of color lines. We moved forward when we abolished segregation, but we are now moving back by imposing Affirmative action. This is not the way to solve anything. Affirmative action will just cause more hostility between races, which in turn, can lead to hatred.

The affirmative action debate: possible influences

Discrimination against minorities in the United States has existed for centuries, and each generation makes its own attempt to end this discrimination. The Civil War brought emancipation, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 helped protected groups gain employment, and the Affirmative Action legislation of 1996 completed the gaps left by the Civil Rights Act. Although prejudices in American society have diminished greatly since the Civil War and even since the Civil Rights Act was passed, discrimination is still present within the United States.

Because there is no guarantee that employers will hire based solely upon merit and abilities, legislation is necessary to ensure that members of protected groups are not treated unfairly during the hiring and promotional processes. Affirmative action policies help regulate employment opportunities for women and minorities so that they are not robbed of job opportunities because of their status as a woman or minority member. Affirmative action policies act as the babysitters for organizations, and while they may need revision, they are certainly still necessary.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 While Affirmative Action is a fairly new government policy, its roots lie in the Civil Rights Act of 1964; however, America’s attempt to end discrimination in the workplace does not begin there. During their terms in the White House, both Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt took steps to end discrimination. Eisenhower’s executive orders on federal contract compliance led to Roosevelt’s Executive Order 88021 of 1941, which banned discrimination in war industries and in the armed services (Mills,1994,p. 5).

Kennedy took the actions of these presidents one step further when he established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a branch of the federal government that is very active today. Although Kennedy only used the phrase “affirmative action” once while outlining the Commission’s goals, he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 two years later, giving America, and Bill Clinton, firm ground to begin Affirmative Action. While the federal government had long since regulated things, such as food and medicine, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the first instance of its regulation of human behavior (Muchinsky, 2003, p. 0).

Because African Americans were so underemployed, the government intervened in America’s hiring practices. Title VII of the Act allows the federal government to regulate and monitor the hiring practice that occurs within American organizations. The Civil Rights Act specifies that an employer may not refuse to hire based on one’s membership in a protected group, which the government defined as members of society who are granted legal recognition by virtue of a demographic characteristic, such as race, gender, national origin, color, age, religion, or disability.

Although protected groups encompass age, national origin, religion, and disability, most of the popular attention that the Civil Rights Act garnered was based upon race and gender. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 regulates all aspects of decision making and functions regarding personnel, including practices of training, promotion, retention, and performance appraisal. It also specifies that tests, interviews, assessment centers, and other on-the-job personnel evaluations and decisions are subject to the same guidelines and standards as hiring practices (Muchinsky, 2003, p. 0).

Kennedy carefully worded the Act so as not to give any preferential treatment to minority members, and, unlike Affirmative Action, the Civil Rights Act does not state that an employer must maintain a racial balance within his organization. The Act states that an employer cannot refuse to hire, or discharge, any person due to their membership in one of the protected groups. An employer may not separate or categorize applicants so as to deny anyone employment on the basis of their membership in any of the protected groups.

The Act also states that, when advertising employment or training opportunities, an employer cannot indicate his preference for any group, protected or non (Muchinsky, 2003, p. 141). Legal Theories of Discrimination The consequences of incompliance with the Civil Rights Act are based upon two legal theories of discrimination, adverse, or disparate, impact and disparate treatment.

According to the Act and to the federal government, adverse impact occurs when the result of using a particular personnel selection method results in an adverse effect on protected group members, in comparison with majority group members (Muchinsky, 2003, p. 1). For example, if there is evidence that an organization is refusing or failing to hire an entire group, such as African Americans or the aged, then adverse impact has occurred. Disparate treatment involves the treatment of a member of members of a protected group based. According to the Civil Rights Act, all job applicants should receive equal treatment and consideration during the hiring process.

If an organization is singling out a member or members of a protected group and treating them differently during the employment process, then the organization is engaging in disparate treatment of these individuals (Muchinsky, 2003, p. 141). Adverse impact is operationalized in the “80%” or “4/5ths” rule. This rule examines the selection ratio, the number of those hired divided by the number of those who applied, within an organization. According to the rule, if the selection ratio for any one of the protected groups is less than eighty percent of the selection ratio for another group, then adverse impact has occurred.

The EEOC investigates charges of adverse impact, and offers one of two ways for an organization to correct the problem: the organization may either prove that the test they are using is genuinely a valid predictor of job performance, or they must use a different test or measure that does not result in adverse impact (Muchinsky, 2004, p. 142). While the Civil Rights Act and the involvement of the EEOC in personnel decision- making benefited minorities entering the workforce, it was not enough to create equality.

Simply changing the guidelines for hiring practices does not allow any minority group to “catch up” to the others; it simply allows them to join the employment game in which they are so far behind. Psychological Theories of Discrimination Although the government has lent its own theories and definitions of discrimination to the Affirmative Action debate, the driving force of discrimination lies within human nature; the basic concept of discrimination is a psychological one that has been examined for centuries.

In 1957, Gary Becker asserted that certain groups have a tendency to discriminate based upon an aversion to other groups. Becker asserts that the two most blatant and frequent forms of discrimination are racial discrimination and sexual discrimination. Through marriage, men and women diminish the amount of gender discrimination because marriage often promotes equality within the home, which furthers equality within the workplace. However, interracial marriage is still taboo within American society, providing few opportunities to breach the gap among races and ethnicities.

Becker asserts that the fundamental basis of all discrimination is a lack of understanding or knowledge of race, ethnicity, and gender; people are afraid of, and therefore discriminate against, that which they do not understand. Discrimination against immigrants may result from their tendency to live in areas where other immigrants of their own country have already settled. DeFreitas(2000) found that over half of the Mexican immigrants in the United States work principally with other Mexican immigrants, and they most often work in small establishments(p. 102).

This separation often leads to a smaller customer pool; most of the customers who frequent the immigrants’ establishments were also Mexican immigrants. These customers were more likely to demand products of which the immigrant has particular knowledge, discouraging him from expanding his knowledge of other skills or products. DeFreitas also asserts that the language barrier between many immigrants and other members of American society lends to discrimination; by associating primarily, or solely, with members of their own ethnicity, these workers were not given incentive to learn the English language.

Kossoudiji (1988) found that a lack of English language does not lead to a lack of productivity; it merely leads to a resistance to assimilate. If immigrants are able to thrive socially as well as productively within their own enclaves in America, then they have no incentive to break down cultural barriers. Therefore, they have neither the drive nor the ability to join the workforce outside of their communities, and this separation lends to discrimination. Evans (2003) found that whites may be less likely to discriminate in an affirmative action environment due to a sense of guilt.

The majority of white participants reported a sense of guilt, a self – focused emotion, in association with discrimination towards African Americans in the workforce. Personal guilt is often associated with restitution, and the study found white guilt to be predictive of support for affirmative action. Guidelines of Federal Affirmative Action In 1995, because of the continuing debate over affirmative action, Clinton requested a review of all affirmative action programs, and, despite noticeable need for improvement, Clinton judged Federal affirmative action programs to be fair (White House, 1995).

Affirmative Action built upon the Civil Rights Act of 1964; however, instead of simply helping protected groups enter the workforce, Affirmative Action aimed to create employment equity for those who received the initial “push” from the Civil Rights Act. The first goal of affirmative action explicitly states that the legislation is aimed at correcting past inequities and remedying the effects of those iniquities. This section of Affirmative Action is perhaps the least understood and most debated because it does not specify as to how Americans are supposed to correct the discrimination that dates back to the foundation of this country.

The remaining purposes of Affirmative Action are geared towards correcting current discrimination within the workforce. It proposes to promote diversity within the government and private organizations, asserting that increasing the number of minorities in any work environment will lead to an increase in the diversity of skills, ideas, and values. Affirmative Action aims to promote inclusion and representation in occupations and to improve the economic standing of minorities and women (White House, 1995). Types of Affirmative Action within an Organization

According to Ledvinka and Scarpello (1991), there are five types, or levels, of affirmative action within an organization. The first of these levels is recruitment, in which an organization specifically aims its recruitment policies towards protected group members. The second involves removing discriminatory obstacles; in order to do so, an organization must take action in such ways as altering training programs, creating special training programs, and to identify and revise policies that result in discrimination.

The third type of affirmative action is referred to as soft preferential treatment, and is possibly the second most controversial aspect of affirmative action . Ledvinka and Scarpello operationalized soft preferential treatment in terms of selecting or choosing the protected group member; if a protected group member and a nonprotected group member apply for the same position, the organization hires the protected group member.

This treatment is most frequently used when both applicants are equally qualified for the position. However, soft preferential treatment is sometimes used even when the protected group member meets the basic qualifications necessary to perform the job, even though the nonprotected group member is more qualified overall. The most controversial type of affirmative action, hard preferential treatment, is operationalized in terms of selecting a protected group member due solely to their membership in the protected group.

Those who oppose this treatment have proposed that it is synonymous with reverse discrimination, although it is exemplified in common practices, such as the use of quotas or race norming (Ledvinka & Scarpello, 1991). The fifth level of affirmative action is diversity, whose efforts are aimed at creating a multicultural work environment. Attitude and Trait Theories A large part of understanding the basis and possible reactions to Affirmative Action in the workplace is understanding certain theories associated with the idea.

Fishbein and Ajzen’s reasoned action theory (1975) asserts that people are rational decision makers who carefully examine available information when forming an attitude. Human beings are viewed as rational, cautious decision makers in all aspects of their lives. Fishbein and Ajzen examine the actual behavior of an individual, not the reaction to a proposed policy or to another person. The best predictor of their behavior is the expressed intention to behave in a certain manner, and behavior is directed towards a certain object.

In the case of Affirmative Action within the workplace, the object is another person. For example, the reasoned action theory would apply to the behavior of a male employee towards a female employee whom he believes was hired due to Affirmative Action guidelines, and experimenters would measure his behavior towards this female. In another scenario, the theory would apply to the way in which one involved in personnel decision – making might behave when asked to comply with Affirmative Action within his own organization (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1975).

The two primary components used to predict behavioral intentions are the individual’s attitudes or beliefs about performing the behavior and the individual’s subject norm, or the pressure on the individual to either perform or not perform the behavior (Fishbein, 1980). Attitudes and behavior stem from two different sources, the first being the individual’s estimate of the probability that the behavior will have a particular outcome. The second component is the individual’s evaluation of each single outcome; he must perceive the outcome as either favorable or unfavorable.

For example, if one were going to predict the behavior of a personnel officer was going to react to the implementation of Affirmative Action policies which he opposes, one must first examine the officer’s beliefs regarding the outcome of implementing the policy; one must examine whether the officer believes that, by following Affirmative Action guidelines, he must hire more minority employees (or, from the officer’s viewpoint, whether he could avoid hiring these minorities).

Secondly, one must also examine the extent to which the officer believes that, by sabotaging the implementation of Affirmative Action policies, he could actually accomplish his intended goal of not hiring minorities. One must also examine other perceptions that the officer may hold, such as the belief that his own performance appraisal may suffer if he does not hire minorities. By weighing all components of the officer’s attitude, one is able to predict whether he will indeed sabotage the implementation of Affirmative Action.

The attribution theory (Heider, 1958) examines how people evaluate others and how people make inferences about the causes of individual behavior, as well as about the causes of events. This theory allows researchers to study the impact that Affirmative Action may have on both others’ perceptions of its beneficiaries and the beneficiaries’ perceptions of their own abilities. In simplified terms, the attribution theory states that people are motivated to understand the underlying causes of all human behavior.

Trope (1986) classified these causes as either situational or dispositional. Situational attributions are those which assign the cause of the behavior to some external or environmental event. Dispositional attributions place the cause of behavior within an individual. For example, a student with situational attributions would decide that he scored well on a test because the test was easy. A student with dispositional attributions would decide that he scored well on the test because he prepared well for it.

Using the basic principles of the attribution theory, one can examine the ways in which people evaluate the beneficiaries of Affirmative Action; the theory helps investigate the ways in which these policies affect people’s views of the abilities of those who benefit from such policies. Under Affirmative Action and preferential treatment guidelines, women and minorities may be hired or promoted partially because of their membership in a protected group.

This treatment does not guarantee that all minority members and women are unqualified and therefore hired solely due to their protected group status. However, research has found that many people believe that Affirmative Action places more emphasis on group status than it does on ability when employment decisions are made (Eberhardt & Fiske, 1994; Kravitz et al. , 1999). It may be this belief system, and not people’s objective opinion of the reality of the work environment, that cause some to oppose Affirmative Action.

The attribution theory suggests that some people will make situational attributions to the hiring or success of beneficiaries when they believe such success is based upon preferential treatment. In a non-Affirmative Action based work environment, people may be more likely to attribute others’ successes in a dispositional manner; one would likely believe that a coworker received a pay raise due to his job performance. However, in an Affirmative Action environment, employees may be more likely to attribute successes in a situational manner (Eberhardt & Fiske, 1994).

When a race – or sex – based policy is present, workers have an alternate explanation for the successes achieved by those as a result of such policies. This attribution allows people to question the competency and abilities of the beneficiaries, and this external attribution is likely to increase when stronger forms of Affirmative Action are used. Nonbeneficiaries are likely to attribute the success of beneficiaries in part, if not completely, to the affects of the policy.

According to the attribution theory, Affirmative Action policies may lead to negative attributions towards beneficiaries because nonbeneficiaries may overestimate their own abilities when comparing themselves to minorities or women, especially when in competition for an opportunity (Larwood, 1982). One who is considered an “average” worker may believe that he possesses qualifications superior to those of a beneficiary. This system of beliefs would cause the nonbeneficiary to perceive the beneficiary more negatively, attributing the beneficiary’s success to affirmative action, an external factor.

The attribution theory also examines beneficiaries’ perception of their own abilities and merit. The attribution theory predicts that, like their nonbeneficiary competitors or coworkers, beneficiaries may attribute their own success to the implementation of affirmative action policies. However, Eberhardt and Fiske (1994) assert that this may not always be the case. Humans tend to evaluate themselves in more positive terms than they evaluate others, and this bias may actually negate some potentially negative effects of affirmative action.

Secondly, beneficiaries may feel a sense of entitlement to affirmative action benefits, and the benefits may in turn lend to the beneficiary’s self – confidence (Stewart & Shapiro, 1999). Individual – Collectivism focuses on how individual and cultural differences shape one’s opinions of others, especially within a work environment. Triandis (1996) suggests that the attributes associated with individual – collectivism can be defined by the meaning of the self, the structure of goals, norms and attitudes, and the degree of focus on the need of the group.

Individualistic people can be defined as those who stress individual efforts and competitiveness. They give priority to personal goals and view the self and social space in terms of individuals. Collectivists rely upon groups as the primary unit of analysis, and for collectivists, behavior is a function of group norms and then attitudes. Individualists view relationships in the work environment in terms of exchange, while collectivists view these relationships in more communal terms; collectivists tend to have beliefs which center on solidarity and group well – being.

For collectivists, the workplace and its employees comprise a community in which each person must work for the betterment of the “family. ” Individualists tend to view the workplace as an opportunity for personal betterment. Affirmative action programs require individualists to operate in a collectivistic manner; these individuals must often sacrifice or alter their own goals for the good of the group. Therefore, one would predict that individualists would strongly oppose affirmative action, while collectivists would easily comply with the programs.

The “Big Five” approach to personality, also referred to as the five – factor personality model (McCrae & Costa, 1985), helps predict individual’s opinions of and reactions to affirmative action based upon their personality type. According to this theory, one can reduce any of the possible personality related attributes to five basic factors using any number of different statistical methods. The first factor in the “Big 5” theory is neuroticism, the individual’s level of stability versus instability.

The second factor is extraversion, the individual’s tendency to be assertive, sociable, active, talkative, outgoing, and energetic. The third factor is openness to experience; one who is open is curious, imaginative, and unconventional. The fourth factor is agreeableness, the individual’s disposition to be cooperative, helpful, and easy to get along with. The final factor of the theory is conscientiousness, the individual’s tendency to be purposeful, organized, controlled, and determined; one who is conscientious is likely to be viewed as a good worker (Muchinsky, 2003, p. 5-146).

Although very little research has been done on the Big Five personality traits in relation to view on affirmative action, one would imagine that certain personality traits would cause an individual to be more or less opposed to the policy. For example, one who is very agreeable may be more likely to accept and agree with affirmative action implementation in his work place. However, one who is very conscientiousness may be too concerned with his own success and abilities to agree with the policy.

Affirmative Action: Public Opinion vs. Policy

When Justin Ketcham, a white college student from the suburbs, thinks about affirmative action, he thinks about what happened when he sent out letters seeking scholarships so he could attend Stanford University after being accepted during his senior year of high school. The organizations that wrote back told him their money was reserved for women or minorities. To Americans like Ketcham, it’s a matter of fairness. The average white male will claim that it’s not fair to attempt to rebalance scales by balancing them the other way.

Students like Ketcham are also more likely to claim that affirmative action is a program eared towards curtailing workplace prejudices that really don’t exist anymore. But when Hillary Williams, a black insurance company manager from the inner-city, thinks about affirmative action, she thinks about the time she had to train three consecutive white male bosses for a job that no one even approached her about filling. To her, it’s also a question of fairness.

African-Americans like Hillary feel that there is just no other was besides affirmative action to level the playing field in certain businesses. And so the disparity in public opinion begins. A racially-divided America creates separate roups, which “Affirmative Action issue taps a fundamental cleavage in American Society” (Gamson and Modigliani 170)–each with their own view of affirmative action on different sides of the line. Government attempts to create policy based upon the voice of the people but affirmative action seems to present an almost un-solvable dilemma.

Traditionally, it had been a policy that was greatly scrutinized for its quotas and alleged unfairness towards Blacks, but at the same time it had also been praised for its inherent ability to help minorities gets jobs they deserve but could not obtain otherwise. So how do we reach a “happy medium” so-to-speak? In American political culture, it appears as though individualism and egalitarianism are values that find themselves on opposite ends of the political battlefield.

In a complex world of political ideology and political culture are sets of values and principles that are widely endorsed by politicians, educators, the media and other opinion leaders that make up the definition of what is to be American (Feldman and Zaller). Some favor the values of individual freedom, especially individual economic freedom, over other values, especially equality nd popular sovereignty (egalitarianism). These people are labeled Conservatives. The other side of the spectrum consider themselves as Liberals (Feldman and Zaller).

Because we live in a meritocracy created by the strong forces of capitalism, there is a tendency for people to fall behind either in the economy or in the academic community. During the Civil Rights movement of 1960’s, affirmative action was implemented with the idea and hope that America would finally become truly equal. The tension of the 1960s civil rights movement had made it very clear that the nations minority and female population was not eceiving equal social and economic opportunity. The implementation of affirmative action was America’s first honest attempt at solving a problem it had previously chose to ignore.

The Philadelphia Plan was one of the first major vehicles for affirmative action named for the first city in which a labor department agreement with federal contractors had been reached. “The plan set specific numerical goals for each of the minority employment and the availability pool. ” Labor Department officials announced that “because of the deplorably low rate of employment among minority groups” in the industry, they ould set up similar plans in other major cities (Gamson and Modigliani 139). Today, without a college degree will definitely decrease the chance of upward mobility.

Public universities give preferences to minorities based on race and gender. Many private universities, including Harvard, Chicago and Stanford, have given preferences to the children of alumni, faculty, and athletes. This is not to say that public universities give the same preferential treatment, but it goes to show that public institutions use affirmative action to uplift the non-privileged minority (Leslie 1991, 59). And universities gives special cholarships and fellowships to a limited amount of applicants from a particular, regional, gender, ethnic, or religious backgrounds (Lipset 39).

Conservatives believe that people could achieve social mobility by “hard work (and ambition) rather than lucky breaks or help from other people” (Lipset 30). From 1983 through 1990, surveys taken by NORC found that around two-thirds of respondents consistently agreed that “people get ahead by hard work (and) a much largerpercentage said ambition” (Lipset 30).

In October 1989, poll taken by ABC News-Washington Post, found that 60 percent of whites and 60 percent of blacks greed with the statements: “if blacks would try harder, they could be just as well off as whites. Conservatives (whites) are overwhelmingly non-supportive to affirmative action or preferential treatment, as seen from responses to the following NES questions in 1988 and 1992 (Sniderman and Piazza 1993, 104): Some people say that because of past discrimination it is sometimes necessary for colleges and universities to reserve openings for black student. Other oppose quotas because they say quotas give blacks advantages they haven’t earned. What about your opinionare you for or against quotas to admit black students?

For Against Unsure 1988: 33% 58% 9% 1992: 23% 71% 6% Some people say that because of past discrimination, blacks should be given preference in hiring and promotion. Others say that such preference in hiring and promotion is wrong because it discriminates against whites. What about your opinionare you for or against preferential hiring for blacks? For Against Unsure 1988: 19% 75% 6% 1992: 13% 84% 3% The attitudes on affirmative action are firmly held for the white majority.

Sniderman and Piazza says that the opposition of egalitarian polices like affirmative action lead to a negative stereotyping of minorities. Among the randomly selected sample, one-half of them were asked about black stereotypes they are irresponsible, they are lazy, they are arrogant. These questions were the immediately followed by a single question about affirmative action in employment. The other half of the sample was asked the same question about blacks, but they were immediately preceded by the question about affirmative action in employment.

The data show significantly higher percentages of egative stereotypes about blacks for the sample getting the affirmative action questions (Sniderman and Piazza 1993, 97-104). Sniderman and Piazza (1993, 109) concluded that “affirmative action is so intensely disliked that it has led some whites to dislike blacksan ironic example of a policy meant to put the divided of race behind us in fact further widening it. ” Study completed by Stanley Dickinson, argued that students somewhat feel the same way that Sniderman and Piazza stated above.

He asked 759 anonymous non- minority students’ about their thoughts of stereotyping among certain racial groups. out of 10 or 80% of the students said at one particular time they had used negative stereotyping’ as a result from affirmative action. It goes to show that affirmative action or preferential treatment constitutes a negative opinion (emphasis from Sniderman and Piazza). ” The same survey found 52 percent of blacks and 56 percent of whites accepting the view that “discrimination has unfairly held down blacks, but many of the problems blacks in this country have (back then) brought on by blacks themselves” (Lipset 50).

According to Sears and Kinder 1971, he argues that “symbolic racism” explains the lack of support among hites for particular remedies to solve the problem of racial discrimination. Whites are more likely to respond to symbolic racism (i. e. Black, Mexican, etc. ) rather than policy content of the question. Over the past few decades, straight out racism is quite unacceptable. “Now racial hostility is expressed indirectly by a glorification of traditional values such as work ethic’ and individualism,’ in which blacks and other minorities groups are seen as deficient” (Sears 1986).

Sniderman and Piazza argue the rival explanation of straightforward politics. They argue that “the central problem of racial olitics is not the problem of prejudice” (1993, 107). The agenda of the civil rights movement has changed from one of equal opportunity to equal outcomes. The vast majority of the American Creed view the new civil rights program of racial quotas and affirmative action very much contrast with the principle of equal opportunity for all (Erikson/Tedin 95).

Although the civil rights movement fabricated most of the political culture, progress for socio-economic equality has been inadequate, uneven and unsteady. This fact in itself urges the public to argue for changed policies. Today, eople are listing to the individualistic’ side rather than tipsy egalitarian side of the political spectrum. Proposition 209 was an civil rightsinitiative that utilized conservative values of individualistic principles to get rid of 1There are only 7 counties that did not support the initiative.

Women, especially white women, have by many measures made greater gains than minorities (Lester PG), a sore point that could complicate coalition-building now that affirmative action is under fire. Whatever its role in spawning a healthy black middle class, it has barely touched black poverty or reduced an nduring gap between white and black unemployment rates. Given this pattern, it is hardly surprising that the much touted review of federal programs commissioned by the President, should have included a considerable amount of straightforward advocacy for the diversity principle.

For example, that the “competitiveness of our society and economy” depends upon building an “inclusive” economy, and adds that in science, education, and other fields, there will be “dangerous shortages of talent if we continue to draw the ranks of those professions so overwhelmingly from among white males only” (Aptheker 15). The suggestion that women and minorities offer abilities different from and in some ways superior to those of white men is echoed elsewhere in the assertion that diversity “is critical to the quality of certain institutions and professions.

Throughout, society’s equilibrium is measured by the standard of proportional representation, and any deviation from the norm is regarded as a major social wrong. But affirmative action is, after all , a policy which has survived at least in theme for years in the face of widespread, and often angry, disapproval. It is also a policy whose potential constituency is quite ormidable, encompassing blacks, certain immigrants groups, and womenin other words, over half the population.

True, many women, Hispanics, and Asians are ambivalent about or in some cases hostile to the idea of group rights, but Americans retain a powerful attachment to the principle of affirmative action, and many in the new black middle class have come back to look on it as an entitlementmuch as the elderly view Medicare or farmers regard crop subsidies. Support for affirmative action also enjoys the status of a litmus test of group loyalty for black elected officials and civil-rights leaders.

Affirmative action is a cheap and easy way to remedy societal fall backs Over the last few decades, public opinion about affirmative actions has changed tantamount to public policy. The original affirmative-action initiative emerged out of a belief that the racial neutrality enshrined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not suffice to change the face of American society. According to this reasoning, even if individual blacks were no longer being denied opportunities, black as a whole would nevertheless, simply because the country’s economic and educational institutions functioned in a systemically iscriminatory way.

It was in the basis of this theoryknown popularly as the doctrine of institutional racismthat the earliest affirmative action plans called for lowering employment standards en masse, and for coercing corporations and government agencies into agreements which, in practice, often led to defacto quotas (emphasis aptheker 16). According to S. M. Lipset, Americans believe strongly in both values: individualism and egalitarianism. But affirmative action has, since its inception, been an ever-present example of government attempting to create a public policy that would appeal all.

Some commentators content that the move to affirmative action came because the nation, faced with the financial demands of the Vietnam War buildup, was unable to afford the vast sums necessary on social programs to help the poor compete their way to economic parity (Aptheker 14). In this view, affirmative action was perceived as the fast, cheap way to achieve social equality. Whatever its origins, few doubt that affirmative action has helped ope the doors of oportunity for minorities and women over the past three decades. Their numbers have grown throughout the orkforce, including high paying professions like law and medicine.

Both the gender gap and, to a slightly lesser degree, the racial gap in median earnings have narrowed. In this sense, a greater number of minorites have moved into positions of power, and thus their groups have a much stronger influence upon affirmative action itself . . . or so one might think . . And economists agree that progress has not meant parity. Women, according to one recent study, still earn on average 15 percent less than comarably qualified men. Blacks actually made their greatest gains between 1940 and 1970 and fell ack relative to whates during the 1980’s (Currie 19).

Both groups remain underrepresented in high-paying executive and magerial positions. And studies pairing black and white job applicants with similar credentials consistently show that whites do better (Williams 75-6). On the public platform, affirmative action is indeed an emotional, divisive and complicated issue for policy-makers. 30 years after it entered the national lexicon on the wake of the passage of the Civil Right Act of 1964, it has emerged as one of the nation’s major topic of disagreement and debate.

From government set-aside to workplace preferences to race-targeted school admissions, it is under attack from opponents who want to abolish of and from reformers who want to refocus it. Although these policies were unpopular with white Americans from the outset, they were grudgingly accepted by many on the grounds that blacks, who has recently been the objects of legal discrimination, arguably deserved some limited amount of compensatory justice. Over the years, however, the proposition that affirmative action was necessary to combat discrimination, or even the effects of past discrimination, ecame increasingly difficult to sustain.

Employers met the conditions set down by enforcement agencies; employment and educational tests were changed, and personnel policies were adjusted to conform with guidelines established by the EEOC; and thousands of new businesses set their hiring policies entirely according to affirmative action principles. Faced with an increasingly shaky rationale, the advocates of preferences began to advance a new one: diversity. Like the original conception, diversity assumed an America in which racism (now joined by sexism) was rampant.

But diversity was designed less to fight bias in particular instances than to create sweeping standards for the entire workforce, if not for the entire society. And where affirmative action had been intended, at least theoretically, to enhanced the goal of societal integration, diversity celebrated difference and promote “multiculturalism”i. e. , segregation. Implementing it necessitated a degree of racial and sexual consciousness virtually limitless in its application. There are few figures in public life today as committed to the diversity idea as President Clinton.

From the musical nd literary selections at his inaugural ceremony, to his policy of setting aside one of every three positions on the new adminstration for women and minorities, to his having reserved to position of Attorney General for a woman, to the scrupulous balancing of his health-care task force according to race and gender, to the proposal advanced by that task force to impose a diversity system on the medical profession, the Clinton administration has sent an unmistakable message: as for as the government is concerned, America is a country that counts by race and gender.

The adminstration’s attitude was perhaps most vividly emonstrated ina case involving a public-school teacher in Piscataway, New Jersey. In 1989, the local schoool board had been confronted with the need to lay off one of two home economics teachersone white, one black, with equal seniority and comparable performance assessments. Even though blacks were well- represented throughout the faculty, the board dismissed the white teacher on purely racial grounds. She then sued, and the Bush adminstration, citing flagrant reverse discrimination, supported her action (Citrin 40-1).

The Clinton adminstration, however, abruptly reversed course and supported the choool board. It had to do so on grounds other than discrimination against the black teacher, which was never an issue in this case; the grounds it came up with were “diversity. “Nor does affirmative action lack for broad backing among predominactly white institutions. The business community has regularly spoken against anti-quota legislations in the past, and is distinctly unenthusiastic about anti-preference proposals today, including CCRI (Czurak 1). Officials at prestigous unversiies regard their racially balanced student boddies as a major achievement.

The Roots Of Affirmative Action

The roots of affirmative action can be traced back to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act where legislation redefined public and private behavior. The act states that to discriminate in private is legal, but anything regarding business or public discrimination is illegal (“Affirmative” 13). There are two instances when opposing affirmative action might seem the wrong thing to do. Even these two cases don’t justify the use of affirmative action. First is the nobility of the cause to help others. Second, affirmative action was a great starter for equality in the work place.

The most promenent variable in deciding affirmative action as right or wrong is whether or not society is going to treat people as groups or individuals. Affirmative action is a question of morals. The simplicity to form two morals that are both correct but conflicting is the reason for the division of our nation on affirmative action. Affirmative action is very noble when looking at who benefits from the outcome. Take a closer look at affirmative action. The people that are involved and the damage it takes on our society surfaces many doubts.

Taking a closer look also stirs up a question of nobility that needs to be answered before making a decision on affirmative action. Does affirmative action simply change who is discriminated against and makes it legal for the new discriminators? Coming from my point of view, the view of a white male, this is a serious question. One example of this came to my attention from Dave Shiflett who once worked at Rocky Mountain News wrote “Rocky Mountain Hire”. In this article he tells about a new hiring strategy used at the Denver newspaper Rocky Mountain News.

A memo was sent out stating, “The job reviews of supervisors and others involved in hiring should address race and sex. Each review should have a hiring goal of at least half of our hires being women and at least half non-white” (Shiflett 45). Lets put this strategy to work. We have ten positions to fill; these positions can be filled following the above guidelines by hiring five black women. It can also be met by hiring five white women and five non-white men. Obviously to meet this goal successfully would mean to not hire a white male (Shiflett 45).

I strongly disagree with my white fore fathers and society today that both address race and sex when hiring. Using a persons skin color in hiring is discrimination no matter how society looks at it. At St. Bonaventure University the potential for reverse discrimination became a reality. In May 1994, 22 faculty members were fired, all were male. The president of the university was very blunt about his motive, to protect the small number of women on the university staff (Magner 18). This was purely a discussion based on gender not qualification.

No matter how efficient these men were some were fired for not being part of a certain minority. Gary A. Abraham, who was fired as a tenured associate professor stated, “It seems ludicrous that the university can rectify its failure to engage in affirmative action on the backs of its male faculty. ” Twelve of the men took their complaints to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The commission sided with the men and is even planning to bring the university up on charges themselves (Magner 18). Giving an employer the power to discriminate only towards minorities is unfair and unethical.

Now the question is whom will the government protect? Society cannot consider its self-fair when we are still forming decisions based upon gender or race. It is not noble to protect the jobs of women at Bonaventure University simply there are not enough women on the roster. We should protect the jobs of the experienced. We cannot form a new society from affirmative action and believe the rights of all United States citizens will be upheld. The whole idea behind affirmative action is to right the wrongs of the past. Well, what about the individuals that were not even born when this atrocity of discrimination was going on.

Society should not punish the youth for the crimes of their white male forefathers. Thomas Sowell gave an interesting story in his article “Free Markets vs. Discrimination” about Albert Greuner. He had graduated from Pensacola Naval photography school and was refused a job he was more than qualified for. The reason Albert was denied the position was based on the conduct of the other cadets graduating from Pensacola (Sowell 69). These are the battles that need to be fought. Stop employers from hiring in a discriminatory fashion, not to just favor the group that has been discriminated against in the past.

Not only does it affect white males, but the recipients of affirmative action suffer from negative side effects also. There is an angry backlash that women and minorities feel from affirmative action. There is also the effect of pampering. It can make any individual lazy and unmotivated. Affirmative action does nothing but build walls to separate us more, and pollute our work atmosphere with tension. An angry backlash towards the recipients of affirmative action appears prominently in the work place.

An example of affirmative action backlash comes from the article “When an Advantage is Not an Advantage. I recently got a large chunk of government funding in a program that didn’t even have any sort of affirmative action ranking. Yet, almost all men I talk to including my father, assume there was at least some component of consideration given to me for being female” (Cohen 18). Affirmative action weakens the spirit of the individual by making them think the reason they got the job or grant was because someone felt sorry for them. Some women believe affirmative action will benefit them in the beginning because there is an incentive to hire women. This will do more to hinder than to help in the long run.

Here is a quote from an article opposing affirmative action. “I think affirmative action helps to get a female an interview but once on the interview and once on the job, it gives males a basis for their resentment and skepticism of females… ” (Cohen 18). This can cause additional tension between men and women that was not there before affirmative action. Another side effect is how pampering can make a person lazy and unmotivated to excel. This is exactly what affirmative action does. It makes sure that women and minorities are pampered to make up for lost time.

Well, lets take a look at what all the pampering in the past has done for the white male. Look at the college graduation numbers of today. Eighty percent of blacks attending college graduate, while only 55% of white college students graduate. These numbers alone show what discrimination did to help the white male to achieve a lazy attitude of “I don’t need good grades, I am white I’ll get a god job. ” This is a dangerous attitude in 1996, because in some situations a white male needs to be over qualified to compensate for small “bonus points” some minorities receive.

By pampering any single group the long-term disaster will outweigh the short-term relief. Discrimination is not the problem that plagues society. This is shown with the increase of women in the work force. The number of women in the computer industry has increased 93%, in auto industry 89%, and in pharmaceuticals 78% (Dunkle 44). Thirty years ago this was not the case, and affirmative action forced American employers to open their eyes to the benefits of diversity. “Affirmative action in 1995 is beginning to resemble Soviet Communism in 1969.

Outside the sheltered elites, the majority of people loathe it. The circumstances in which it was dreamed up no longer exist” (Sullivan E15). Now it is time to end affirmative action and focus on what is holding down minorities today. Let us turn our sites on poverty, poor family life, poor schooling, for these problems are colorblind, and can hinder an individuals chances for success more than anything else. To equal the opportunity of minorities for employment we should educate and prepare them, not force them into the work force or universities.

Guadalupe Quintanilla, the assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Houston, stated, “Affirmative action has been distorted and abused. We need to take a second look at it. I think affirmative action has opened a lot of doors, but it has been misrepresented. I’m for opportunity, not special treatment. The majority of people in this country are open-minded and willing to work with people without considering their sex or color. So I think we could do away with set-asides” (Dunkel 42). Problems with equality in our work force and universities cannot be blamed completely on discrimination. The problem today is colorblind poverty.

Affirmative action actually hurts the lower income individual of any minority group. Thomas Sowell, in his 1990 book, Preferential Policies, used an international survey of affirmative action programs to show the consequences. “The benefits of affirmative action went overwhelmingly to people who were already better off. while the poorer members of the same groups either did not gain ground or actually fell further behind” (Richardson 4C). The wealthier neighborhoods have better school systems, which in turn offer greater resources. If we bring equality to our school systems, a rise in minorities in the work force will soon follow.

Some universities here in the United States have based enrollment on College Board’s and SAT’s or ACT’s, none of which show intelligence levels. These tests rather show the standards of education that the individual has encountered. The gap between mean SAT scores for black and whites is 938 for whites and 740 for blacks (Shipler 16) These test scores sometimes become the discrimination against minorities. Another form of evaluating students is where the Universities and government need to focus, to establish a standard in education that spans across all levels of income.

Affirmative action is definitely not the answer for equality in this day in time. Affirmative action has balanced for thirty years on a moral threat. It is now time to apply new moral threats, not towards the employers and colleges but towards the government. For it is the government that needs to change its polices. The government needs to take action towards the real problems of equality: poverty, not the bad white man from the past. Affirmative action is simply the same old discrimination in reverse.

Col. Ronald M. Sharpe

The Pennsylvania State Police began to follow the requirements of the Affirmative Action Acts of the 1960’s. The PSP as well as all other entities within the Criminal Justice System have been working to create more diverse law enforcement teams. In August 1987, Deputy Commissioner Ronald Sharpe was appointed Commissioner of the PSP. Sharpe was the first African-American to be appointed to that position in the history of the Department. While he was in office, Col. Sharpe implemented many new departmental initiatives.

He created a seven-member uniform committee, who created new uniforms for the PSP in January 1988. The new look consisted of a new patch and shirt. The Patch was designed by the seven member team. It incorporated the keystone and the state’s coat of arms encircled by the original star burst. The star burst was a part of the departments original uniform, designed by Major John Groom in 1905. In this same month in 1988 Sharpe also graduated the first 3 of 15 Canine drug enforcement teams. In August of 1989 Col.

Sharpe brought back the traditional Motorcycle Highway Patrol. He dedicated 12 Harley Davidson Motorcycles to respond to accidents on heavily traveled highways; an attempt to restore traffic on major highways. To make the job of running an agency like the PSP a bit easier Col. Sharpe created an additional 6th area of command and formed two more Deputy Commissioner positions. In 1990 with Gov. Casey’s help Col. Sharpe was able to create TNT, the Tactical Narcotics Team, which is able to respond anywhere in the state within 24 hours.

Sharpe also pushed for more militaristic practices with in the PSP. Troop Drills were reinstated for officers in the field, they included inspection, marching, and Drill formations. Col. Ronald M. Sharpe was a proven leader. His hard work, and dedication gave proof to the old saying ” all men were created equal”. Mr. Sharpe definitely has helped other minority officers in their advancements. Not only because of any form of affirmative action, but because of his dedication and hard work.

Ten percent too much or too little

Over two hundred years ago the country was founded by a group of white european christian men wanting to make a better home for themselves and their families. They wrote the Declaration of Independence to form the basis for their beliefs that all men are created equal. This was followed by another document, the Constitution. The Constitution set a foundation of expectations for the government and the people. The Constitution has been modified with amendments over the years. Some of these changes included basic rights for classes or groups of people that were not included in the original document.

Today these changes have been incorporated into the life style of the American people and are considered as part of everyday life. One group of changes has been in the rights of different groups of people. This includes womens rights, veterans rights, along with minority rights. The government also ensured the rights of people through civil rights acts and executive orders. These civil rights acts addressed discrimination in employment, government grants, loans or contracts and education. The first executive order addressing equal opportunity in the work place was 10925 signed in March 1961.

Another, Executive Order 11246 dated September 24, 1965 and amended by Executive Order 11375 dated October 13, 1967 put federal requirements in place that mandate employers to add affirmative action programs in business practices to aid hiring and advancement of minorities. This order was to support and help the recognition and treatment of the following categories; race, religion, color, national origin and sex. (Gutierrez) This was to help diversify the work place while assisting the incorporation of differences in society.

The order would not allow quotes but directed the use of programs and goals to achieve the desired effects of incorporating more diversity in the work place. There are other government methods to encourage the fair treatment of people, independent of the previously listed groups. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 has many regulations and rules against discrimination in educational institutions. These rules apply to institutions as an employer, but also to student admissions. These rules state that the affirmative action programs must be narrowly tailored to remedy past discrimination (Gutierrez)

Diversity and discrimination has been an area of concern and focus for over 50 years, as can be seen by the dates in the previously stated government actions. The officials that are elected represent the people and move toward incorporation of all groups of people in society. One problem is that when a person or group of people has the perceived notion that discrimination is being used to slow or extinguish their progress in the work place or as in the admission to a college; the judiciary system is used to correct the injustice.

This leads to more issues or a conflicting determination in law for the institution to follow. An example of this is a ruling in 1996 by the United States Court of Appeals making use of race for admissions illegal (Axtman). This prompted Texas legislatures to pass the 10 percent rule for college admissions. This rule states a student attending a public school that graduates in the top 10 percent of their class will be admitted to any public university in the state. Then in 1978 the Supreme Court ruled in the reverse manner stating that universities are allowed to use race as one of the criteria for admission.

This battle in the judiciary system has opponents of affirmative action battling to change or remove the top ten rule. The statistics on student admissions and performance are staggering for keeping the rule in effect. 88 percent of top ten students who applied to Austin or Texas A&M were admitted, also 85 percent of those applying at other Texas state colleges were admitted. The complaint of some prospective college attendees is that this enormous enrollment of top ten students leaves only a fraction left for those who do not qualify under the top ten rule and rejections are common.

This is unfounded; as over 75 percent of the students graduating in the 10 to 20 percentile of their class went on to enroll at their first choice college. The next statistic to address is the fall of minority enrollment under this plan. Comparing 2002 to the 1996 statics for Texass top college, Texas A&M, the percentage of enrollment fell for blacks by 0. 4 percent and Hispanic enrollment fell by 1. 5 percent (Axtman). This fall of enrollment was also closely repeated at the University of Texas. This would lead you to believe that this program is a failure.

The proponents insist that minority segregated schools guarantee the admittance of those students who qualify under the plan. This does not mean that the students at the schools with high minority populations will choose to go to these top ranked colleges but makes them available as never before. Another topic is the standardized testing scores requirement for college admittance. This enrollment criterion would make some of these students ineligible for the top schools and the top ten rule guarantees the opportunity of acceptance.

Also some of the students have applied to other Texas universities and have been accepted under the ten percent rule. This has led to an increase in the total number of Hispanics being accepted at state universities and has shown an increase of over 15% between 1997 and 2001. Other states as California and Florida also have similar opportunities for students graduating at the top of their high school class. California has a top four percent rule that guarantees acceptance to one of the University of California campuses.

Florida applies its 20 percent rule similarly guaranteeing acceptance to one of the states institutions. The success of these top ten students has been documented and finds that the students admitted under the top ten rule and scoring lower on standardized testing are doing as well if not better than those who scored higher on these tests. This leads us to, why has the enrollment dropped for minorities even though the opportunity has been increased? The answer to this can be found in your pocket or pocket book.

The cost of college seems to be the most contributing factor to the decrease in numbers of minorities in the top state schools. The answer to diversity in Texas schools will not be provided by the top ten rule only. The need for increased scholarships and financial aid programs to low income families is the next step. The top ten rule made attending the schools possible but the financial opportunity is missing. There are federal programs and state programs that are available but it would seem that it is well below the needed level.

There is another area that is being investigated to assist in increasing the number of minorities enrolling at the state universities is the early life development of attaining a college education. It has been found that when the younger mind is influenced by positive guidance including attending a college, that an increased number will attain the goal of college life. The development of a childs mind can be seen as the tool to increase a diverse college enrollment and the cost to tax payer is minimal. The top ten rule will not solve all of Texass diversity conflicts with the sweep of a broom.

Some would like to take the broom and sweep it out of site and remove the notion that something has to be done to level the acceptance criteria for the state run schools. Texas and this nation have developed the most brilliant minds and problem solvers in the world. Solving this problem doesnt seem to be beyond the capabilities of our people. It would take care, understanding, and a shift of attitude in developing the needed changes to making a possible solution. Census data and Texas school data can be used to understand the ratio of populations for economically challenged, race, sex and other categories.

A plan to solve the current situation of diversity in these and other colleges should be developed using the data that is available along with the current studies and theories. Attending college should be imprinted on our youth from an early age, encouraged through the middle school years and made a priority to all high school students especially those in economically challenged areas. The top ten rule should not be abolished and replaced by another system that will need time to study and qualify its effectiveness. Use the current system and expand and make it better.

Affirmative Action: A Counter Productive Policy

By definition, racism is the discrimination of prejudice against race. Discrimination, by definition, is treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than on individual merit. In 1961, when President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10. 925, he was indicating that individual businessmen should take affirmative action to ensure applicants and employees are treated without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin. His executive order implied equal access and nothing else.

The system that has evolved since is a perversion of the original intent of affirmative action. The stipulations that make up affirmative action today are too narrow to effectively help in the fight against racism and discrimination. Affirmative action has the capability of causing reverse discrimination. Discrimination against white males is just as bad as discrimination against any minority. Some people say that affirmative action is justified as a way of making up for past discrimination.

Although discrimination still exists in the United States today, as it does in the rest of the world, most African Americans entering the job market today, were born after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Because of this, most African Americans have suffered little or no oppression in terms of slavery. When the Civil Rights Act was passed, its spirit was not one of reverse discrimination, but of getting employers to consider applicants candidly in filling jobs within their companies.

Hubert Humphrey, a major sponsor of the Act, was quoted during a 1964 interview swearing that he would eat the bill if it were ever used for discrimination of any sort. Yet, it has promoted just that, discrimination. The past cannot be changed, and society should stop compensating people who were never hurt at the expense of people who have done them no harm. This unwarranted discrimination bothers most employers as well as most employees who do not qualify for affirmative action. The employers feel they have ended up with a lesser quality worker, because of unfair and unwanted employment regulations.

Here is yet another disadvantage of affirmative action, namely that every employee from a social minority that benefits from affirmative action can bear a mark of not being the best pick, but only the best pick from a limited group, even if the person is selected for being the best available on the complete job market. The bypassed employees can feel tricked by the government or the minority. The minority could spark racism among the bypassed group, while affirmative action was introduced to decrease racism.

Colleges and universities frequently also have quotas for how many African Americans they must admit to round out their freshman classes. An example is the admission practices at Berkeley. According to a 1990 admissions investigation, only 40 percent of the entering class in 1988 at Berkley was selected solely on the basis of academic merit. While whites and Asian Americans need at least a 3. 7 grade point average in high school to be considered for admission, most minority candidates who meet a much lower standard are automatically admitted.

Berkeley continues this practice of favored admissions for minorities even thought the graduation rate of minorities is very low. In 1998, 66 percent of whites or Asian Americans graduated while only 27% of minorities graduated. The increase in racial tensions between whites and blacks at United States collages is also related to preferential admission policies. The guidelines that form affirmative action need to be revised in order to include all possible groups of minorities including sex, financial status, religion, and race.

In order to turn the racist possibilities of affirmative action around, the policy itself must be revised for the times. In this day and age, where so many Americans have such diverse heritages and lifestyles, the word minority must be looked at by many different angles. It should be looked at as what it truly is: a smaller set between two groups, not a privileged assembly. Primarily, affirmative action must only be used to help the unfortunate and oppressed. The unfortunate would include families with lower financial status, and people with physical disabilities.

This would only give these people a stronger possibility to apply to schools or jobs they were not able to in the past, not a guarantee. The oppressed would include the minorities of sex, religion, location, as well as race. Again it would only give a stronger possibility of admission or employment, not a guarantee. The main revision of affirmative action would not be who receives help, but what help they receive. No one should be given a free ride to anything. So only a stronger possibility of success would be the correct answer. Affirmative action was never meant to be permanent, now is the time to move on to some other approach.

Affirmative action as originally conceived may have been a constructive policy, but it has been counter productive in practice. Critics charge that affirmative action policies violate the principal that all individuals are equal under the law. Advocates of it respond that effective remedies must exist to aid groups that have suffered discrimination. In the 1990s, affirmative action has been a highly charged legal and political issue. With legislatures, courts, and the public divided over the issue, the status of affirmative action remains uncertain.

America and Affirmative Action

Affirmative action has been the subject of increasing debate and tension in American society. However, the debate over affirmative action has become ensnared in rhetoric that pits equality of opportunity against the equality of results. The debate has been more emotional than intellectual, and has generated more tension than shed light on the issue. Participants in the debate have over examined the ethical and moral issues that affirmative action raises while forgetting to scrutinize the system that has created the need for them.

Too often, affirmative action is looked upon as the panacea for a nation once ll with, but now cured of, the virulent disease of racial discrimination. Affirmative action is, and should be seen as, a temporary, partial, and perhaps even flawed remedy for past and continuing discrimination against historically marginalized and disenfranchised groups in American society. Working as it should, it affords groups greater equality of opportunity in a social context marked by substantial inequalities and structural forces that impede a fair assessment of their capabilities.

Perhaps the biggest complaint that one hears about affirmative action policies aimed at helping Black Americans is that they violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and the Civil Rights laws. , The claim is that these programs distort what is now a level playing field and bestow preferential treatment on understanding minorities because of the color of their skin. While this view seems very logical on the surface, many contend that it lacks any historical support and is aimed more at preserving existing White privilege than establishing equality of opportunity for all.

Any cursory look at the history of this country should provide a serious critique to the idea of a level playing field. Since the birth of this nation, Blacks have been enslaved, oppressed, nd exploited people. Until 1954, when the Supreme Court handed down Brown v. Board, Blacks were legally pushed to the margin of society where many were left to dwell in poverty and powerlessness. The Brown decision removed the legal impediments that had so long kept Blacks in the impoverished peripheral.

Despite this long awaited victory for Black Americans, the historic decision failed to provide adequate means for the deconstruction of White dominance and privilege, It merely allowed Blacks to enter the arena of competition. This recognized and established the status quo (White wealth and Black indigence, White employment and Black unemployment, White opportunity and Black disenfranchisement) as an acceptable and neutral baseline. Without the deconstruction of White power and privilege, how can we legitimately claim that the playing field is level?

Does it not seem more logical and indeed fairer and more just, to actively deconstruct White privilege, rather than let it exist through hegemony? Another critique of affirmative action policies is that they stigmatize and call into question the credentials of the qualified minorities. And furthermore, that this doubt undermines their effectiveness. This has always een the most puzzling critique of affirmative action in my mind. The credentials, qualifications, character, and even the culture of minorities have always been in question and stigmatized in this country.

When racial categories were created, simply being in question and stigmatized in this country. When racial categories were created, simply being labeled a minority carried with it quite a slanderous stigma. Even to this day Black Americans combat lingering racism an stereotypes about their intelligence, tendency toward violence, sexual prowess, etc…. The idea that affirmative action policies introduce stigmas hat did not already exist into the life of minorities seems nonsensical.

To those who claim that this stigma undermines the effectiveness of Blacks because their coworkers will not be cooperative, or because the minority will always doubt that he or she deserves to be there, I propose that affirmative action will only accomplish the continued exclusion of Black Americans from participation within American society and thus further ingrain stereotypes and stigmas. Another reason that the stigma critique of affirmative action confuses me, is because the discussion is always limited to race and gender based ffirmative action policies.

Where is the discussion about athletes and legacy students who are accorded preferential treatment in university admission decisions on a yearly basis? This focus on gender and race based policies only reinforces my point that the stigma minorities face has much more to do with persistent racism than the deleterious effects on affirmative action. Should affirmative action programs force people to hire unqualified minorities? No. But affirmative action programs should cause us as a society to re-evaluate how we access qualifications and how we measure merit. Let us become tenure Harvard Law School professors for just a moment.

Suppose we have two applicants for an open associate professor position. The first candidate is White, a Harvard Law School graduate, has impressive board scores, served as editor of the Law Review, etc… , but has never practiced law before. The other candidate is Black, a Harvard Law School graduate, average board scores, has excellent person skills, and practiced law as the county defendant in an inner- city neighborhood. Under the traditional system of merit, the White Harvard graduate gets the appointment hands down. But under affirmative action policies, the Black Harvard graduate receives the job. Why is this the optimal situation?

The Black lawyer brings non-traditional, but certainly valid, qualifications to the table that are not recognized under our current system of merit. In fact, common sense suggests that he is as. or even more, qualified to train lawyers of the future than his White counterpart. Allowing the Black Harvard graduate to have the job might very well call into question how we assess the qualifications we require to be law school professor. This challenge to traditional ualifications brought about by affirmative action appointments benefits all of society by forcing us be critical of how we assess the nebulous notion of merit.

The critics that attack affirmative action are correct when they say that affirmative action corrupts the purity of the process. Extreme care must be taken in determining who receives affirmative action program benefits and how long and at what rate they receive them. I must, also, agree with my critics that affirmative action may destroy or motion of a “color-blind” society. But, the rights of Blacks and other minorities to have equal opportunity forces us to ake these risks.

In short, it has been recommended that broad-based affirmative action policies range from the workplace to the classroom. While they are not perfect and do raise some legitimate ethical concerns, they take us away from a system that is inherently unfair to some groups. The active deconstruction of the White privilege that grew out of virulent American racism affords Blacks a greater chance at equal opportunity and will have the side effect of forcing us to re-evaluate that unethically and immorally disadvantages minorities. These advantages outweigh the cost of the risks.

Affirmative Action Report

Affirmative Action has become of the most controversial social policy issues to be discussed in recent years. It is controversial because it challenges fundamental American beliefs. As Seymour Martin Lipset put it: “Affirmative Action policies have forced a sharp confrontation between two core American values: equality and individualism. “(Dudley7) This values oriented approach, which pervades popular discussion and derives from functionalist sociology, fails to explain why similar challenges to our core values did not in the past result in the kind of spite surrounding Affirmative Action today.

As the popular lore and written history of urban politics in America demonstrate and as minority leaders today frequently point out, benefits were routinely distributed to individuals not on merit, but on racial criteria (Sigelman7). The Federal, state, and local governments run currently many programs intended to increase opportunities for various groups including women, and minority groups.

These programs are commonly called ”affirmative action” programs. For example; state law identifies specific goals for the participation of women, and minority-owned companies on work involved with state contracts. State departments are expected, but not required, to meet these goals, which include that at least minority-owned companies should do 15 percent of the value of contract work, and at least 5 percent should be done by women-owned companies.

The law requires departments, however, to reject bids from companies that have not made sufficient ”good faith efforts” to meet these goals. Other examples of affirmative action programs include: Public college and university programs such as scholarship, tutoring, and outreach that are targeted toward minority or women students. Goals and timetables to encourage the hiring of members of ”underrepresented” groups for state government jobs.

State and local programs required by the federal government as a condition of receiving federal funds such as requirements for minority-owned business participation in state highway construction projects funded in part with federal money. The federal government in President Kennedys Executive Order 10925 first used the term. The directive ordered contractors to take affirmative action to insure that applicants were employed, and employees are treated during their employment, with out regard to their race, creed, or color, or national origin.

In 1998 the federal government had no less than 160 affirmative action programs overseeing the hiring of governments workers as well as the employment practices of companies contracted to do business with the federal government. Those in favor of these laws argue that affirmative action is a logical way of leveling the playing field because white males had dominated society for way too long and closed off opportunities to females, and minorities.

In the Maine School Administrative District No. , it is the intent to pursue policies of non-discrimination and equal employment opportunity in all of its departments, programs, and activities. Theyve used affirmative action to insure that all applicants are treated fairly during employment. Such affirmative action applies to, but is not limited to, employment, appointment, selection, up grading, demotion, transfer, recruitment advertising, lay-off, termination, rates of pay and fringe benefits or other forms of compensation and selection for training or academic leave.

It also has established procedures to insure that the effects of its actions upon students, parents, citizens, local educational authorities, schools, libraries, towns and other organizations, and persons are non-discriminatory. It is their policy to insure equal employment/educational opportunities/affirmative action regardless of race, sex, color, national origin, marital status, religion, age or handicap in accordance with all federal and state legislation relative to discrimination. One law against Affirmative Action is Proposition 209 in California.

This law prohibits the state, local governments, districts, public universities, colleges, schools, and other government agencies from discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to any individual or group in public employment, public education, or public contracting on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. Governor Pete Wilson of California, Ward Connerly, Chairman of California Civil Rights Initiative, and Pamela A. Lewis Co-Chair have stated, We are individuals!

Not every white person is advantaged. And not every ”minority” is disadvantaged. Real ”affirmative action” originally meant no discrimination and sought to provide opportunity. The only honest and effective way to address inequality of opportunity is by making sure that all California children are provided with the tools to compete in our society. And then let them succeed on a fair, color-blind, race-blind, gender-blind basis. Let’s not perpetuate the myth that ”minorities” and women cannot compete without special preferences.

Let’s instead move forward by returning to the fundamentals of our democracy: individual achievement, equal opportunity and zero tolerance for discrimination against or for any individual( Brune7). There are over 400 diverse, community-based organizations in California are dedicated to the effort to end Proposition 209. The so called Civil Right’s Initiative, which is neither civil nor right, is really a deceptive attempt to recreate gender discrimination, and slam shut the doors of opportunity that African Americans have fought so hard to open.

Affirmative action is not a system of officially designated groups with enforced boundaries and memberships, as Europeans steeped in corporatist traditions envision of such things. Neither is it a system of group rights in the sense intended by domestic critics of affirmative action who see it as adverse to fundamental American values. What we do have is an example of American superiority: a unique but typically American mixture, and a system of rights afforded to groups that are weakly constituted.

To some it might seem that this argument is an: black/white, or us/them debate. Whites are as deeply divided on affirmative action, the level of routine race and sex discrimination and the role of the government in addressing it, according to a Seattle Times national poll (Tom). The poll indicated that 51 percent of whites–and 72 percent of minorities–still believe in the ideals of affirmative action. Both whites and minorities want the way it actually works, reformed.

The Times poll suggested many whites want to do away with goals and timetables for hiring and promotion as well as set-asides of public contracts for minority and women’s firms. A popular reform, the poll indicated, would be to change affirmative action so that it is based on economic disadvantage rather than race and gender. But most civil-rights leaders reject that approach, feeling affirmative action should remain in force until its foes offer a better alternative.

William Connerly of California warned that people wanting to give politically correct responses could skew the results of this poll, and others. Often they tell pollsters one thing about race, he said, then vote the opposite way. Connerly seized on the poll’s suggestion that most whites believe affirmative action leads to unqualified minorities being pushed ahead of better-qualified whites in hiring, promotion and college admissions.

He said that has grave implications for the notion that affirmative action is responsible for the expansion of the black middle class, because it suggests whites think they are not qualified for their jobs. “If you don’t have the training and education, you won’t get the job,” he said (Brune7). It was and still is necessary to have law that state blacks and women need to be give equal treatment in employment and admission to jobs, and schools. If Affirmative Action was done away with a return to what was happening a generation ago could arise again.

No employment of blacks and women, it will be a return to the one thing that once was fought so hard for. The main group that is so upset is the white male establishment cut, and dry. The feeling is that when one black student is admitted into a prestigious school and a white is not, that is so much more deserving it is reverse discrimination. The feeling now is that, ok we gave you a hand out and now undeserving under qualified blacks are being employed and admitted, and that is not fair to the logically more qualified white male (Fine7).

No one wants to be treated unfairly, but by getting rid of Affirmative Action employers and schools will not be obligated to admit, and hire African Americans. Weather people want to admit it or not there is still a racial problem in this country. There has only been a generation of equal treatment, and only through the blood, sweat, ranting, and deaths of others has this happened. Learning from the past is something that is always pointed out. These laws of affirmative action were put into place because of inequality. Let not the work of those past go in vain.

Opposing views on affirmative action

Since the beginning of time there has been prejudice and hate. Adam and Eve hated snakes. Jews hated Jesus. Sugar Ray Leonard hated Tommy Hearns. Prejudice is caused by two things: ignorance and hate. Prejudice and mistreatment has existed in this country, first with American-Indians and then later with African-Americans and other minorities. The selling and trading of slaves is a shadow that has been hanging over the heads of white Americans for two centuries. Some people feel that it is the white-American’s duty to pay the black population back.

According to Spencer Perkins, co-author of More than Equals: Racial Healing for the Sake of Gospel, in reference to the long-standing racial divisions in America, “It took us 300 years to separate ourselves like this, it’s going to take a while to undo that. ” (Zipperer 44) Affirmative action is designed to give minorities, such as blacks, the opportunity to maintain jobs in our prejudicial society. For those who support Affirmative Action they define it as a way to give the disadvantaged a chance at the “American dream. ” Those who do not support Affirmative Action define it as giving minorities positions that they are not qualified to have.

As Mr. Khalenberg, head editor of The New Republic says, “we will still reward those who play the victim” (Khalenberg 27). Just imagine that you have gone through six years of college and have gotten your degree. You go looking for a job and even though they are tough to come by you manage to get an interview with a well-known company. The interviewer tells you that you and one other person are equally qualified and in the running for the job. You get a call later telling you that you didn’t get the job because the company had to hire a minority.

You would most likely be angry, right? The purpose of this paper is to show the differences in how people feel about the issues involved with affirmative action. This paper was written to give different views on affirmative action. First I will give a little background and general information on the subject. Secondly, I will show how those that are in support of affirmative action feel. I will then balance the arguement out by showing how those who oppose affirmative action feel. I will also explore the minorities that are also against affirmative action.

Finally, I will tell what causes the consequences that affirmative action brings. The definition according to Webster’s New World Dictionary College Edition, is “a policy or program for correcting the effects of discrimination in the employment or education of members of certain groups, as women, blacks, etc. ” In today’s world some people deem it necessary to balance the discrimination that is prominent in today’s workplace. According to Juliane O’Gara, Affirmative Action does not mean hiring unqualified women or minorities over qualified white male applicants, nor does it mean quotas.

In fact, hiring somebody solely on the basis of race or gender without concern for merit is the very definition of discrimination, be it against women or men, whites or minorities. The courts have said repeatedly that the purpose of Affirmative Action programs is to create an environment where merit can prevail’ (O’Gara 25, my emphasis). This states in not so many words how Affirmative Action is considered reverse discrimination. Many people believe that the hiring of unqualified employees is actually how Affirmative Action works; giving jobs to those who are unqualified strictly because they are a minority.

Those that believe in the idea behind Affirmative Action actually believe that jobs should be given based on merit not just the idea of hiring anyone that happens to be of a different color or be a minority. But if the opportunity arises where there is an equally qualified minority and a white male some believe that the minority should be given the job. Juliane O’Gara gives an example of this in one of her articles: Discrimination in the workplace is a reality, and Affirmative Action is constantly at work to eliminate it.

Consider this example: A job opens in a field currently dominated by white men. Ten people apply for the job, some of them women and some of them minorities. Out of the four individuals who are qualified, one of them is a woman, and the other three are white men. Assuming that all applicants are equally qualified, then the female candidate should be offered the job, unless there is a clear, nondiscriminatory reason as to why it should not be offered to her (O’Gara 25). It seems that others in prominent positions would agree.

Some actually encourage the hiring of minorities and women. Kermit Ecklebarger, dean at Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary, states “Our principle is that if we have two people who are of equal quality, we will choose the person from the underrepresented group. ” (Zipperer 43) This decision is also considered reverse discrimination because of the fact that white males are not getting the jobs that they are specifically trained for. In Jeffrey Rosen’s article Is Affirmative Action Doomed? he says, “Consider the case of faculty hiring.

The number of positions is far more limited; and when a certain number of them are set aside only for blacks, there are especially heavy costs on the rejected whites, who have invested an extraordinary amount of time in specialized preparation. ” (Rosen 31) All that time spent on learning a specific trade and not being able to make the most of that skill seems a little wasteful. It also can explain the despair among white males about not getting jobs they know they are qualified for. There are many groups that are for Affirmative Action and for the equal treatment of minorities.

Juliane O’Gara states in her article Affirmative Action: Leveling the Playing Field, More than 150 years ago, Sarah Grimke, the famous abolitionist, said, “I ask no favor for my sex… All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks. ” While many believe that Affirmative Action means giving preferential treatment, in reality it does not. In fact, where there is clear discrimination – when employers utilize numerical quotas, for example- the law has been violated and those discriminated against should seek the protection of civil rights statutes.

The solution for these situations is for the law to be enforced, rather than repealed. (O’Gara 26) This simply states that although there are some employers that hire minorities even if they are unqualified, the government should not stop Affirmative Action completely. There is the belief in the minority community that prejudice is a constant and that without Affirmative Action they would not stand a chance. Ron Brown of the NAACP says that, “We’re not ready to be color-blind because racial discrimination continues to afflict our society.

Affirmative Action] continues to be needed not to redress grievances of the past, but the current discrimination that continues to exist. ” (Khalenberg 26) There seems to be two main ingredients in the mixture of pro-Affirmative Action. The idea that no minority stands a chance in a white world or the idea that Affirmative Action will pay back for what white men have done to minorities in the past. John Zipperer states in his article Is Discrimination Destined to Stay? , Long-standing social division along color lines gives rise to misunderstanding in a profound way.

If you scratch deep enough on any African American, you find someone who is seeking in some sense to be free,” says Melvin Banks, chief executive officer of Chicago’s Urban Ministries. “White people come with the assumption that ‘I am free. ‘” Among blacks, there remains a keen awareness that discrimination is alive and well in America. A March Gallup Poll of 1,220 adults… showed that half of all blacks believe that they have encountered some form of job discrimination. The poll also found that 55 percent of Americans- including 72 of blacks- favor affirmative action programs for minorities and women.

While only 35 percent of all Americans believe businesses should establish quotas to make up for past discrimination, 63 percent of blacks favor such policies. (Zipperer 43) Contrary to what some white people think, blacks are not dumb. They know they are treated unfairly and therefore some blacks feel it is necessary to take advantages of all the opportunities that are given to them. A perfect example would be Vela McClam Mitchell. She graduated college with a master’s in education and an MBA. She was having difficulty finding a job but affirmative action helped her.

She states, Without Northwest’s commitment to affirmative action, I wouldn’t have gotten the job at the airline or my current position at Worldspan. I think people gravitate toward people who are like them – who talk like them, act like them, look like them. And that means without affirmative action programs, a lot of white males won’t let people like me in. The attitude is, “It’s our playground, and we decide who comes into it. ” (Jones 40) Ms. Mitchell is one of thousands that affirmative action programs have helped.

Without some intervention of the government to install affirmative action programs Ms. Mitchell and many others would be without jobs. Not only minorities support affirmative action. White people support it as well. Although it may seem selfish, the white supporters are looking out for themselves. John Zipperer explains, “In twenty to thirty years, these [minorities] are the people who are going to be paying for social security. If they don’t get the training and the education, how are we going to pay for others’ retirement and the national debt. Zipperer 43)

Whatever the reason behind it, whites are beginning to support affirmative action in large numbers. Most people that are against the idea of affirmative action are the ones that it will hurt the most: white men. It seems that whites are afraid that the minorities that affirmative action is helping will take the jobs that they believe are theirs. For whites there is a feeling that it will hurt more than it will help. One way that it will hurt more than it will help is that it will cause tension between the races.

John Zipperer gives his feelings on the tension of the races, In understanding the racial divide in America, the role of the historic social divide between the races cannot be underestimated. “We’ve done a very efficient job of separating ourselves along racial lines,” says [Spencer] Perkins who also serves as editor of Urban Family magazine in Jackson Mississippi. “You might bump into each other in the workplace, but anything private tends to be [split] along racial lines. ” (Zipperer 43) Our country is very separate right now and anything that could separate it even more could be suicide.

As of now, in many cities across America there is a feeling of unrest between black and white communities. Glynn Custred, a California professor says, “The policies that we have today are pervasive and are spreading everywhere. They are weakening our institutions, and they cause a stigma for those who are supposed to be helped by it. ” (Zipperer 44) Another reason there are people that dislike affirmative action is that it doesn’t benefit all minorities. Affirmative action benefits only larger minorities like women, blacks, some Hispanics, and Asians.

Dante Ramos of The New Republic states, Suppose your ancestors were ostracized by mainstream American society because they looked different and talked funny. Perhaps they were hounded because of religious or cultural differences. And a generation or more later, your socioeconomic status remains relatively low. Seems like you’re a prime candidate for affirmative action assistance. But you’re a Pennsylvania German, and you don’t make the list. (Ramos 24) What Mr. Ramos went on to explain is that Pennsylvania Germans as well as other minorities don’t get affirmative action assistance even though they are minorities.

Although Pennsylvania Germans make less than blacks and Hispanics they still are refused the aid they need. (Ramos 24) He went on to say, While it may seem facetious to advocate affirmative action for the Pennsylvania Germans, their case raises two questions: Which ethnic groups deserve to be on “the list”- the familiar, albeit unmodified roster of affirmative action beneficiaries? And what criteria determine whether a group is deserving? (Ramos 24) Mr. Ramos makes a good point. How are the people that are on the list chosen?

The truth is the main minorities make the list while other minorities that don’t have as large a population are left off. Assuming the fact that whites do not get on the “list” and blacks do, what happens to those who are mixed? Are they left out? Are they “unclassified? ” This doesn’t only happen with mullato’s. It happens with others who have mixed bloodlines as well. Mr. Ramos goes into detail, The most-cited standard is skin color. Yet as soon as you consider Hispanics, problems arise. Hispanics can be of any race, and fifty-three percent call themselves white.

White Hispanics usually get reclassified in order to make the list. New York City’s Department of Business Services, for example, lets businesses owned mainly by Hispanics, along with those by blacks, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, bid slightly higher for municipal contracts. These groups benefit since they’re all “basically people of color,” as spokesperson Jill Mainelli labels them. On the other hand, Spaniards, who are more typically white than are Latin Americans, often don’t make the cut. At Carnegie-Mellon University, for instance, Latin Americans get an admissions edge that Spaniards do not.

Ramos 24) Aside from not all minorities getting equal treatment and causing problems between the races, there is the fact that there are certain instances where white males are passed over for jobs or released from their current jobs in favor of an unqualified minority. In the words of assistant attorney general for civil rights, Deval Patrick, “racial preferences are permissible only when they’re temporary, and intended to remedy the effects of past discrimination, or to eliminate a “manifest imbalance’ in the racial makeup in the workplace as a whole. Flick 110)

Patrick’s ideas would work if whites would not miss out on job opportunities. His idea of temporary changes may not work because of the fact that some things don’t stay temporary. Patrick stated later, “… when whites are fired because of their race, the euphemistic distinction between affirmative action and reverse discrimination becomes impossible to sustain. ” (Rosen 28) It becomes an impossible battle to differentiate between affirmative action and reverse discrimination.

Just like whatever goes up comes down and whenever there is an action there is always an opposite reaction, whenever someone gets a job at the expense of someone else there is going to be someone who has to suffer. Although affirmative action would be very beneficial to them, there are some minorities that refuse to except what affirmative action programs have to offer. It may be because of the fact that minorities have overcome so much in the past such as slavery and the women’s movement. (Flick 110) It seems that some minorities take exception at being seen as “charity cases. “

Affirmative Action Essay

There are thousands of examples of situations where people of color, white women, and working class women and men of all races who were previously excluded from jobs or educational opportunities, or were denied opportunities once admitted, have gained access through affirmative action. When these policies received executive branch and judicial support, vast numbers of people of color, white women and men have gained access they would not otherwise have had. These gains have led to very real changes.

Affirmative action programs have not eliminated racism, nor have they always been implemented without problems. However, there would be no struggle to roll back the gains achieved if affirmative action policies were ineffective. Affirmative action is not about opening opportunities for unqualified individuals, but instead is designed to increase the number of qualified applicants for employment, no matter what gender or race they may happen to be. ” Affirmative action is not about quotas.

It’s an attempt to open more opportunities for women and people of color through aggressive recruitment and outreach greater access to academic institutions and the work place and not exclude people on the asis of race or gender (Holhut3). Affirmative action in the employment status consist of publicizing job notices in places where everyone can see: recruitment: eliminating discriminatory hiring and setting goals towards increasing opportunities for those that were previously discriminated against.

However, Affirmative action programs not only take steps for women and minorities, but also disabled veterans, and emotionally and economically disabled. Affirmative action measures were established to fight racial discrimination. The ederal government mandated affirmative action programs to redress racial inequality and injustice in a series of steps beginning with an executive order issued by president Kennedy in 1961 (Thomas4). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made discrimination illegal and established equal employment opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, cultural differences, colo or religion.

Subsequent executive orders in particular executive order11246 issued by President Johnson in September 1965, mandated affirmative action goals for all federally funded programs and moved monitoring and enforcement of ffirmative action programs out of the White House and into the labor department (Holhut3). These policies and the government action that followed were a response to the tremendous mobilization of African Americans and white supporters during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s pushing for integration and racial justice (Kivel2). An area that affirmative action address is selective hiring programs.

Many times people of color have been excluded from hiring pools, overly discriminated against, unfairly eliminated because of inappropriate qualification standards, or have been endered unqualified because of the discrimination in education and housing. Court decisions such as Adarand versus Pena dealing with affirmative action issues have been rendered illegal these qualifications that are not relevant to ones ability on the job. They have mandated hiring goals so that those employed begin to reflect the racial mix of the general population which workers are drawn (Thomas3).

There is a mandate that is choosing between qualified candidates; the hiring preference should be for a person of color when past discrimination has resulted in whit people receiving selective treatment. Sometimes people argue that affirmative action means that the most qualified person will not be hired. However, it has been demonstrated many times in hiring and academic recruitment that test and educational qualifications are not necessarily the best predictors of the future success. This does not mean unqualified people should be hired.

It means qualified people who may not have the highest test scores or grades, but who are ready to do the job may be hired(Lopez5). Employers have traditionally hired people not only on test scores, but personal appearance, personal connections, school ties and on ace and gender preferences, demonstrating that talent or desirability can be defined in many ways. These practices have all contributed to a segregated work force where whites hold the best jobs, and people of color work in the least desirable and most poorly paid jobs.

Affirmative action policies serve as a corrective to such patterns of discrimination. They show progress toward equal representation and place the burdens of proof on organizations to show why it is not possible to achieve it. It has been argued that affirmative action benefits people of color who are already ell off or have middle class advantages, not the poor and working class people of color who most need it. A more careful observation reveals that affirmative action programs have benefited substantial numbers of poor and working class people of color.

Access to job training programs, vocational schools, and semi-skilled and skilled blue-collar, craft, pink-collar, police and firefighter jobs has increased substantially through affirmative action programs. Even in the professions, many people of color who have benefited from affirmative action have been from families of low income and job status. Another argument raised against affirmative action is that individual white people, especially white males, have to pay for past discrimination and may not get the jobs they deserve.

It is true that specific white people may not get specific job opportunities because of affirmative action policies and may not suffer as a result. This lack of opportunity is unfortunate; the structural factors which produce a lack of decent jobs needs to be addressed. It must not be forgotten that millions of specific people of color have also specific job opportunities as a result of racial discrimination. To be concerned only with the white applicants who don’t get the job, and not with the people who don’t, is showing racial preference (Greenberg1).

But how true is it that white males are being discriminated against or are losing out because of affirmative action programs? If one looks at the compositions of various professions such as law, medicine, architecture, academics, and journalism, or at corporate management, or at higher-level government positions. If one looks overall at the average income levels of white men immediately notices that people of color are still ignificantly underrepresented and underpaid in every category.

People of color don’t make up the proportions of these jobs even remotely equal to their percentage of the population. They don’t earn wages comparable to white men. White men are tremendously over represented in almost any category of work that is highly rewarded except for professional athletics. According to a 1995 government report, white males make up only 29 percent of the workforce, but they hold 95 percent of senior management positions (“Affirmative action4″).

Until there is both equak opportunity and air distribution of education, training and advancement to all Americans, affirmative action for people of color will be necessary to counter the hundreds of years of affirmative action that has been directed at white males. It cannot reasonably be argued that white males are discriminated against as a group if they are over represented in most high status categories (Scoggins6). Affirmative action programs have been effective in many areas of public life because they opened up opportunities for people who would not otherwise have them, ncluding white women and men.

Attacks on affirmative action are part of a systematic attempt to roll back progress in ending discrimination and to curtail a broad social commitment to justice and equality. Attacking affirmative action is self-destructive for all of us except the rich (” Affirmative Action”). Affirmative action is not a cure-all. It will not eliminate racial discrimination, nor will it eliminate competition for scarce resources. Affirmative action programs can only ensure that every one has a fair chance at what is available.

Affirmative Action as Racial Discrimination

The controversy over affirmative action is growing to embody most all selective decisions in American society. From public protection to college admissions, people are becoming resentful of such affirmative action programs. The applicability of these programs in today’s American society has been challenged by people ranging from the everyday \”Joe\”, who is finding reverse discrimination in the workplace, to college applicants, who are finding that it takes more than good grades to get admitted, to the Supreme Court, who is finding that some college admissions policies are unconstitutional and promote diversity through unfair means.

In California, for example, Gov. Pete Wilson has already pushed an initiative ending affirmative action practices in colleges and universities. The initiative passed, after a 10-hour meeting, through The California Board of Reagents with a 10-15 vote. in Michigan, the state legislature is conducting hearings on the \”fairness\” of affirmative action. David Jaye, a Republican member of the Michigan State legislature, said affirmative action creates economic imbalances within the system. Affirmative action policies are means for reverse discrimination against the non-minority population and should be repealed by the United States government.

The phrase \”affirmative action\” was first used in a racial discrimination context in Executive Order No. 10,925 issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 (Brown). This executive order indicated that federal contractors should take affirmative action to ensure that job applicants and employees are treated \”without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin\”(Brown). Kennedy’s executive order implied equal opportunity and nothing else. The system that has since evolved is a perversion of the original intent of affirmative action.

The dynamic history of affirmative action has its roots in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and stems from the United States Supreme Court Case of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order #11246 at Howard University that required federal contractors to undertake affirmative action to increase the number of minorities that they employ (Brown). He wanted to ensure that minorities were recruited to have real and equal opportunity to be hired and then eventually get a promotion.

When this Civil Rights Act was passed, its spirit was not one of reverse discrimination but of getting employers to consider applicants objectively in filling jobs within their companies. Hubert Humphrey, a major sponsor of the Act, swore that he would eat the bill if it were ever used for discrimination of any sort. The past cannot be changed and we should stop compensating people who were never hurt at the expense of people who have done them no harm.

In 1969, the Department of Labor exposed widespread racial discrimination of the Construction Department so President Richard M. Nixon decided to incorporate a system of \”goals and timetables\” to evaluate federal construction companies according to affirmative action. This idea of \”goals and timetables\” provided guidelines for companies to follow and comply with affirmative action regulations (Brown).

Many companies now use these quotas in order to receive tax breaks from the government. Now the government not only promotes discrimination but also pays the employers to do so. During the presidency of Gerald R. Ford, affirmative action was expanded to people with disabilities and Vietnam veterans but there were no goals or timetables for these two groups.

This type of affirmative action required recruitment efforts, accessibility, accommodation and reviews of physical and mental job qualifications (Brown). This legislation did wonders for the disabled in terms of jobs and promoted equality so that even the handicapped and elderly could receive employment. President Jimmy Carter consolidated all federal agencies that were required by law to follow affirmative action into the Department of Labor (Brown). Before Carter did this, each agency handled affirmative action in its own individual way.

However, some were not as consistent as other agencies. He created the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) in 1978 to ensure compliance with the affirmative action policies (Brown). Affirmative action has had its greatest amount of success in city, state, and federal government jobs. Slowly, the minority employment levels in these jobs began to generally mirror the relative minority population. Since the 1960s the area of law enforcement witnessed the greatest increase in minority applicants, and in jobs offered to minorities.

This should be viewed as an extremely positive thing, because prior to affirmative action these jobs were almost completely closed off to minorities and woman. The influx has been greatest in the area of government, state and city, because this type of work is easier for affirmative action to watch over and regulate. Affirmative action has experienced considerably less success in integration in big business, such as General Motors, RJR Nabisco, and Microsoft. This is do to the fact that big business’ often employ entire towns or regions so the minority employee percentage is generally representative the town’s minority population.

This is why big business has been more resistant to affirmative action and harder to regulate (Ryan 37). Long ago, the government sanctioned these affirmative action policies in order to create an equal opportunity for people of all races. In a time when an obvious discriminatory attitude toward minorities could be felt, affirmative action came to the rescue and helped to push equality and equal opportunity. Minorities could get jobs because they deserved them and the government as much. In today’s society, discrimination is less prevalent than in the 1970’s. People are generally tolerant of one another and can coexist without butting heads.

To those who would disagree, here are some data: 75% of black Americans say they have never suffered from discrimination in getting a quality education; 73% say that they have never been subject to discrimination in getting descent housing; 60% say they have never suffered discrimination in getting a job. These data are taken from a 1995 ABC News/Washington Post poll (Williams). As for females, 77% say they have never suffered from discrimination in terms of salaries on their present jobs; 73% have never suffered so in other places of employment; and 83% say they were never turned down for a job in favor of a man.

These are from a 1992 New York Times Women’s Survey (Quigly). In California, the issue of affirmative action is one of the most controversial. Asian students at the University of California’s Berkley campus were felt to be over-represented due to their outstanding academic performance and were actually placed at a disadvantage under certain affirmative action programs (Bresler). In Los Angeles County, affirmative action goals were raised for Hispanics, who, as a result of immigration, have become almost 40% of the county, and lowered for blacks who represent 12% of the population and have 30% of the county jobs (Bresler).

Due to this inequality of representation, new tensions have risen between the two groups. Previous to the passing of the California initiative named Proposition 209 in November 1996, Californian government agencies were pushed to employ reasonably skilled minorities and essentially required to make contracts almost exclusively with minority-owned businesses (Ayres). This type of hiring and contracting quietly removed non-minority-owned businesses from being in contention for receiving a government contract.

As a result, a lawsuit was filed against the state of California alleging that this form of public contracting violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and should be seen as reverse discrimination against non-minorities (Ayres). The man who filed the lawsuit won, and the policies, which govern such public contracting, have since been amended. In this instance, it was clearly seen that a preference toward certain minority groups was established and implemented, causing essentially the blacklisting of non-minority-owned businesses in the state of California.

This type of behavior is what can be classified as reverse discrimination, or discrimination primarily directed at Anglo and Asian American that is generally the result of affirmative action polices. Another instance where affirmative action was implemented without good reason occurred in the town of Piscataway Township, NJ (\”A Blow to\”). In this case, the Board of Education needed to lay off one teacher from the high school business faculty. The choice was narrowed down to Debra Williams, a black woman, or Sharon Taxman, who is white.

Both teachers had begun working on the same day in 1980 and were considered equal in ability. The two were also judged equal with respect to work performance, certification, evaluations, teaching ability and volunteerism (\”A Blow to\”). Rather than flip a coin, as was traditionally done, the Board of Education invoked a statewide affirmative action policy, for the first and only time in 18 years and retained Mr. Williams (Greenhouse). Board members reasoned that it was important, not only for the students, but also for the faculty, to maintain diversity on the business education staff (\”A Blow to\”).

Ms. Taxman sued under the Civil Right Act of 1964 and, with the support of the Bush Administration’s Justice Department, won in a Federal district court (Greenhouse). By the time the case reached the Federal appeals court, which is based in Philadelphia, the Clinton Administration was in office. The White House switched positions and argued that the school system could take race into account in determining which teacher to retain. The Administration argued that the lower court ruling excessively obstructed voluntary affirmative action programs (\”A Blow to\”).

This argument fell on deaf ears as the appeals court voted 8-to-4 and upheld the lower court’s decision (\”A Blow to\”). The majority found that under the law, race could be considered in hiring and layoffs to remedy past discrimination. But Piscataway’s schools had never been found guilty of discrimination and, other than the business faculty, there was no evidence that minorities were underrepresented among teachers in the high school or the district. With this considered, the majority held that favoring the black individual was illegal race discrimination (\”A Blow to\”).

Even though the goal in this case was to maintain diversity, the majority said that maintaining diversity could only be justified to correct past discrimination or a severe imbalance in the teaching force. Affirmative Action uses reverse discrimination to solve the problem of discrimination. In that, it promotes the hiring of less skilled workers: the employers have to choose from the best available employee from the minorities, instead of having the possibility to choose simply the best available employee.

This bothers employers as well as employees who do not qualify for Affirmative Action; the employers feel they ended up with a lesser quality worker. Every employee from a minority that benefits from Affirmative Action bears a mark of \”not being the best pick, but only the best pick from a limited group\”, even if the person was selected for being the best available on the complete job market. The bypassed employees feel tricked by the government or the minority. The last could fire up racism among the bypassed group, while affirmative action was introduced to decrease racism.

In the spring of 1996, a Federal court handed down a decision that helped to tip the constitutional scales. In Hopwood vs. Texas, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down an affirmative action program adopted by the University of Texas Law School that set lower minimum standards for Law School Admissions Tests (LSAT) and grade-point averages for blacks and Mexican-American applicants than for other groups (Bresler). The court ordered, under penalty of punitive damages, to adopt a colorblind admissions policy immediately.

Judge Jerry Smith, speaking for the Fifth Circuit, said, \”the use of race to achieve a diverse student body can not be a state interest compelling enough to meet the steep standard of steep standard of strict scrutiny. Within the general principles of the Fourteenth Amendment, the use of race in admissions for diversity in higher education contradicts, rather than furthers, the aims of equal protection\” (qtd. in Bresler). This argument shows that while trying to produce diversity within a college, corporation or factory, one can do more harm and create deeper chasms to form between to races.

Affirmative action does provide people from certain minorities with a job they would not have gotten. But if, after reading all the above, one could think of the quality of this job, in surroundings hostile towards the minority the employee is from, one could seriously doubt the fact whether this employee is happy with this job. It is better than no job, but that is about it. This same feeling can probably be applied to college students as well. Colleges and universities frequently also have quotas for how many blacks it is necessary to admit to \”round out\” their freshman classes.

An example is the admission practices at Berkeley. Only 40 per cent of the entering class in 1988 were selected solely on the basis of academic merit. While whites or Asian-Americans need at least a 3. 7 grade point average in high school to be considered for admission, most minority candidates who meet a lower fluctuating standard are automatically admitted (Shea). Berkeley continues this practice of preferential admissions for minorities even though the graduation rate of minorities is very low. Expectedly, 66 per cent of whites or Asian-Americans graduate, while only 27 per cent of black students graduate (Shea).

In the state of Michigan, Jennifer Gratz, a high school graduate who finished 13th out of her class of 298 with a 3. 7 G. P. A. and a 25 (out of 36) on the ACT, filed a lawsuit against the University of Michigan (Reibstein). The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor turned down Gratz, who is white, for admission, even though minorities with the same or lesser credentials were admitted. To prove her point, her lawyers say that they have uncovered confidential documents that explicitly spell out Michigan’s biased admissions policy.

Gratz says \”they are using race as a factor for admissions by weeding out students that aren’t of that minority race\” (qtd. in Reibstein). The documents, most of which simply have an intersecting grid of minimum accepted academic values that are classified into 2 columns: white and minority, show a clear bias by allowing the minimum academic values, such as the ACT or high school G. P. A. , to be lowered for the minority groups. Here is one example: for a white student with a 3. 7 G. P. A. (out of 4. and an SAT of 1,250 (out of 1,600) would be placed on the waiting list while a minority with the same numbers would be admitted.

Terence Pell, a lawyer for the Center for Individual rights says that \”this plan invokes the naked use of racial bias just for the sake of a certain racial mix\” (qtd. in Reibstein). By the University’s admissions office standard, non-minority applicants must excel past their already high scores and even then there is not a slight guarantee that these scores will not be undermined by the admissions policy.

The University of Michigan has created an unequal system where young, bright, non-minorities are discriminated against because their academic values are simply too high. This is the essence of reverse discrimination and its correlation to affirmative action. The most qualified individuals must succeed in modern day American society in an effort to promote competitiveness and the capitalistic theory that all are given an equal chance to achieve the \”American dream. \” The existence of affirmative action policies and quotas has prevented these efforts from flourishing. Furthermore, affirmative action creates unwanted race distinctions.

As a nation devoted to equality, the United States must do away with these unproductive race-dividing policies. By eliminating them, Americans can take major steps in promoting competition and overcoming the color barrier. In his famous march in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. longed for a society where \”people would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. \” Skin-color and social status should be irrelevant in hiring employees. Judging people by the \”content of their character\” and their capabilities will create a thriving country.

Affirmative Action in Higher Education A Solution to Structural Racism

It seems as if the roaring debate over affirmative action has again emerged. Much of the debate centers about education. Critics appear to believe that a policy to aggressively counter discrimination against minority groups is no longer necessary and, further, serves only to create unfair privileges. My paper will investigate the question of affirmative action in schooling for minorities in order to address the issue of affirmative action in college admissions.

What is the evidence that supports arguments for or arguments against affirmative action policies in college admissions? Affirmative action is defined in Websters dictionary as “a policy or program for correcting the effects of discrimination in the employment of education of members of certain groups. ” There are many different types of advantage policies that no one seems to question. For example, there are many students who get privileges at universities because their parents or relatives are alumni.

No one pickets or rallies against this practice. Minority groups are trying to keep affirmative action in order to compensate for the lack of demographic and economic balances within the population of educational systems. A major crisis facing American higher education today is the rapidly declining number of Blacks successfully graduating from institutions of higher education at all levels– 2-year and 4-year colleges, graduate schools, and professional schools.

Many educators, political leaders, civil rights groups, and other concerned organizations have expressed alarm in recent years about the drop in the percentage of Black high school graduates who go on to 4-yeart colleges and beyond. “Although more Blacks are obtaining high school diplomas, the number of Black high school graduates, ages 18 to 25 years old, who enrolled in college fell from 33. % in 1976 t 26. 1% in 1985” (Lang, Barriers to Blacks, p. 510; U. S. Bureau of the Census, 1987). To some extent this decline in Black college enrollment reflects an overall national decline in college enrollment.

Yet, the enrollment of the traditionally underrepresented minorities has been increasing. Even more devastating is the fact that the graduation rate of Blacks from 4-year colleges, graduate schools, and professional schools has dropped drastically as well. What are the reasons for this situation? What can or needs to be done in order to change these trends? What are the potential consequences if these trends are not changed? Part of the problem is encouraging Black youths to make the transition from high school to college.

The more crucial concern, however, “is getting Black youths through college to graduation and into and graduate from graduate and professional schools” (Wilson, The Black Community in the 1980s, p. 459). To begin addressing these pertinent questions, it is necessary to examine some factors that are affecting Blacks in higher education in recent years. Recent research clearly shows that the higher attrition rates of Black students are largely attributable to their socio-economic background and to certain peculiar characteristics of higher education institutions.

Yet, “it has also become clear that when socio-economic factors are controlled, the attrition rate of Blacks after enrolling in college is not strikingly different from that of Whites” (David, Achievement and Ascription in Admission to an Elite College, p. 371). This points directly to the significance of institutional factors on the attrition of Black Students after college enrollment. The research literature (Astin, 1975, 1982; Christoffel, 1986) further provides specific explanations for the disproportionately large attribution for Black students.

Those factors include the academic preparation of Black students for higher education, the availability of family resources and access to institutional financial-aid resources, and the institutional barriers to access, enrollment, and retention. Why does equal opportunity in higher educational institutions continue to be a problem for minorities? Why do the retention and graduation rates for Blacks continue to decline? And, what are viable options for improving the access and retention of minorities in institutions of higher education?

These are some of the major questions that must be addressed in a systematic research agenda. “The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s was in part a struggle to gain for minorities equal access to the nations institutions of higher learning” (Lang, Barriers to Blacks, p. 14). Yet, over a quarter of a century later, minorities are still underrepresented, as students, faculty, and staff, at predominately White colleges and universities across the country. The inequitable status of minorities in higher educational institutions continues has generated considerable scholarly debate over the last few years.

It was during the administration of President John F. Kennedy that significant programs were initiated to provide federal financial aid for minority students to pursue a college education. During the early 1960s, the federal government instituted such programs as the National Defense Educational Act (NDEA), the National Defense Student Loan program (NDSL), and work-study programs that made it easier for minority students (especially Blacks) to have the financial support necessary to attend college for the first time in the nations history” (Lang, Barriers to Blacks, p. 15).

Other programs followed in the mid and late 1960s, such as the Basic Education Opportunity Grants program (BEOG) and the Equal Opportunity Grants (EEOP). Both of these programs provided direct loans or grants to low-income and minority students who qualified for college admissions and enrollment. Because of these programs, these students began to enroll en masse in colleges and universities across the nation. By the mid-1970s the enrollment of Black students had reached its historic peak.

The predominately Black colleges and universities felt the initial effects and reaped the benefits of these programs. The attack on affirmative action began with the Reagan/Bush administration decision to not enforce certain federal policies on affirmative action. During this era, “substantial reallocations were made in federal student aid programs, with a significant impact because most minority college students depend on some form of federal financial aid” (Wilkerson, The Masks of Meritocracy and Egalitarianism, p. 65).

The decrease in federal support for minority student financial-aid programs has certainly hurt the access of minority students to institutions of higher learning. Furthermore, their generally inferior socio-economic status continues to be severe deterrents to obtaining a higher education. For example, “approximately 31. 5% of Blacks and other non-Hispanic minority families in the U. S. live below the poverty level” (Wilson, The Black Community in the 1980s, p. 456). Similarly, about 28% of Hispanic families live below the poverty level (U. S. Bureau of the Census, 1985, 1987).

The results suggest that affirmative action policies implemented by colleges during the 1960s and early 1970s were successful in encouraging the enrollment of Black students. Increased funding of scholarship award programs would provide a mechanism for reversing the recent downward trend in minority enrollment in institutions of higher education. The aforementioned statistics have serious implications for family resources available to support the funding of higher education and for the preparedness of minority students to succeed in college once they get accepted.

Minority families, in general, earn substantially less than White families in the United States. Thus, fewer families resources are available to provide exposure to as many learning experiences for minority children outside of school. “Considering the general poorer quality of public secondary schools in minority neighborhoods, minority students would be less adequately prepared t score as high on college entrance tests as white students” (White, Two Views of Standardized Testing, p. 335).

Yet, scholars seldom consider this when they debate the lower level of minority students performance on college entrance exams. Nevertheless, there are sufficient data available to show that when the college entrance test scores of minority and White students of similar socio-economic status and background are compared, their scores are relatively comparable” (White Two Views of Standardized Testing, p. 340). This supports the argument that the lack of financial resources, family situations, and other social and economic factors results in minority students being less prepared for college success.

A blatant fallacy is the notion that low college entrance scores, or college entrance scores themselves, are the best measures and predictors of intelligence. These scores measure best what one has already learned both in and out of school, not ones intellectual capability or capacity to learn. In a recent report, Orfield and Paul (1988) concluded that four major issues are clearly linked to the declining admission and retention rates of minority students in higher education.

According to Lang, these issues include: * segregation in primary and secondary schools *Increasing costs of higher education *Inadequate assistance to unprepared students *Lack of commitment to equal opportunity by institutions of higher education. Continuing segregation of minority students in primary and secondary schools with poor facilities affects every aspect of student preparedness. Orfield and Paul (1988) compared majority White schools to schools where more that five out of six students were from minority backgrounds.

In most cases, the minority schools had: *Teachers with fewer advanced degrees, and degrees from less prestigious or less selective colleges *Fewer resources for counseling those students who relied more on counselors for course decisions and for making college choices Wider differences in scores on achievement tests The gap that is widening between the learning experiences of minority students and their non-minority counterparts can also be attributed to the continuing segregation in primary and secondary schools. This comes from tracking, less enriching curricula and academic programs, and ultimately less preparation and capability for college entry” (Wilkerson, The Mask of Meritocracy and Egalitarianism, p. 65).

Scholars generally recognize the deteriorating conditions of the inner-city schools that most minority students attend. There appears to be an unspoken agreement among higher educational institutions (especially predominately White institutions) to ignore this factor when evaluating students for admission.

The philosophy of these institutions is to attract and admit the best prepared students they can find” (David, Achievement and Ascription in Admission to an Elite College, p. 380). Thus, these institutions look upon redemption and development programs or other programs that address the needs of under-prepared students as automatically lowering the standards, tarnishing the image, and damaging the reputation of their fine institutions.

Admittedly, there is still a gross lack of commitment on the part of institutions, state and federal agencies, and higher education leaders to improve the access of minorities to higher education” (Lang, Barriers to Blacks, p. 518). During the past decade, there has been noticeable decline in national sentiment favoring equal opportunity, fairness, and a commitment to the concerns of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. Since academic institutions are microcosms reflecting the larger society, this attitude has obviously trickled down to them as well.

Higher education administrators and scholars alike know that the direction within academic institutions permeates form the top downward. Thus, if the boards of trustees and chief academic officers at these institutions “were to commit themselves to equal opportunity and direct their underlings to carry out their directives, minority access would improve as well” (Wilson, The Black Community in the e1980s, p. 339). Because Civil Rights enforcement became essentially non-existent in the 1980s, institutions view this relaxed mood of the federal government as an endorsement of its non-commitment to equal access and opportunity for minorities.

Orfield and Paul (1988) characterize this scenario perfectly by stating that “where there is no commitment there can be only token response or none at all” (p. 61). In addressing the need for minority student retention and access, one solution lies outside of national legislation and policy-making. If diversity is truly one of the goals of higher education, then the need for change should first be realized by these institutions. We can legislate actions, but we cannot legislate attitudes and commitments. It is the attitude and commitment of institutions that need to be changed.

Most institutions have had affirmative action and equal opportunity policies for more than twenty years; and now they are trying to take these programs away. Very basic issues still need to be addressed, and indeed some new policy-making may be appropriate. In the meantime, much can be done to improve the access and retention of minorities in higher education. “Colleges and universities can begin by strengthening their linkages with elementary and secondary schools in inner-city areas, where the greatest minority populations reside” (Wilson, The Black Community in the 1980s, p. ).

Atwell (1988) points out that higher education institutions are obligated t o work with these schools, not to rescue the students or share great wisdom, but because their futures are inextricably tied to each other. When colleges and universities have exemplary programs to pilot, they are already available for elementary and secondary schools. If these institutions would begin to take their model programs to inner-city areas, improvements could begin toward the preparation of minority students for college work.

The ultimate problem is that too many higher education institutions, and the public resources that support them, exist only for the elite upper classes while few exist for the masses. In the end, society pays double. Because we fail to fully overcome the burden of historic exclusionary and discriminatory racial practices in the educational system, we fail to fully use and develop our most valuable national resource, our human resource. Minority student access and retention are educational processes they are not merely programs.

The success of these programs should not be measured by the mere numbers of minority students being enrolled in and graduating from colleges. They should be measured by structural changes in institutions designed to accommodate the diversity of skills, cultural backgrounds, adeptness, and historical legacies that minorities bring with them to school. This is what affirmative action does. It enables minorities to start at the same level at which Whites begin. They should also be measured by the articulation and realization of the institutions commitment to minority access and success.

Opposing Views On Affirmative Action

Since the beginning of time there has been prejudice and hate. Adam and Eve hated snakes. Jews hated Jesus. Sugar Ray Leonard hated Tommy Hearns. Prejudice is caused by two things: ignorance and hate. Prejudice and mistreatment has existed in this country, first with American-Indians and then later with African-Americans and other minorities. The selling and trading of slaves is a shadow that has been hanging over the heads of white Americans for two centuries. Some people feel that it is the white-American’s duty to pay the black population back.

According to Spencer Perkins, co-author of More than Equals: Racial Healing for the Sake of Gospel, in reference to the long-standing racial divisions in America, “It took us 300 years to separate ourselves like this, it’s going to take a while to undo that. ” (Zipperer 44) Affirmative action is designed to give minorities, such as blacks, the opportunity to maintain jobs in our prejudicial society. For those who support Affirmative Action they define it as a way to give the disadvantaged a chance at the “American dream. ” Those who do not support Affirmative Action define it as giving minorities positions that they are not qualified to have.

As Mr. Khalenberg, head editor of The New Republic says, “we will still reward those who play the victim” (Khalenberg 27). Just imagine that you have gone through six years of college and have gotten your degree. You go looking for a job and even though they are tough to come by you manage to get an interview with a well-known company. The interviewer tells you that you and one other person are equally qualified and in the running for the job. You get a call later telling you that you didn’t get the job because the company had to hire a minority.

You would most likely be angry, right? The purpose of this paper is to show the differences in how people feel about the issues involved with affirmative action. This paper was written to give different views on affirmative action. First I will give a little background and general information on the subject. Secondly, I will show how those that are in support of affirmative action feel. I will then balance the arguement out by showing how those who oppose affirmative action feel. I will also explore the minorities that are also against affirmative action.

Finally, I will tell what causes the consequences that affirmative action brings. The definition according to Webster’s New World Dictionary College Edition, is “a policy or program for correcting the effects of discrimination in the employment or education of members of certain groups, as women, blacks, etc. ” In today’s world some people deem it necessary to balance the discrimination that is prominent in today’s workplace. According to Juliane O’Gara, Affirmative Action does not mean hiring unqualified women or minorities over qualified white male applicants, nor does it mean quotas.

In fact, hiring somebody solely on the basis of race or gender without concern for merit is the very definition of discrimination, be it against women or men, whites or minorities. The courts have said repeatedly that the purpose of Affirmative Action programs is to create an environment where merit can prevail’ (O’Gara 25, my emphasis). This states in not so many words how Affirmative Action is considered reverse discrimination. Many people believe that the hiring of unqualified employees is actually how Affirmative Action works; giving jobs to those who are unqualified strictly because they are a minority.

Those that believe in the idea behind Affirmative Action actually believe that jobs should be given based on merit not just the idea of hiring anyone that happens to be of a different color or be a minority. But if the opportunity arises where there is an equally qualified minority and a white male some believe that the minority should be given the job. Juliane O’Gara gives an example of this in one of her articles: Discrimination in the workplace is a reality, and Affirmative Action is constantly at work to eliminate it.

Consider this example: A job opens in a field currently dominated by white men. Ten people apply for the job, some of them women and some of them minorities. Out of the four individuals who are qualified, one of them is a woman, and the other three are white men. Assuming that all applicants are equally qualified, then the female candidate should be offered the job, unless there is a clear, nondiscriminatory reason as to why it should not be offered to her (O’Gara 25). It seems that others in prominent positions would agree.

Some actually encourage the hiring of minorities and women. Kermit Ecklebarger, dean at Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary, states “Our principle is that if we have two people who are of equal quality, we will choose the person from the underrepresented group. ” (Zipperer 43) This decision is also considered reverse discrimination because of the fact that white males are not getting the jobs that they are specifically trained for. In Jeffrey Rosen’s article Is Affirmative Action Doomed? he says, “Consider the case of faculty hiring.

The number of positions is far more limited; and when a certain number of them are set aside only for blacks, there are especially heavy costs on the rejected whites, who have invested an extraordinary amount of time in specialized preparation. ” (Rosen 31) All that time spent on learning a specific trade and not being able to make the most of that skill seems a little wasteful. It also can explain the despair among white males about not getting jobs they know they are qualified for. There are many groups that are for Affirmative Action and for the equal treatment of minorities.

Juliane O’Gara states in her article Affirmative Action: Leveling the Playing Field, More than 150 years ago, Sarah Grimke, the famous abolitionist, said, “I ask no favor for my sex… All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks. ” While many believe that Affirmative Action means giving preferential treatment, in reality it does not. In fact, where there is clear discrimination – when employers utilize numerical quotas, for example- the law has been violated and those discriminated against should seek the protection of civil rights statutes.

The solution for these situations is for the law to be enforced, rather than repealed. (O’Gara 26) This simply states that although there are some employers that hire minorities even if they are unqualified, the government should not stop Affirmative Action completely. There is the belief in the minority community that prejudice is a constant and that without Affirmative Action they would not stand a chance. Ron Brown of the NAACP says that, “We’re not ready to be color-blind because racial discrimination continues to afflict our society.

Affirmative Action continues to be needed not to redress grievances of the past, but the current discrimination that continues to exist. ” (Khalenberg 26) There seems to be two main ingredients in the mixture of pro-Affirmative Action. The idea that no minority stands a chance in a white world or the idea that Affirmative Action will pay back for what white men have done to minorities in the past. John Zipperer states in his article Is Discrimination Destined to Stay? , Long-standing social division along color lines gives rise to misunderstanding in a profound way.

If you scratch deep enough on any African American, you find someone who is seeking in some sense to be free,” says Melvin Banks, chief executive officer of Chicago’s Urban Ministries. “White people come with the assumption that ‘I am free. ‘” Among blacks, there remains a keen awareness that discrimination is alive and well in America. A March Gallup Poll of 1,220 adults… showed that half of all blacks believe that they have encountered some form of job discrimination. The poll also found that 55 percent of Americans- including 72 of blacks- favor affirmative action programs for minorities and women.

While only 35 percent of all Americans believe businesses should establish quotas to make up for past discrimination, 63 percent of blacks favor such policies. (Zipperer 43) Contrary to what some white people think, blacks are not dumb. They know they are treated unfairly and therefore some blacks feel it is necessary to take advantages of all the opportunities that are given to them. A perfect example would be Vela McClam Mitchell. She graduated college with a master’s in education and an MBA. She was having difficulty finding a job but affirmative action helped her.

She states, Without Northwest’s commitment to affirmative action, I wouldn’t have gotten the job at the airline or my current position at Worldspan. I think people gravitate toward people who are like them – who talk like them, act like them, look like them. And that means without affirmative action programs, a lot of white males won’t let people like me in. The attitude is, “It’s our playground, and we decide who comes into it. ” (Jones 40) Ms. Mitchell is one of thousands that affirmative action programs have helped.

Without some intervention of the government to install affirmative action programs Ms. Mitchell and many others would be without jobs. Not only minorities support affirmative action. White people support it as well. Although it may seem selfish, the white supporters are looking out for themselves. John Zipperer explains, “In twenty to thirty years, these [minorities] are the people who are going to be paying for social security. If they don’t get the training and the education, how are we going to pay for others’ retirement and the national debt.

Whatever the reason behind it, whites are beginning to support affirmative action in large numbers. Most people that are against the idea of affirmative action are the ones that it will hurt the most: white men. It seems that whites are afraid that the minorities that affirmative action is helping will take the jobs that they believe are theirs. For whites there is a feeling that it will hurt more than it will help. One way that it will hurt more than it will help is that it will cause tension between the races.

John Zipperer gives his feelings on the tension of the races, In understanding the racial divide in America, the role of the historic social divide between the races cannot be underestimated. “We’ve done a very efficient job of separating ourselves along racial lines,” says [Spencer] Perkins who also serves as editor of Urban Family magazine in Jackson Mississippi. “You might bump into each other in the workplace, but anything private tends to be [split] along racial lines. ” (Zipperer 43) Our country is very separate right now and anything that could separate it even more could be suicide.

As of now, in many cities across America there is a feeling of unrest between black and white communities. Glynn Custred, a California professor says, “The policies that we have today are pervasive and are spreading everywhere. They are weakening our institutions, and they cause a stigma for those who are supposed to be helped by it. ” (Zipperer 44) Another reason there are people that dislike affirmative action is that it doesn’t benefit all minorities. Affirmative action benefits only larger minorities like women, blacks, some Hispanics, and Asians.

Dante Ramos of The New Republic states, Suppose your ancestors were ostracized by mainstream American society because they looked different and talked funny. Perhaps they were hounded because of religious or cultural differences. And a generation or more later, your socioeconomic status remains relatively low. Seems like you’re a prime candidate for affirmative action assistance. But you’re a Pennsylvania German, and you don’t make the list. (Ramos 24) What Mr. Ramos went on to explain is that Pennsylvania Germans as well as other minorities don’t get affirmative action assistance even though they are minorities.

Although Pennsylvania Germans make less than blacks and Hispanics they still are refused the aid they need. (Ramos 24) He went on to say, While it may seem facetious to advocate affirmative action for the Pennsylvania Germans, their case raises two questions: Which ethnic groups deserve to be on “the list”- the familiar, albeit unmodified roster of affirmative action beneficiaries? And what criteria determine whether a group is deserving? (Ramos 24) Mr. Ramos makes a good point. How are the people that are on the list chosen?

The truth is the main minorities make the list while other minorities that don’t have as large a population are left off. Assuming the fact that whites do not get on the “list” and blacks do, what happens to those who are mixed? Are they left out? Are they “unclassified? ” This doesn’t only happen with mullato’s. It happens with others who have mixed bloodlines as well. Mr. Ramos goes into detail, The most-cited standard is skin color. Yet as soon as you consider Hispanics, problems arise. Hispanics can be of any race, and fifty-three percent call themselves white.

White Hispanics usually get reclassified in order to make the list. New York City’s Department of Business Services, for example, lets businesses owned mainly by Hispanics, along with those by blacks, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, bid slightly higher for municipal contracts. These groups benefit since they’re all “basically people of color,” as spokesperson Jill Mainelli labels them. On the other hand, Spaniards, who are more typically white than are Latin Americans, often don’t make the cut. At Carnegie-Mellon University, for instance, Latin Americans get an admissions edge that Spaniards do not.

Ramos 24) Aside from not all minorities getting equal treatment and causing problems between the races, there is the fact that there are certain instances where white males are passed over for jobs or released from their current jobs in favor of an unqualified minority. In the words of assistant attorney general for civil rights, Deval Patrick, “racial preferences are permissible only when they’re temporary, and intended to remedy the effects of past discrimination, or to eliminate a “manifest imbalance’ in the racial makeup in the workplace as a whole. (Flick 110) Patrick’s ideas would work if whites would not miss out on job opportunities.

His idea of temporary changes may not work because of the fact that some things don’t stay temporary. Patrick stated later, “… when whites are fired because of their race, the euphemistic distinction between affirmative action and reverse discrimination becomes impossible to sustain. ” (Rosen 28) It becomes an impossible battle to differentiate between affirmative action and reverse discrimination. Just like whatever goes up comes down and whenever there is an action there is always an opposite reaction, whenever someone gets a job at the expense of someone else there is going to be someone who has to suffer.

Although affirmative action would be very beneficial to them, there are some minorities that refuse to except what affirmative action programs have to offer. It may be because of the fact that minorities have overcome so much in the past such as slavery and the women’s movement. Flick 110) It seems that some minorities take exception at being seen as “charity cases. ” Ms. Leigh Fulwood, a lawyer at The Regional Legal Counsel in Seattle is one woman in particular who says she would take offense to being “given” a job through affirmative action. She states, I would be mortified if I thought somebody hired me because I’m female.

I’m a bike racer- I race against men and women- and if I pulled up to the starting line and they said, “Well, Leigh, why don’t you go ahead and get a two or three minute start on everybody,” that would not be the point. The whole point is to race with the pack, to perform at the level, to go at their speed, to learn the pack dynamic. I want to be an athlete out there. And you know what? I am. They don’t cut me any slack because I’m female. (Jones 46) Ms Fulwood also states that she also believes that the way you are treated in the workplace is based on how you perceive yourself.

She says, I know it sounds naive, but it never occurred to me that my gender was an issue, much less a problem. It really has never been one to me, and therefore I don’t think it’s been one to anybody else. Or if it has been, I have, perhaps somewhat deliberately, chosen to ignore that. I think we bring on our treatment, to a great extent, with our expectations. (Jones 46) To an extent Ms. Fulwood may be right. If one has self confidence than they will usually be treated with a greater amount of respect. The consequences of affirmative action vary depending on the situation.

In some cases affirmative action can help those who need it. It helps those that are in tough situations by being classified as minorities. In other aspects it hurts the white male who has spent long tedious hours learning a trade in which he may never find a job to show off his skills. Affirmative action is now being recognized by the courts as a source of reverse discrimination. In April, the U. S. Supreme Court made verdicts on two racially charged court decisions. John Zipperer reports, “In one verdict, a judge voided a quota for black Birmingham firefighters, designed to increase promotions.

In the second case, a jury handed out a damage award of $425,000 to a white Pennsylvania engineer who was passed over for promotion in favor of a less-qualified black man. ” (Zipperer 42) Affirmative Action is an issue that is very controversial in America right now. White America and the minorities are at deadlock in agreeing on what they feel is right. Unfortunately, we cannot come to an agreement because we are so diversified. Although there are many that disagree about whether or not giving minorities a slight advantage is just, we can all agree that there is a too much prejudice and hatred in America today.

Because of the horrid history of this nation, the disgust directed at “White America” is not surprising, however, it does seem surprising to many Americans that there are minorities who are against affirmative action. This country, whether we will admit it or not, was built on the blood and sweat of minorities. Therefore it should not be unexpected that minorities would like a fair share of what this country has the to offer. If this happens, maybe minorities will someday have the opportunity to walk our “streets of gold. “

The Effects Of Past Societal Discrimination

In the United States a process called Affirmative Action is used to help to overcome the affects of past societal discrimination by granting jobs and resources to members of specific groups, such as minorities and women. The policy was implemented by federal agencies enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and by the Equal Employment Opportunities Act of 1972. While many people believe it is a step in the right direction in stopping employment discrimination, it is taking jobs from qualified persons because they are not of a certain race or gender, in turn doing the same thing that was done to minorities and women for years.

I do not support affirmative action for several reasons. This policy would enable two people who apply for a job in an office building for the same position to be judged differently. One applicant is white and the other is black. Only one slot is available. The two applicants have the same exact level of education and work experience. They both have great recommendations and great credentials.

According to affirmative action, however, the person of African American origin is automatically better qualified, in an attempt to integrate the work place of higher employment positions. So, in essence, the person of African American heritage is receiving the job only because he is a different race. Now, in the early 1970s this policy was invented to help put a stop to racial discrimination in the work place, but with this policy you are doing the exact same thing you set out to stop, but to the other race.

I do not think it is fair to integrate our work forces at someone elses expense. One specific group of people that do not support the policy is, surprising to most, the Asian-American society. Many Asian Americans, specifically Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese, argue that affirmative action policies ultimately harm them. While these policies exist to help the underrepresented, they claim that they are over represented. Their argument is, therefore, similar to that of the white majority.

They state that race-based policies such as affirmative action should be abolished based on the argument that group-based affirmative action hurt individuals. Those against affirmative action claim that eliminating affirmative action would increase the Asian American admission rate. They say that Asian American achievement and integration into American society is a proof that affirmative action programs are no longer needed and they hinder opportunities for “qualified” Asian Americans. On the other hand, I do understand what the goal of the government is by doing so.

Early in our countries history minorities were withheld the education and opportunities that the common white male was. This has had a chain effect on our society today. According to federal employment statistics there is a 28 percent difference in employment between minorities and non-minorities. This is largely due to poor education and poor employment opportunities in areas of lower income. This is a great and daunting task to overcome, and it must be dealt with. But it cannot be dealt with at the cost of another citizen.

Now granted the playing field is not level yet, and granting modest advantages to minorities and women is more than fair, given hundreds of years of discrimination that benefited whites and men. But our government and civil rights activists, which are the best in the world, have to find a better and more effective way to even the scale with out taking away opportunities from qualified persons. We are not benefiting the nation as a whole with this policy. It hurts the individual more then it aids the minority.

Affirmative Action – Public Opinion vs. Policy

When Justin Ketcham, a white college student from the suburbs, thinks about affirmative action, he thinks about what happened when he sent out letters seeking scholarships so he could attend Stanford University after being accepted during his senior year of high school. The organizations that wrote back told him their money was reserved for women or minorities. To Americans like Ketcham, it’s a matter of fairness. The average white male will claim that it’s not fair to attempt to rebalance scales by balancing them the other way.

Students like Ketcham are also more likely to claim that affirmative action is a program eared towards curtailing workplace prejudices that really don’t exist anymore. But when Hillary Williams, a black insurance company manager from the inner-city, thinks about affirmative action, she thinks about the time she had to train three consecutive white male bosses for a job that no one even approached her about filling. To her, it’s also a question of fairness.

African-Americans like Hillary feel that there is just no other was besides affirmative action to level the playing field in certain businesses. And so the disparity in public opinion begins. A racially-divided America creates separate roups, which “Affirmative Action issue taps a fundamental cleavage in American Society” (Gamson and Modigliani 170)–each with their own view of affirmative action on different sides of the line. Government attempts to create policy based upon the voice of the people but affirmative action seems to present an almost un-solvable dilemma.

Traditionally, it had been a policy that was greatly scrutinized for its quotas and alleged unfairness towards Blacks, but at the same time it had also been praised for its inherent ability to help minorities gets jobs they deserve but could not obtain otherwise. So how do we reach a “happy medium” so-to-speak? In American political culture, it appears as though individualism and egalitarianism are values that find themselves on opposite ends of the political battlefield.

In a complex world of political ideology and political culture are sets of values and principles that are widely endorsed by politicians, educators, the media and other opinion leaders that make up the definition of what is to be American (Feldman and Zaller). Some favor the values of individual freedom, especially individual economic freedom, over other values, especially equality nd popular sovereignty (egalitarianism). These people are labeled Conservatives. The other side of the spectrum consider themselves as Liberals (Feldman and Zaller).

Because we live in a meritocracy created by the strong forces of capitalism, there is a tendency for people to fall behind either in the economy or in the academic community. During the Civil Rights movement of 1960’s, affirmative action was implemented with the idea and hope that America would finally become truly equal. The tension of the 1960s civil rights movement had made it very clear that the nations minority and female population was not eceiving equal social and economic opportunity. The implementation of affirmative action was America’s first honest attempt at solving a problem it had previously chose to ignore.

The Philadelphia Plan was one of the first major vehicles for affirmative action named for the first city in which a labor department agreement with federal contractors had been reached. “The plan set specific numerical goals for each of the minority employment and the availability pool. ” Labor Department officials announced that “because of the deplorably low rate of employment among minority groups” in the industry, they ould set up similar plans in other major cities (Gamson and Modigliani 139). Today, without a college degree will definitely decrease the chance of upward mobility.

Public universities give preferences to minorities based on race and gender. Many private universities, including Harvard, Chicago and Stanford, have given preferences to the children of alumni, faculty, and athletes. This is not to say that public universities give the same preferential treatment, but it goes to show that public institutions use affirmative action to uplift the non-privileged minority (Leslie 1991, 59). And universities gives special cholarships and fellowships to a limited amount of applicants from a particular, regional, gender, ethnic, or religious backgrounds (Lipset 39).

Conservatives believe that people could achieve social mobility by “hard work (and ambition) rather than lucky breaks or help from other people” (Lipset 30). From 1983 through 1990, surveys taken by NORC found that around two-thirds of respondents consistently agreed that “people get ahead by hard work (and) a much largerpercentage said ambition” (Lipset 30). In October 1989, poll taken by ABC News-Washington Post, found that 60 percent of whites and 60 percent of blacks greed with the statements: “if blacks would try harder, they could be just as well off as whites.

Conservatives (whites) are overwhelmingly non-supportive to affirmative action or preferential treatment, as seen from responses to the following NES questions in 1988 and 1992 (Sniderman and Piazza 1993, 104): Some people say that because of past discrimination it is sometimes necessary for colleges and universities to reserve openings for black student. Other oppose quotas because they say quotas give blacks advantages they haven’t earned. What about your opinion-are you for or against quotas to admit black students?

For Against Unsure 1988: 33% 58% 9% 1992: 23% 71% 6% Some people say that because of past discrimination, blacks should be given preference in hiring and promotion. Others say that such preference in hiring and promotion is wrong because it discriminates against whites. What about your opinion-are you for or against preferential hiring for blacks? For Against Unsure 1988: 19% 75% 6% 1992: 13% 84% 3% The attitudes on affirmative action are firmly held for the white majority.

Sniderman and Piazza says that the opposition of egalitarian polices like affirmative action lead to a negative stereotyping of minorities. Among the randomly selected sample, one-half of them were asked about black stereotypes- they are irresponsible, they are lazy, they are arrogant. These questions were the immediately followed by a single question about affirmative action in employment. The other half of the sample was asked the same question about blacks, but they were immediately preceded by the question about affirmative action in employment.

The data show significantly higher percentages of egative stereotypes about blacks for the sample getting the affirmative action questions (Sniderman and Piazza 1993, 97-104). Sniderman and Piazza (1993, 109) concluded that “affirmative action is so intensely disliked that it has led some whites to dislike blacks-an ironic example of a policy meant to put the divided of race behind us in fact further widening it. ” Study completed by Stanley Dickinson, argued that students somewhat feel the same way that Sniderman and Piazza stated above.

He asked 759 anonymous ‘non- minority students’ about their thoughts of stereotyping among certain racial groups. out of 10 or 80% of the students said at one particular time they had used ‘negative stereotyping’ as a result from affirmative action. It goes to show that affirmative action or preferential treatment constitutes a negative opinion (emphasis from Sniderman and Piazza). ” The same survey found 52 percent of blacks and 56 percent of whites accepting the view that “discrimination has unfairly held down blacks, but many of the problems blacks in this country have (back then) brought on by blacks themselves” (Lipset 50).

According to Sears and Kinder 1971, he argues that “symbolic racism” explains the lack of support among hites for particular remedies to solve the problem of racial discrimination. Whites are more likely to respond to symbolic racism (i. e. Black, Mexican, etc. ) rather than policy content of the question. Over the past few decades, straight out racism is quite unacceptable. “Now racial hostility is expressed indirectly by a glorification of traditional values such as ‘work ethic’ and ‘ individualism,’ in which blacks and other minorities groups are seen as deficient” (Sears 1986).

Sniderman and Piazza argue the rival explanation of straightforward politics. They argue that “the central problem of racial olitics is not the problem of prejudice” (1993, 107). The agenda of the civil rights movement has changed from one of equal opportunity to equal outcomes. The vast majority of the American Creed view the new civil rights program of racial quotas and affirmative action very much contrast with the principle of equal opportunity for all (Erikson/Tedin 95).

Although the civil rights movement fabricated most of the political culture, progress for socio-economic equality has been inadequate, uneven and unsteady. This fact in itself urges the public to argue for changed policies. Today, eople are listing to the ‘individualistic’ side rather than tipsy egalitarian side of the political spectrum. Proposition 209 was an civil rightsinitiative that utilized conservative values of individualistic principles to get rid of 1There are only 7 counties that did not support the initiative.

Women, especially white women, have by many measures made greater gains than minorities (Lester PG), a sore point that could complicate coalition-building now that affirmative action is under fire. Whatever its role in spawning a healthy black middle class, it has barely touched black poverty or reduced an nduring gap between white and black unemployment rates. Given this pattern, it is hardly surprising that the much touted review of federal programs commissioned by the President, should have included a considerable amount of straightforward advocacy for the diversity principle.

For example, that the “competitiveness of our society and economy” depends upon building an “inclusive” economy, and adds that in science, education, and other fields, there will be “dangerous shortages of talent if we continue to draw the ranks of those professions so overwhelmingly from among white males only” (Aptheker 15). The suggestion that women and minorities offer abilities different from and in some ways superior to those of white men is echoed elsewhere in the assertion that diversity “is critical to the quality of certain institutions and professions.

Throughout, society’s equilibrium is measured by the standard of proportional representation, and any deviation from the norm is regarded as a major social wrong. But affirmative action is, after all , a policy which has survived at least in theme for years in the face of widespread, and often angry, disapproval. It is also a policy whose potential constituency is quite ormidable, encompassing blacks, certain immigrants groups, and women-in other words, over half the population.

True, many women, Hispanics, and Asians are ambivalent about or in some cases hostile to the idea of group rights, but Americans retain a powerful attachment to the principle of affirmative action, and many in the new black middle class have come back to look on it as an entitlement-much as the elderly view Medicare or farmers regard crop subsidies. Support for affirmative action also enjoys the status of a litmus test of group loyalty for black elected officials and civil-rights leaders.

Affirmative action is a cheap and easy way to remedy societal fall backs Over the last few decades, public opinion about affirmative actions has changed tantamount to public policy. The original affirmative-action initiative emerged out of a belief that the racial neutrality enshrined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not suffice to change the face of American society. According to this reasoning, even if individual blacks were no longer being denied opportunities, black as a whole would nevertheless, simply because the country’s economic and educational institutions functioned in a systemically iscriminatory way.

It was in the basis of this theory-known popularly as the doctrine of institutional racism-that the earliest affirmative action plans called for lowering employment standards en masse, and for coercing corporations and government agencies into agreements which, in practice, often led to defacto quotas (emphasis aptheker 16). According to S. M. Lipset, Americans believe strongly in both values: individualism and egalitarianism. But affirmative action has, since its inception, been an ever-present example of government attempting to create a public policy that would appeal all.

Some commentators content that the move to affirmative action came because the nation, faced with the financial demands of the Vietnam War buildup, was unable to afford the vast sums necessary on social programs to help the poor compete their way to economic parity (Aptheker 14). In this view, affirmative action was perceived as the fast, cheap way to achieve social equality. Whatever its origins, few doubt that affirmative action has helped ope the doors of oportunity for minorities and women over the past three decades. Their numbers have grown throughout the orkforce, including high paying professions like law and medicine.

Both the gender gap and, to a slightly lesser degree, the racial gap in median earnings have narrowed. In this sense, a greater number of minorites have moved into positions of power, and thus their groups have a much stronger influence upon affirmative action itself . . . or so one might think . . And economists agree that progress has not meant parity. Women, according to one recent study, still earn on average 15 percent less than comarably qualified men. Blacks actually made their greatest gains between 1940 and 1970 and fell ack relative to whates during the 1980’s (Currie 19).

Both groups remain underrepresented in high-paying executive and magerial positions. And studies pairing black and white job applicants with similar credentials consistently show that whites do better (Williams 75-6). On the public platform, affirmative action is indeed an emotional, divisive and complicated issue for policy-makers. 30 years after it entered the national lexicon on the wake of the passage of the Civil Right Act of 1964, it has emerged as one of the nation’s major topic of disagreement and debate.

From government set-aside to workplace preferences to race-targeted school admissions, it is under attack from opponents who want to abolish of and from reformers who want to refocus it. Although these policies were unpopular with white Americans from the outset, they were grudgingly accepted by many on the grounds that blacks, who has recently been the objects of legal discrimination, arguably deserved some limited amount of compensatory justice. Over the years, however, the proposition that affirmative action was necessary to combat discrimination, or even the effects of past discrimination, ecame increasingly difficult to sustain.

Employers met the conditions set down by enforcement agencies; employment and educational tests were changed, and personnel policies were adjusted to conform with guidelines established by the EEOC; and thousands of new businesses set their hiring policies entirely according to affirmative action principles. Faced with an increasingly shaky rationale, the advocates of preferences began to advance a new one: diversity. Like the original conception, diversity assumed an America in which racism (now joined by sexism) was rampant.

But diversity was designed less to fight bias in particular instances than to create sweeping standards for the entire workforce, if not for the entire society. And where affirmative action had been intended, at least theoretically, to enhanced the goal of societal integration, diversity celebrated difference and promote “multiculturalism”-i. e. , segregation. Implementing it necessitated a degree of racial and sexual consciousness virtually limitless in its application. There are few figures in public life today as committed to the diversity idea as President Clinton.

From the musical nd literary selections at his inaugural ceremony, to his policy of setting aside one of every three positions on the new adminstration for women and minorities, to his having reserved to position of Attorney General for a woman, to the scrupulous balancing of his health-care task force according to race and gender, to the proposal advanced by that task force to impose a diversity system on the medical profession, the Clinton administration has sent an unmistakable message: as for as the government is concerned, America is a country that counts by race and gender.

The adminstration’s attitude was perhaps most vividly emonstrated ina case involving a public-school teacher in Piscataway, New Jersey. In 1989, the local schoool board had been confronted with the need to lay off one of two home economics teachers-one white, one black, with equal seniority and comparable performance assessments. Even though blacks were well- represented throughout the faculty, the board dismissed the white teacher on purely racial grounds. She then sued, and the Bush adminstration, citing flagrant reverse discrimination, supported her action (Citrin 40-1).

The Clinton adminstration, however, abruptly reversed course and supported the choool board. It had to do so on grounds other than discrimination against the black teacher, which was never an issue in this case; the grounds it came up with were “diversity. “Nor does affirmative action lack for broad backing among predominactly white institutions. The business community has regularly spoken against anti-quota legislations in the past, and is distinctly unenthusiastic about anti-preference proposals today, including CCRI (Czurak 1). Officials at prestigous unversiies regard their racially balanced student boddies as a major achievement.

Affirmative action should be changed or ended altogether

In the late Sixties, Martin Luther King Jr. fought hard for equal rights. Before he was assassinated in 1968, he made a speech about his vision of human equality. “I have a dream that my four 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. ” (King) The Sixties were a turning point for racial equality. Because of leaders like King, many blacks and minority groups began to face/win new opportunities that were never before available.

New policies and laws were established to help reverse the detriment to ethnic groups through years of injustice and prejudice. But is it right to limit other races to advance another? Are we using racism to stop racism? Although equal rights policies were established through what became known as “affirmative action” and have assisted in the advancement of many minority groups, affirmative action today is wrong and should be revised or stopped altogether. Affirmative action is an instituted list of policies to make up for past discrimination against groups based on race, religion, national origin, and gender.

From its beginning, affirmative action has given minority groups opportunities for employment, promotion at work, new business ownership, school admission, scholarships and financial aid. President Lyndon B. Johnson introduced affirmative action during the civil rights era in 1965. It was used “as a method of redressing discrimination that had persisted in spite of civil rights laws and constitutional guarantees. ” (Brunner) The purpose of affirmative action was to end racial inequality and set a level playing field for all races. Affirmative action allowed minorities a fair chance to pursue education and career advancement.

It originally was intended for temporary assistance and was supposed to crush existing racially biased ideas in society. What was once a noble and valiant idea in 1965 has taken the very rights away it was intended to give. As affirmative action was introduced, many industries found the need to reduce standards in order to accept minorities. In many colleges and universities, a certain number of openings were set aside specifically for minorities because of the necessity to fill the racial quota for college populations. Because of this quota, many educational institutions were forced to lower their standards.

The first court case against affirmative action was brought to the Supreme Court because of this. Allan Bakke was denied admission to be considered to University of California-Davis Medical School. In offer to be accepted, a student must have no less than a 2. 5 GPA, have good science grades, and have high MCT scores, letters of recommendation, and numerous extra-curricular activities. If all of their prerequisites are met, an applicant then must participate in an interview with the college. Bakke scored 468 out of a total of 500 points on his interview and was not accepted.

He then applied again the next year and received 549 out of 600 points, but was again turned away. Afterward Bakke had found out that 16 students with lower test scores were accepted before him. All 16 students were considered ethnic minorities and were accepted based on their color of skin, as allowed by the policies of affirmative action. Bakke took his case to the Supreme Court, arguing he was not treated equally and was turned away because of his ethnicity.

The Supreme Court found that in the case of the University of California Regents v. Bakke, the defendant’s equal protection rights were indeed violated. Section 1 of Amendment XIV of the United States Constitution reads: ” All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privilege or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

If selection preferences are really meant to assist the disadvantaged, they should be given by the degree of disadvantage they faced and not solely determined by race or gender. If we base our decisions on race or gender, we turn our back on the group that truly needs assistance: the low-income family. Race is present in every level of society, the lower class, the middle class, and the upper class. Then why should middle- and upper-class minorities benefit today with special privileges when they may have not been personally affected by discrimination?

There are no policies or procedures of affirmative action that prove an individual deserves special privileges. In theory, a wealthy minority citizen would receive more advantages in society than an underprivileged or low-income white male. In this case, the underprivileged is in more need, but the determination of the benefits is solely decided by ethnicity and not by proven hardship or financial need. The Center for Equal Opportunity has expressed their disapproval of affirmative action specifically because it has been an unnecessary benefit for wealthy minority business owners.

The most disadvantaged group of Americans are not blacks, Hispanics or womenthey are the low-income individuals who are underprivileged. In addition, affirmative action lowers the standards of excellence. The only quality that has value under affirmative action is race and gender. For example, in 1985 UC-Berkley admitted 317 black students within the affirmative action policies. Most of these students were admitted even thought they did not meet the academic entrance qualification.

The SAT average for these 317 students was 952, while the average SAT score for the entire college population at UC-Berkley was 1200. Out of the 317 students who were accepted through privileged policies, 70 percent of these black students did not graduate. My focus here is not the percentage of black students who did not graduate, but the focus of the acceptance of students solely on race rather than academic ability. In support, many argue that affirmative action has made equal opportunities for minorities.

In an article in The Atlantic, Stanley Fish writes that affirmative action leveled the playing field for minorities and suggested that reverse discrimination ignores the history of inequality. True, our history has proven to carry periods of wrongdoing and oppression of blacks, women and various ethnic minorities. But the playing field has been leveled for over 40 years. How many years must we use racism to end racism? Is it right to disadvantage someone who had absolutely nothing to do with the oppression of minority groups? Today, people are being disadvantaged based on their race, and this is wrong.

Elizabeth Anderson, a professor at the University of Michigan, defends the use of racial diversity quotas as a means to decide their student population. In an article printed by the New York University Law Review, Anderson argues that racial integration in society serves as a way to tear down racial barriers created from years of racial and gender oppression. However, there has not been any documented proof or benefit which warrants quotas to meet diversity requirements.

Miranda Oshige McGowan, a professor at the University of Minnesota who wrote Diversity of What? ontends that using diversity as a reason to accept students of minority races shows no significant benefit: “The racial and ethnic categories universities use to promote diversity fail to reflect educationally relevant dimensions of diversity. ” (McGowan) Affirmative action policies that use diversity as a necessary reason to assign racial quotas are unjustifiable. Rather than continuing with affirmative action the way it is now, there are other options to implement that would have a more beneficial impact on minority groups.

For example, Florida and Texas have implemented systems where the top 10 percent of each high school are allowed to obtain special considerations. This would allow the truly disadvantaged to gain special privileges based on their merit. It would also allow for more racially diverse populations. These forms of admission policies have actually come close to the number of racial diversity, if not more, than the original policies had generated through affirmative action. Affirmative action, in its original creation, served as a leveler of all races and genders.

Many members of minorities have found the benefit of advancing in a career, acceptance to schools, and approval for financial aid. But when we, as a society, require less from people and accept them solely on the color of their skin or gender rather than their ability or character, we are lowering our standards of excellence. Reverse discrimination is not an answer for ending discrimination. It is time to consider a change in the policies of affirmative action or to abolish those policies altogether.

Affirmative Action Report

Affirmative action is an attempt by the United States to amend a long history of racial and sexual discrimination. But these days it seems to incite, not ease, the nations internal divisions. Opponents of affirmative action say that the battle for equal rights is over, and that requiring quotas that favor one group over another is un-American. The people that defend it say that the playing field is not level, and that providing advantages for minorities and women is fair considering the discrimination those groups tolerated for years.

This paper will discuss the history of affirmative action, how it is implemented in society today, and evaluate the arguments that it presents. History of Affirmative Action Affirmative action was really implemented at the height of the civil rights movement in the United States. Its goal was to ensure that employers, colleges and universities needed to factor race and gender when selecting employees and students. “Under affirmative action there would be an active effort to make sure that the workplace and the university included people of all races and both sexes. Hanmer 8).

Prior to this in the United States, opportunity did not exist for all. Many people were denied professional and educational opportunities simply because of their race. Affirmative action was to change the way employers hired. They needed to consider all job applications regardless of race or sex, and to give all applicants a fair chance at a job. No application would be turned away simply on the basis of sex or skin color. Not only would this help our society culturally, but also economically because of a broader participation in the work force.

Although affirmative action did include all minorities, it may have never become government policy if it were not for the civil rights movement that began 1950s. The Civil War had ended slavery nearly a century before, but still many African Americans had never been granted full equality. Many states, particularly the South, passed laws “that were designed to segregate the white and black races and to keep African Americans in an inferior position in society. ” (Hamner 21). These laws were called “Jim Crow laws.

Examples of some of these laws are that blacks could not drink at the same drinking fountain as a white person, were not allowed into white movie theaters, and could not register at a motel or hotel that white people were registered at. Also in most southern states, blacks could not vote. These laws also denied blacks equal education. Black children could attend the same schools as white children. Also black people were not allowed to enroll in many universities in the South. The separate facilities were far from equal.

At black schools and colleges, the faculty was poorly paid, the facilities inferior… The curriculum at black colleges was often limited to agricultural and technical programs designed to train southern blacks for low-paying jobs. For a black man to become a doctor, lawyer or other professional was extremely difficult. “(Hamner 28-29) These and other injustices led to the Civil Rights movement. A bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 started the movement. Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old black woman, refused to give up her bus seat to a white male after a long day of work.

She was arrested and found guilty. The black citizens of Montgomery rallied together under the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. to boycott the cities segregated transportation system. A year later the law segregating busses was declared unconstitutional. Led by Martin Luther King, Jr. , the civil rights movement began to take shape and gain momentum. Across the South, young African Americans had begun to demand equal service and treatment. Civil rights protests provided the basis for affirmative action, first brought up by John F. Kennedy.

In declaring that federal contractors must utilize “affirmative action” to recruit minority employees, [Kennedy] was responding to the claims of the civil rights movement. “(Hamner 37). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 most clearly defined affirmative action. There were seven sections to the bill. Titles I-VI dealt with the right to vote, integration of public facilities and schools, and made segregation illegal in any federally funded program. Title VII dealt primarily with employment practices. It clearly stated that discrimination in hiring was illegal.

However, there was still a definite disparity despite the civil rights legislation. Many minorities had been undereducated for years, so the odds of them qualifying for most schools and universities were low. Also getting a job as a skilled laborer was nearly impossible. “Unions of skilled workers had long reserved membership to sons, grandsons and nephews of members. ” (Hamner 44). Many believed something had to be done to compensate for that. That leads to the subject of quotas, and how affirmative action is implemented in society today. Affirmative Action today

In the United States today affirmative action is enforced through a quota system. Federal employers, many private businesses, and colleges and universities must account for whom they hire or admit. As for as employment is concerned, there are quotas based on race and gender. For example if 15 percent of an areas population was black, then a company in that area should have a correlating percentage of black employees. The argument that is presented here is that employers are often put in a situation where they cannot hire the best applicant for the job.

Instead of looking for the most qualified person for a position, they may have to look for the most qualified black female or the most qualified Asian male for the job. (Bergmann 2) Scholastically, minorities have been oppressed for years. Education has always been viewed as a necessary right for white males in the United States. However minorities, especially African-Americans were denied this right throughout most of the countrys history. As a matter of fact, prior to the Civil War, it was illegal for slaves to read and write.

Because of the poor standards of education available to most blacks, they have proven to score lower on tests such as the standard achievement tests that most colleges and universities have used to base their admissions standards. In the article “Americas Next Achievement Test: Closing the Black-White Test Score Gap,” Christopher Jencks and Meredith Phillips stated, “African-Americans currently score lower than European-Americans on vocabulary, reading and math tests, as well as on tests that claim to measure scholastic aptitude and intelligence… e median American black still scores below 75 percent of Americans on most standardized tests. On some tests the typical American black scores below more than 85 percent of whites. “(Jencks and Phillips 1). Therefore new standards of admissions had to be set. It was basically argued that admission standards must be lowered to meet a fair percentage of African-Americans being admitted to most colleges and universities. (Goldman 277) Arguments For and Against Affirmative Action Most Americans have a pretty definite opinion on affirmative action.

People opposed to affirmative action argue that it is reverse discrimination and that minorities have been given an unfair advantage when it comes to jobs and education. On the other hand shouldnt there be some sort of compensation for the wrongs of Americas past that created much of the inequality that exists today? Both arguments are compelling. Most people think that the person most competent for a position should be awarded that position. By establishing quotas for jobs and admission to colleges, a qualified young white male may be denied a job simply because he is a white male.

Is this fair? Many think not. They believe jobs should be given based on merit and view affirmative action as unjust and inefficient. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “A man should be judged by the content of his character rather than the color of his skin. ” Shouldnt this apply to all races, including the Caucasian race? Many supporters of affirmative action policies may argue that if these policies were not in effect, that the job market would still be prejudiced against women and minorities.

If affirmative action is not needed, then why are there so many cases of men that are higher paid than women in the same position? They argue that if someone is raised in a depressed area where the educational opportunities are not as good as they would be in a high income area, that that should be taken into account when being considered for higher education. Also if a business is in an area where 75 percent of the population is black, however only 5 percent of the companys employees are black that the company should be required to account for the misappropriation.

So what is the answer? Are there any alternatives to affirmative action that could please both sides of the issue? Its doubtful. Although I am a young white male who may in some cases be a victim of this “reverse discrimination”, I believe affirmative action policies are essential in this country. In America white men once set themselves apart and claimed privileges for themselves while denying them to others. Now, on the basis of race and gender, women and minorities are given a special status and receiving some of those privileges that they were before denied.

Affirmative Action – History Of Racial And Sexual Discrimination

Affirmative action is an attempt by the United States to amend a long history of racial and sexual discrimination. But these days it seems to incite, not ease, the nations internal divisions. Opponents of affirmative action say that the battle for equal rights is over, and that requiring quotas that favor one group over another is un-American. The people that defend it say that the playing field is not level, and that providing advantages for minorities and women is fair considering the discrimination those groups tolerated for years.

This paper will discuss the history of affirmative action, how it is implemented in society today, and evaluate the arguments that it presents. History of Affirmative Action Affirmative action was really implemented at the height of the civil rights movement in the United States. Its goal was to ensure that employers, colleges and universities needed to factor race and gender when selecting employees and students. Under affirmative action there would be an active effort to make sure that the workplace and the university included people of all races and both sexes.

Prior to this in the United States, opportunity did not exist for all. Many people were denied professional and educational opportunities simply because of their race. Affirmative action was to change the way employers hired. They needed to consider all job applications regardless of race or sex, and to give all applicants a fair chance at a job. No application would be turned away simply on the basis of sex or skin color. Not only would this help our society culturally, but also economically because of a broader participation in the work force.

Although affirmative action did include all minorities, it may have never become government policy if it were not for the civil rights movement that began 1950s. The Civil War had ended slavery nearly a century before, but still many African Americans had never been granted full equality. Many states, particularly the South, passed laws that were designed to segregate the white and black races and to keep African Americans in an inferior position in society. (Hamner 21). These laws were called Jim Crow laws.

Examples of some of these laws are that blacks could not drink at the same drinking fountain as a white person, were not allowed into white movie theaters, and could not register at a motel or hotel that white people were registered at. Also in most southern states, blacks could not vote. These laws also denied blacks equal education. Black children could attend the same schools as white children. Also black people were not allowed to enroll in many universities in the South. The separate facilities were far from equal.

At black schools and colleges, the faculty was poorly paid, the facilities inferior… The curriculum at black colleges was often limited to agricultural and technical programs designed to train southern blacks for low-paying jobs. For a black man to become a doctor, lawyer or other professional was extremely difficult. (Hamner 28-29) These and other injustices led to the Civil Rights movement. A bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 started the movement. Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old black woman, refused to give up her bus seat to a white male after a long day of work.

She was arrested and found guilty. The black citizens of Montgomery rallied together under the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr. to boycott the cities segregated transportation system. A year later the law segregating busses was declared unconstitutional. Led by Martin Luther King, Jr. , the civil rights movement began to take shape and gain momentum. Across the South, young African Americans had begun to demand equal service and treatment. Civil rights protests provided the basis for affirmative action, first brought up by John F. Kennedy.

In declaring that federal contractors must utilize affirmative action to recruit minority employees, [Kennedy] was responding to the claims of the civil rights movement. (Hamner 37). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 most clearly defined affirmative action. There were seven sections to the bill. Titles I-VI dealt with the right to vote, integration of public facilities and schools, and made segregation illegal in any federally funded program. Title VII dealt primarily with employment practices. It clearly stated that discrimination in hiring was illegal.

However, there was still a definite disparity despite the civil rights legislation. Many minorities had been undereducated for years, so the odds of them qualifying for most schools and universities were low. Also getting a job as a skilled laborer was nearly impossible. Unions of skilled workers had long reserved membership to sons, grandsons and nephews of members. (Hamner 44). Many believed something had to be done to compensate for that. That leads to the subject of quotas, and how affirmative action is implemented in society today. Affirmative Action today

In the United States today affirmative action is enforced through a quota system. Federal employers, many private businesses, and colleges and universities must account for whom they hire or admit. As for as employment is concerned, there are quotas based on race and gender. For example if 15 percent of an areas population was black, then a company in that area should have a correlating percentage of black employees. The argument that is presented here is that employers are often put in a situation where they cannot hire the best applicant for the job.

Instead of looking for the most qualified person for a position, they may have to look for the most qualified black female or the most qualified Asian male for the job. (Bergmann 2) Scholastically, minorities have been oppressed for years. Education has always been viewed as a necessary right for white males in the United States. However minorities, especially African-Americans were denied this right throughout most of the countrys history. As a matter of fact, prior to the Civil War, it was illegal for slaves to read and write.

Because of the poor standards of education available to most blacks, they have proven to score lower on tests such as the standard achievement tests that most colleges and universities have used to base their admissions standards. In the article Americas Next Achievement Test: Closing the Black-White Test Score Gap, Christopher Jencks and Meredith Phillips stated, African-Americans currently score lower than European-Americans on vocabulary, reading and math tests, as well as on tests that claim to measure scholastic aptitude and intelligence… e median American black still scores below 75 percent of Americans on most standardized tests.

On some tests the typical American black scores below more than 85 percent of whites. (Jencks and Phillips 1). Therefore new standards of admissions had to be set. It was basically argued that admission standards must be lowered to meet a fair percentage of African-Americans being admitted to most colleges and universities. (Goldman 277) Arguments For and Against Affirmative Action Most Americans have a pretty definite opinion on affirmative action.

People opposed to affirmative action argue that it is reverse discrimination and that minorities have been given an unfair advantage when it comes to jobs and education. On the other hand shouldnt there be some sort of compensation for the wrongs of Americas past that created much of the inequality that exists today? Both arguments are compelling. Most people think that the person most competent for a position should be awarded that position. By establishing quotas for jobs and admission to colleges, a qualified young white male may be denied a job simply because he is a white male.

Is this fair? Many think not. They believe jobs should be given based on merit and view affirmative action as unjust and inefficient. Martin Luther King, Jr. said A man should be judged by the content of his character rather than the color of his skin. Shouldnt this apply to all races, including the Caucasian race? Many supporters of affirmative action policies may argue that if these policies were not in effect, that the job market would still be prejudiced against women and minorities.

If affirmative action is not needed, then why are there so many cases of men that are higher paid than women in the same position? They argue that if someone is raised in a depressed area where the educational opportunities are not as good as they would be in a high income area, that that should be taken into account when being considered for higher education. Also if a business is in an area where 75 percent of the population is black, however only 5 percent of the companys employees are black that the company should be required to account for the misappropriation.

So what is the answer? Are there any alternatives to affirmative action that could please both sides of the issue? Its doubtful. Although I am a young white male who may in some cases be a victim of this reverse discrimination, I believe affirmative action policies are essential in this country. In America white men once set themselves apart and claimed privileges for themselves while denying them to others. Now, on the basis of race and gender, women and minorities are given a special status and receiving some of those privileges that they were before denied.

Affirmative Action in the United States

The writer Mary Anne Warren is focusing on describing the current practices in many organizations today in regards to the implementing a goal vs. a quota system for the purposes of affirmative action. She defines a quota as “Those who use the term “quotas” pejoratively tend to assume that the numerical standards will be set so high or enforced so rigidly that strong reverse discrimination-that is, the deliberate hiring of demonstrably less well qualified candidates-will be necessary to implement them. ” (Warren, 370).

Warren then describes goal as “The term “goal”, on the other hand, suggests that this will not be the case, and that good faith efforts to comply with the standards by means short of strong reverse discrimination will be acceptable. ” (Warren, 370). The critical thing that must be understood when exploring the subject is that the writer is describing how affirmative action is being applied in American organizations today in other words the current reality. However, she fails to speak to us about how the law designs this program to function. This is the critical component that American organizations must be educated to understand.

Affirmative action as defined by law is most definitively not based on a quota system. In fact, what is not widely known is that this program can be equally used by all individuals provided that an inequality exists in the group that they belong to as not being reflected in the work force. So what is affirmative action? What is it designed to do? It is not designed to provide an opportunity to an unqualified candidate. It is designed as “a way of compensating individuals or groups for past injustices or for present disadvantages stemming form past injustices” (Warren, 373).

It is further designed “as a means about bringing about further future goods-for example, raising the status of downtrodden groups. ” (Warren, 373). The keyword in these quotes is the word “group”. Who are these groups? The law has identified them. Some of the groups identified are: race, religious beliefs, blood trait, gender, disability (whether physical or mental), veteran status, national origin, and the list continues. In no way does this require that you have to hire an unqualified person for a position because they fall into one or more of these groups.

What it does mean is that you can not discriminate and exclude a person from getting a job, getting promoted, and other factors, just because they happen to fall into that group. How does the law say that affirmative action should be applied? It would play out something like this. First of all, the demographics and the socioeconomic factors in the neighborhood where the organization is based primarily control affirmative action. So that means, for example, let’s say your neighborhood is 60% women and 40% men, 50% White, 25% Hispanic, 20% Black and 5% Asian.

In a nutshell what affirmative action requires is that your business should reflect that in your work force. Naturally as demographics change so do the goals. Let’s say that in a business you have 75% Whites, 15% Blacks and 10% Hispanic, with no Asians. Well, your goal would then be to increase the amount of Hispanics, blacks and Asians. Likewise if your community was predominantly white (let’s say 75% white) then you should have 75% of your work force be white. Understanding this, how does affirmative action as the law intended it to be applied in this case study.

In the first case the man should obviously get the job. Why? Because the woman lacks a doctrine which is an important key requirement for a tenured position. We don’t need to look at this further. In the second and third case, the key factor that has to be considered is, do the candidates both meet the minimum requirements for the job? It appears that they both do, so both are qualified. The fact that one of them may have additional skills that are desirable but not required for the position is not a factor to consider when determining minimum qualifications.

Now what the organization has to do, according to affirmative action is to look at their demographics and see what group they are under represented. If we were to take a cut and dry approach, then if you need a qualified black, you hire him. But if what you need is a qualified woman than you hire her. This is the last consideration that comes into play. In an ideal world the only thing that we should be considering is an applicants ability to do the job. Affirmative action does not require a company to hire a less qualified applicant on the fact that they’re white, black, male or female.

If a white woman has better skills than a black male or a white male or a white female, for that matter, then I believe she is the one who should be employed. However we are not living in an ideal world and employers still unfairly take these group differences into account when making their decisions. This is why affirmative action is still necessary. Further, the Warren makes it all too clear that employers are incorrectly applying a quota system instead of a goal system. This is what is creating the perception of reverse discrimination and inequality.

The distinction between such weak quotas and higher quotas is crucial, since although higher quotas have in practice rarely been implemented, the apparent injustice implied by what are typically assumed to be higher quotas has generated a backlash which threatens to undermine affirmative action entirely. If quotas are abandoned, of if they are nominally adopted but never enforced, then employers will be free to continue using secondary and even primary sexist hiring criteria, and it is probable that none of us will see the day when women enjoy job opportunities commensurate with their abilities and qualifications. ” (Warren, 374).

Affirmative Action Has It Run Its Course

“It is a mistake to assume that the Negro, who had been a slave for two hundred and fifty years, gained his freedom by the signing, on a certain date, of a certain paper by the President of the United States. It is a mistake to assume that one man can, in any true sense, give freedom to another. Freedom, in a larger and higher sense, every man must gain for himself. ” Booker T. Washington In his Autobiography The problem in a realistic model of Affirmative Action is due to the history, political evolution and complicated definition. Affirmative Action as such has never been a law or even government policy.

Affirmative Action has been comprised of a series of executive orders, governmental programs, civil rights laws, and enforcement of equal opportunity practices. The basis for Affirmative Action dates as far back as, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which stated “all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory, to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens”( Marable, 4).

Then in 1941, F. D. R. signed Executive order 8802, which outlawed discriminatory hiring practices by defense related industries holding federal contracts. Subsequently President Truman formed the Government Contract Compliance Committee that advocated the Bureau of Employment Security to act confidently and in a positive manner to execute the guiding principle of nondiscrimination in its role of placement counseling. Therefore the word Affirmative Action was not used until President Kennedy’s executive order 10925 in 1961. The basic idea to eliminate prejudices has been around for over a century.

I believe that when President Kennedy established Affirmative Action it was a necessary and crucial piece in helping the Civil Rights Act. Now 39 years later, I feel that it is outdated and allows prejudices to continue. Although the initial purpose of affirmative action programs was to give more blacks access to the job market, statistics indicate that the major effects of such race-preferential policies has been a redistribution of black workers from small and medium sized firms to large companies and federal jobs. Black unemployment rates have remained twice those of whites (Samuelson).

I feel that affirmative action policies failed to do what they were intended to do, but they have often provided opportunities to abuse the system. Opportunism disguised as “affirmative action” has extended across racial and political boundaries. Those who have taken advantage of this include the former black mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, Henry Gantt, as well as white executives such as President Reagan’s labor secretary, Ray Donovan. When Donovan was brought upon charges that he had set up a facade of minority ownership for a company he owned, they were dropped by the judge who cited ”prevalence of the practice” (Woodson, 114).

The focus on race-preferential policies has had damaging consequences more than the opportunism it has generated. These policies assume that race is a disadvantage, and that this is justification for compensation by white society. “Before something can be a compensation it must first be a benefit” (Sowell, 420). Sowell goes on to describe that the income of blacks comparative to whites reached its peak before affirmative action hiring and has declined since. The median income of blacks reached a peak of 60. 9 per cent of the median income of whites in 1970.

This was a year before goals and timetables became a part of affirmative action (Sowell, 419). These race preferential policies are allowing people to not take responsibility for their actions. It allows them to rely on the system rather than being motivated and determined. I think that the system has failed minorities and women because of the perceptions others may have of them and it then raises questions in their own minds. Was I really the best-qualified candidate or did they need to meet a quota? Many people in the workplace question the manner in which their jobs were obtained.

I feel that it has to be degrading to feel as if you did not deserve the job but fill the slot affirmative action created. It appears to me affirmative actions policies actually hinder progress and helps to hold back a race. “When we see society’s failures – dropouts or dope addicts, petty thieves or prostitutes – we do not know whether they are Italian or English, Baptist or Orthodox. But we know when they are Negro. So every Negro who fails confirms the voice of prejudice. ” Robert F. Kennedy Speech National Council of Christians and Jews April 28, 1965 It is my belief that the affirmative actions policies need to be abandoned.

Their initial purpose was to allow blacks and women into the workforce, which is a standard acceptable practice today. Prejudices will always remain in society but focusing on them is not healthy for the American Economy or the well being of its citizens. We, as a nation, need to look deeper into the eyes of our citizens, and reward them for accomplishments and achievements not just based on skin color or gender. In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. stated “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”.

While in a liberal mind the color-blind ideal is regarding as an attack on blacks, it is becoming increasingly clear that weaning ourselves from affirmative action is the only way to secure lasting civic equality for people of color (Loury, 60). Loury goes on to state that the difference is not really in race bias but is a challenge of the human condition. Is this a task that is too great for blacks to achieve? If all people are to be judge based on quality and production would there still be the need for affirmative action? Right now it is a bigger hindrance than an advantage.

Prejudice will remain but the levels of tolerance have increased and in my opinion are continually increasing. If people were rewarded for their acts and actions, not their race or gender, would this not be a better place to live? If society could return to a system of values, family, and community and country, the need for affirmative action would not exist. If love thy neighbor was a practice, rather than a phrase, the society as a whole would be stronger and in a better state of mind. “ We are confronted primarily with a moral issue.

It is as old as the Scriptures and as plain as and as clear as the American Constitution. The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities. ” John F. Kennedy National television address on Civil Rights June, 1963 Government has tried to end racial and gender bias by affirmative action yet has failed. Rather than point out the differences among genders and races maybe we need to embrace the similarities. People would be more accepting of others if they knew more about them.

Ignorance of others is fear and knowledge is the power to make America a better place. There will always be the extremists among us but the level of tolerance will increase in direct proportion to the amount of knowledge one has. The answer to whom can end racial and gender bias is the American people, as they are the only ones in control. The problem lies in the fact that Americans don’t even realize their own potential. Affirmative Action has been used by the government to hold the country back. Its origins were reasonable but the time has come to end the ignorance of the American public.

Only than can this country be a happy and prosperous place to live, whatever your race, gender or ideals. We need to have a clearer foundation for what we as a society want, and manage to achieve our goals through working together. Rather than conceding or lowering the standards, we need to focus on practice, performance, and personal responsibility. Affirmative Action should no longer be about special treatment. We need to find a way to educate the American public, especially the youths, who are just entering the workforce, and supply them with the skills and knowledge to meet high standards.

Affirmative Action Supporters And Opponents

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issues an Executive Order 11246 requiring federal contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that they do not engage in discriminatory practices against workers because of race creed, color, or national origin. Two years later gender was added to the list. Affirmative action is the practice, usually by institutions or employment in government and business, of giving preference to racial minorities and women. The politics were originally developed to correct decades of discrimination and to give disadvantaged minorities a boost.

The diversity of our current society as opposed to that of 50 years ago seems to indicate the programs have been a success. Now, many think the policies are no longer needed and that they led to more problems than they solve. One particular kind of affirmative action is racial quotas, or deciding on a specific number or percentage of members of a given minority group that a company or institution had to accept. These racial quotas improved diversity to some degree, but was considered too crude by many people.

Now affirmative action usually involves involves using race, gender, socioeconomic background, and/or sexual orientation status as a positive factor in hiring or admissions decisions. Supporters George E. Curry, a strong supporter of affirmative action (AA) knew it would happen when anti-affirmative action supporters would begin to poke fun at the decision made by the Supreme Court on the University of Michigan landmark case. A group of Conservative students at Roger William University in Rhode Island is offering a Whites-only scholarship valued at only $250 each.

In addition to Whites-only scholarship, other attempts at humor include so-called affirmative action bake sales. At Southern Methodist University in Dallas, for example, Young Conservatives of Texas offered cookies at different prices. White males were charged $1 for each cookie, white women were charged 75 cents for each cookie, Hispanics were charged 50 cent and African Americans 25 cents. Similar bakes sale were held at Columbia University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Texas, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan and the University of Indiana.

A flyer distributed by Columbias Conservation club asserted that republican need to get preferential admissions treatment so they can receive equal representation on campus. Many were not amused. Curry argued that diversity is desirable and will not always occur if left to chance. Part of the education process is learning to interact with other races and nationalities. Many students live very segregated lives up until the time they start college. Thus, the opinion of other races and nationalities are based on stereotypes.

Interaction allows students to learn that persons of the opposite race are people too, more or less just like themselves. Affirmative action draws people to areas of study and work they many never consider otherwise. Whether it is men being brought to into nursing, women brought into technology fields, or minorities brought into Ivy League schools, it is always desirable to bring people to areas of study or work that they may not have considered otherwise Opponents Ward Connerly is one the countrys leading opponents of affirmation action.

He felt that President Johnson was correct in saying that the nation needed to address the fact the black people and women were not being allowed to fully participate in all phases of American public life. However, he felt that President Johnson never intended for affirmative action to evolve into a set of policies and practices that treat people differently on the bases of race. Ward felt it is appropriate to apply affirmative action in the sense that it is monitored, used aggressively for job promotions, and stomping out discrimination.

Affirmative action leads to reverse discrimination. AA was designed to end discrimination and unfair treatment of employees/students based on color, but its effect does the opposite. Connerly also felt that AA lowers standards of accountability needed to push employees and students to perform better. Example he used was, if a minority student can get into Harvard with a 3. 2 grade point average, why should she push for a 4. 0? Although some students or employees are self-motivated, most people need an extra push or incentive to do their best.

Hard work, discipline and achievement should be rewarded inspite of race. There are several factors that a college should take into account when considering applicants, such as grade, test scores, and extra-curricular achievements. However, an applicants race is not a legitimate factor to take into consideration because it is outside the students control. It is impossible for a college to consider every aspect of a students background when making admissions decision. Diversity of opinion is important in an academic community, but racial diversity is not Connerly stressed.

AA provides an advantage to some people because of the color of their skin, an attribute not relevant to the academic mission of a college. There are many factors that constitute a students perspective, but AA gives preferential treatment based exclusively on race, a purely external characteristic. In many cases, AA does not achieve its goal of helping disadvantaged minority groups. Instead, it perpetuates socioeconomic inequalities by making it easier for members of racial minorities from privileged backgrounds to get into prestigious colleges while not helping members of the lower classes.

Affirmitive Action Essay

Have you ever wondered who gets to attend the country’s selective colleges and universities? The really smart kids, the hard workers, star athletes, artists, singers, mathematicians, writers, alumni children? Of course universities want them all. But what about when it comes to race? Suddenly the stakes of getting in are raised. How many African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Whites should there be in each class? Should acceptance to a school depend on a person’s race?

Well I believe that acceptance to a school shouldn’t be depended on the race of a person. I believe this because it’s like judging a book by it cover, it doesn’t always work out. Let me give you an example just because you’re Asian doesn’t mean that you’re going to be smart, know how to fix a computer, or be a crappy driver. Actually we should all be thought of equals and our race shouldn’t matter in being accepted into a college.

Colleges shouldn’t administer students onto there campuses to keep diversity, but let their capability determine their entrance. College admissions should be determined by academic performance/capabilities instead of one’s ethnicity just to increase diversity in the college atmosphere. However, there is another side to this raging debate over affirmative action. There are a more then a handful of minorities that are qualified for admission, but need that extra help affirmative action grants in order to get admission into that top tier university.

Some of these people come from economically challenged backgrounds, they meet the requirements that universities require, but do not excel as some of more competitive students that apply. In these type of situations affirmative action, grants admission to the economically challenged student, rejecting the more qualified one. But who are we to say that the kid from the wrong side of tracks, that was raised with seven brothers and sisters, most of whom haven’t been to college; doesn’t disserve his chance to be the first in his family over the pure bread tutored child?

For an ethnic minority, the difference between a junior college and UCLA can be cataclysmic. To summarize my opinion regarding affirmative action; I am not supportive of it even though I am a minority. However, I do realize that it does aid some of those in disadvantageous circumstances a chance at colleges they normally would have a difficult time getting into with an average GPA (competing mostly with 4. 0’s).

Affirmative Action, A Social Policy

Affirmative action is a social policy created to promote the welfare of minorities by supporting the idea that individuals are all created equal and should not be judged by race or gender. Therefore, in situations like job and university applications, we should consider minorities to be as feasible a choice for hire as a white male candidate, taking into consideration their background. In short, it tries to give minorities that have been at a disadvantage their whole life, an opportunity to equal the playing field’ by providing a broader context by which to measure an applicant or prospective employee.

In the end, however, this goal is not realized. Instead, superficial quotas’ are established and the discrimination that was once placed on the minorities now turns the other way. One of the arguments against affirmative action is that it injures white men and violates their rights. If were to take a closer look at the affirmative action laws, we can see why this would be true. For example, let’s take a hypothetical situation of two males, one white and another individual who happens to be a minority, both sending in college applications to Harvard to compete for admission.

Unfortunately, the university only has one available spot and must decide between the white individual and the minority. The white male has slightly better grades and quite a few more volunteer hours, while both of them excelled in sports and completed two foreign languages. Under the current affirmative action policies, the minority would probably get the final position because of the perceived need for ethnic diversity in the college atmosphere, despite the fact that he did not have the stronger academic credentials. Would this be considered just?

In this case not only would affirmative action be serving an injustice to the white individual, but it would also help create a loophole by indirectly establishing a legal form of discrimination. The counterpoint to this argument is that although affirmative action creates a larger obstacle for white men to achieve, such measures are necessary in order to break the cycle of de facto employment and school discrimination. However, this does not seem to be a valid counterpoint. If we take a look at another hypothetical situation we can see why it is not plausible.

Imagine that there are two individuals competing in a race, one a white male named Bob and the other a black male named John. Bob had six months to prepare for the race while John had a ball and chain tied to his leg for the entire six months. Without a doubt, I would believe that Bob would win this race. However, if we interpolate affirmative action into this analogy, we would justifiably be assisting John. Unfortunately, the problem isn’t that we are helping John, the problem is the way we are helping him.

Instead of releasing John from his ball and chain, affirmative action would be placing a heavier ball and chain on Bob forcing John to meet a lower expectation, thus not inherently removing the ball and chain, but rather using it as an excuse to justify his shortcomings. Implicitly, this would then create animus and resentment against Bob, rather than empathy and compassion for his disadvantage. Although the motive behind affirmative action is moral and just, in practice it seems to fail and causes an even more unequal treatment of race and sexuality.

The unequal treatment brought on by affirmative action brings us to the second argument against it: Affirmative action itself violates the principles of equality. The main goal behind affirmative action is to ensure that all individuals are treated equally, not to create more inequality. However, white individuals are simply used as a means to an end and unfortunately more discrimination is created. If we were to take a look at both analogies above, the white male was treated unequally and discriminated against because of his ethnicity. This goes directly against the principles that affirmative action was created for.

The counterpoint of this argument is essentially that, “Although it is distasteful to consider race and sex into account when dealing with individuals in employment situations, the unfortunate reality is that in the real world racial and sexual factors go a long way toward determining what life prospects an individual has… Formal, colorblind equality has to be infringed now if we are ever to achieve real, meaningful racial and sexual quality. ” Unfortunately however, just like a firefighter may not fight fire with fire, you also cannot fight discrimination with even more discrimination.

The U. S. Constitution, our most powerful and sacred document that holds all the power in the government, is intended to be colorblind. The 14th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution guarantees “No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of laws. ” Affirmative action seems to be unconstitutional as it ignores the phrase “equal protection. ” Instead of treating minorities like equals, it treats them like they are better than other members of society and, in particular, puts white males in a situational disadvantage like minorities once were.

In effect, it’s a form of reverse discrimination. Discrimination is discrimination, no matter what the underlying motive justifying it is. The final argument against affirmative action is this: Nondiscrimination will achieve our social goals; stronger affirmative action is unnecessary. This argument suggests that the Civil Rights Act is enough to end job and school discrimination. Employers should attempt to attract minority applicants and to make sure that their screening process does not involve any implicit racist or sexual assumptions.

When programs like affirmative action allow minorities to slide through the cracks, it places minorities at a disadvantage to compete in society. The main problem for minorities is poor education facilities and resources, lower academic expectations, and general apathy by the larger majority towards the needs and concerns of the underserved and poor, which most of the time are comprised of ethnic minorities. Urban schools are consistently ranked at the bottom of all categories in terms of crime, drug use, teenage pregnancy, and dropout rates, which once again are usually comprised of ethnic minorities.

This is where the energy and financial resources of affirmative action should goto repair the urban education facilities and expand and provide wider social and economic resources. In essence, the government should try to attack the root of the problem, which is inferior and unequal teaching institutions and access to better resources, rather than simply trying to fix the symptoms of the problem later down the road by instituting a form of social engineering that puts individuals against each other, which in turn breeds animosity and resentment among individuals along racial and social lines.

The counterpoint of this argument states that, “Without affirmative action, progress often stops. The percentage of minorities and women employed by those subject to federal affirmative action requirements has risen much higher than it has elsewhere. ” However, this argument is not compelling, as the best way to increase productivity and improve the economy is to hire on merit. Hiring based on something other than objective merit may result in economic inefficiency and a less qualified staff.

If minorities have a qualified resume and are available, they will meet the criteria of the employer. Once again, it is more effective to treat the disease itself, rather than to stoop down to the same level and discriminate to treat the symptoms. In athletics, for example, in spite of past discrimination blacks have excelled, not because standards were lowered but because barriers were eliminated.

Now more than ever blacks comprise the largest ethnic group in professional sports and have come to dominate some of the most lucrative sports such as football and basketball, and are now using their earned social capital to give back to their communities to help others along the way. This is a prime example of how minorities can be helped without lowering the standard by which others are also measured by. To improve our standards as a whole, we must remove the ball and chain on minorities, rather than adding a heavier ball and chain on whites.

The Roots Of Affirmative Action

The roots of affirmative action can be traced back to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act where legislation redefined public and private behavior. The act states that to discriminate in private is legal, but anything regarding business or public discrimination is illegal (”Affirmative” 13). There are two instances when opposing affirmative action might seem the wrong thing to do. Even these two cases don’t justify the use of affirmative action. First is the nobility of the cause to help others. Second, affirmative action was a great starter for equality in the work place.

The most promanite variable in deciding affirmative action as right or wrong, is whether or not society is going to treat people as groups or individuals. Affirmative action is a question of morals. The simplicity to form two morals that are both correct but conflicting is the reason for the division of our nation on affirmative action. Affirmative action is very noble when looking at who benefits from the outcome. Take a closer look at affirmative action. The people that are involved and the damage it takes on our society surfaces many doubts.

Taking a closer look also stirs up a question of nobility that needs to be answered before making a decision on affirmative action. Does affirmative action simply change who is discriminated against and makes it legal for the new discriminators? Coming from my point of view, the view of a white male, this is a serious question. One example of this came to my attention from Dave Shiflett who once worked at Rocky Mountain News wrote “Rocky Mountain Hire”. In this article he tells about a new hiring strategy used at the Denver news paper Rocky Mountain News.

A memo was sent out stating, “The job reviews of supervisors and others involved in hiring should address race and sex. Each review should have a hiring goal of at least half of our hires being women and at least half non-white” (Shiflett 45). Lets put this strategy to work. We have ten positions to fill, these positions can be filled following the above guidelines by hiring five black women. It can also be met by hiring five white women and five non-white men. Obviously to meet this goal successfully would mean to not hire a white male (Shiflett 45).

I strongly disagree with my white fore fathers and society today who both address race and sex when hiring. Using a persons skin color in hiring is discrimination no matter how society looks at it. At St. Bonaventure University the potential for reverse discrimination became a reality. In May 1994, 22 faculty members were fired, all were male. The president of the university was very blunt about his motive, to protect the small number of women on the university staff (Magner 18). This was purely a discussion based on gender not qualification.

No matter how efficient these men were some were fired for not being part of a certain minority. Gary A. Abraham, who was fired as a tenured associate professor stated, “It seems ludicrous that the university can rectify its failure to engage in affirmative action on the backs of its male faculty. ” Twelve of the men took their complaints to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The commission sided with the men and are even planning to bring the university up on charges themselves (Magner 18). Giving an employer the power to discriminate only towards minorities is unfair and unethical.

Now the question is who will the government protect? Society can not consider its self fair when we are still forming decisions based upon gender or race. It is not noble to protect the jobs of women at Bonaventure University simply there are not enough women on the roster. We should protect the jobs of the experienced. We can not form a new society from affirmative action and believe the rights of all United States citizens will be upheld. The whole idea behind affirmative action is to right the wrongs of the past.

Well, what about the individuals that were not even born when this atrocity of discrimination was going on. Society should not punish the youth for the crimes of their white male forefathers. Thomas Sowell gave an interesting story in his article “Free Markets vs. Discrimination” about Albert Greuner. He had graduated from Pensacola Naval photography school and was refused a job he was more than qualified for. The reason Albert was denied the position was based on the conduct of the other cadets graduating from Pensacola(Sowell 69).

These are the battles that need to be fought. Stop employers from hiring in a discriminatory fashion Not to just favor the group that has been discriminated against in the past. Not only does it affect white males, but the recipients of affirmative action suffer from negative side effects also. There is an angry backlash that women and minorities feel from affirmative action. There is also the effect of pampering. It can make any individual lazy and unmotivated. Affirmative action does nothing but build walls to separate us more, and pollute our work atmosphere with tension.

An angry backlash towards the recipients of affirmative action appears prominently in the work place. An example of affirmative action backlash comes from the article “When an Advantage is Not an Advantage. ” “I recently got a large chunk of government funding in a program that didn’t even have any sort of affirmative action ranking. Yet, almost all men I talk to including my father, assume there was at least some component of consideration given to me for being female” (Cohen 18).

Affirmative action weakens the spirit of the individual by making them think the reason they got the job or grant was because someone felt sorry for them. Some women believe affirmative action will benefit them in the beginning because there is an incentive to hire women. This will do more to hinder than to help in the long run. Here is a quote from an article opposing affirmative action. “I think affirmative action helps to get a female an interview but once on the interview and once on the job, it gives males a basis for their resentment and skepticism of females…” (Cohen 18).

This can cause additional tension between men and women that was not there before affirmative action. Another side effect is how pampering can make a person lazy and unmotivated to excel. This is exactly what affirmative action does. It makes sure that women and minorities are pampered to make up for lost time. Well, lets take a look at what all the pampering in the past has done for the white male. Look at the college graduation numbers of today. Eighty percent of blacks attending college graduate, while only 55% of white college students graduate.

These numbers alone show what discrimination did to help the white male to achieve a lazy attitude of “I don’t need good grades, I am white I’ll get a god job. ” This is a dangerous attitude in 1996, because in some situations a white male needs to be over qualified to compensate for small “bonus points” some minorities receive. By pampering any single group the long-term disaster will outweigh the short term relief. Discrimination is not the problem that plagues society. This is shown with the increase of women in the work force.

The number of women in the computer industry has increased 93%, in auto industry 89%, and in pharmaceuticals 78% (Dunkle 44). Thirty years ago this was not the case, and affirmative action forced American employers to open their eyes to the benefits of diversity. “Affirmative action in 1995 is beginning to resemble Soviet Communism in 1969. Outside the sheltered elites, the majority of people loathe it. The circumstances in which it was dreamed up no longer exist” (Sullivan E15). Now it is time to end affirmative action and focus on what is holding down minorities today.

Let us turn our sites on poverty, poor family life, poor schooling, for these problems are colorblind, and can hinder an individuals chances for success more than anything else. To equal the opportunity of minorities for employment we should educate and prepare them, not force them into the work force or universities. Guadalupe Quintanilla, the assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Houston, stated, “Affirmative action has been distorted and abused. We need to take a second look at it.

I think affirmative action has opened a lot of doors, but it has been misrepresented. I’m for opportunity, not special treatment. The majority of people in this country are open-minded and willing to work with people without considering their sex or color. So I think we could do away with set asides” (Dunkel 42). Problems with equality in our work force and universities can not be blamed completely on discrimination. The problem today is colorblind poverty. Affirmative action actually hurts the lower income individual of any minority group.

Thomas Sowell, in his 1990 book, Preferential Policies, used an international survey of affirmative action programs to show the consequences. “The benefits of affirmative action went overwhelmingly to people who were already better off. , while the poorer members of the same groups either did not gain ground or actually fell further behind” (Richardson 4C). The wealthier neighborhoods have better school systems, which in turn offer greater resources. If we bring equality to our school systems, a rise in minorities in the work force will soon follow.

Some universities here in the United States have based enrollment on College Board’s and SAT’s or ACT’s, none of which show intelligence levels. These tests rather show the standards of education that the individual has encountered. The gap between mean SAT scores for black and whites is 938 for whites and 740 for blacks(Shipler 16) These test scores sometimes become the discrimination against minorities. Another form of evaluating students is where the Universities and government need to focus, to establish a standard in education that spans across all levels of income.

Affirmative action is definitely not the answer for equality in this day in time. Affirmative action has balanced for thirty years on a moral threat. It is now time to apply new moral threats, not towards the employers and colleges but towards the government. For it is the government that needs to change its polices. The government needs to take action towards the real problems of equality: poverty, not the bad white man from the past. Affirmative action is simply the same old discrimination in reverse.

Affirmative Action And Its Effects

The roots of affirmative action can be traced back to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act where legislation redefined public and private behavior. The act states that to discriminate in private is legal, but anything regarding business or public discrimination is illegal (Affirmative 13). There are two instances when opposing affirmative action might seem the wrong thing to do. Even these two cases don’t justify the use of affirmative action. First is the nobility of the cause to help others. Second, affirmative action was a great starter for equality in the work place.

The most promanite variable in deciding affirmative action as right or wrong, is whether or not society is going to treat people as groups or individuals. Affirmative action is a question of morals. The simplicity to form two morals that are both correct but conflicting is the reason for the division of our nation on affirmative action. Affirmative action is very noble when looking at who benefits from the outcome. Take a closer look at affirmative action. The people that are involved and the damage it takes on our society surfaces many doubts.

Taking a closer look also stirs up a question of nobility that needs to be answered before making a decision on affirmative action. Does affirmative action simply change who is discriminated against and makes it legal for the new discriminators? Coming from my point of view, the view of a white male, this is a serious question. One example of this came to my attention from Dave Shiflett who once worked at Rocky Mountain News wrote Rocky Mountain Hire. In this article he tells about a new hiring strategy used at the Denver news paper Rocky Mountain News.

A memo was sent out stating, The job reviews of supervisors and others involved in hiring should address race and sex. Each review should have a hiring goal of at least half of our hires being women and at least half non-white (Shiflett 45). Lets put this strategy to work. We have ten positions to fill, these positions can be filled following the above guidelines by hiring five black women. It can also be met by hiring five white women and five non-white men. Obviously to meet this goal successfully would mean to not hire a white male (Shiflett 45).

I strongly disagree with my white fore fathers and society today who both address race and sex when hiring. Using a persons skin color in hiring is discrimination no matter how society looks at it. At St. Bonaventure University the potential for reverse discrimination became a reality. In May 1994, 22 faculty members were fired, all were male. The president of the university was very blunt about his motive, to protect the small number of women on the university staff (Magner 18). This was purely a discussion based on gender not qualification.

No matter how efficient these men were some were fired for not being part of a certain minority. Gary A. Abraham, who was fired as a tenured associate professor stated, It seems ludicrous that the university can rectify its failure to engage in affirmative action on the backs of its male faculty. Twelve of the men took their complaints to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The commission sided with the men and are even planning to bring the university up on charges themselves (Magner 18). Giving an employer the power to discriminate only towards minorities is unfair and unethical.

Now the question is who will the government protect? Society can not consider its self fair when we are still forming decisions based upon gender or race. It is not noble to protect the jobs of women at Bonaventure University simply there are not enough women on the roster. We should protect the jobs of the experienced. We can not form a new society from affirmative action and believe the rights of all United States citizens will be upheld. The whole idea behind affirmative action is to right the wrongs of the past.

Well, what about the individuals that were not even born when this atrocity of discrimination was going on. Society should not punish the youth for the crimes of their white male forefathers. Thomas Sowell gave an interesting story in his article Free Markets vs. Discrimination about Albert Greuner. He had graduated from Pensacola Naval photography school and was refused a job he was more than qualified for. The reason Albert was denied the position was based on the conduct of the other cadets graduating from Pensacola(Sowell 69).

These are the battles that need to be fought. Stop employers from hiring in a discriminatory fashion Not to just favor the group that has been discriminated against in the past. Not only does it affect white males, but the recipients of affirmative action suffer from negative side effects also. There is an angry backlash that women and minorities feel from affirmative action. There is also the effect of pampering. It can make any individual lazy and unmotivated. Affirmative action does nothing but build walls to separate us more, and pollute our work atmosphere with tension.

An angry backlash towards the recipients of affirmative action appears prominently in the work place. An example of affirmative action backlash comes from the article When an Advantage is Not an Advantage. I recently got a large chunk of government funding in a program that didn’t even have any sort of affirmative action ranking. Yet, almost all men I talk to including my father, assume there was at least some component of consideration given to me for being female (Cohen 18).

Affirmative action weakens the spirit of the individual by making them think the reason they got the job or grant was because someone felt sorry for them. Some women believe affirmative action will benefit them in the beginning because there is an incentive to hire women. This will do more to hinder than to help in the long run. Here is a quote from an article opposing affirmative action. I think affirmative action helps to get a female an interview but once on the interview and once on the job, it gives males a basis for their resentment and skepticism of females…

Cohen 18). This can cause additional tension between men and women that was not there before affirmative action. Another side effect is how pampering can make a person lazy and unmotivated to excel. This is exactly what affirmative action does. It makes sure that women and minorities are pampered to make up for lost time. Well, lets take a look at what all the pampering in the past has done for the white male. Look at the college graduation numbers of today. Eighty percent of blacks attending college graduate, while only 55% of white college students graduate.

These numbers alone show what discrimination did to help the white male to achieve a lazy attitude of I don’t need good grades, I am white I’ll get a god job. This is a dangerous attitude in 1996, because in some situations a white male needs to be over qualified to compensate for small bonus points some minorities receive. By pampering any single group the long-term disaster will outweigh the short term relief. Discrimination is not the problem that plagues society. This is shown with the increase of women in the work force.

The number of women in the computer industry has increased 93%, in auto industry 89%, and in pharmaceuticals 78% (Dunkle 44). Thirty years ago this was not the case, and affirmative action forced American employers to open their eyes to the benefits of diversity. Affirmative action in 1995 is beginning to resemble Soviet Communism in 1969. Outside the sheltered elites, the majority of people loathe it. The circumstances in which it was dreamed up no longer exist (Sullivan E15). Now it is time to end affirmative action and focus on what is holding down minorities today.

Let us turn our sites on poverty, poor family life, poor schooling, for these problems are colorblind, and can hinder an individuals chances for success more than anything else. To equal the opportunity of minorities for employment we should educate and prepare them, not force them into the work force or universities. Guadalupe Quintanilla, the assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Houston, stated, Affirmative action has been distorted and abused. We need to take a second look at it.

I think affirmative action has opened a lot of doors, but it has been misrepresented. I’m for opportunity, not special treatment. The majority of people in this country are open-minded and willing to work with people without considering their sex or color. So I think we could do away with set asides (Dunkel 42). Problems with equality in our work force and universities can not be blamed completely on discrimination. The problem today is colorblind poverty. Affirmative action actually hurts the lower income individual of any minority group.

Thomas Sowell, in his 1990 book, Preferential Policies, used an international survey of affirmative action programs to show the consequences. The benefits of affirmative action went overwhelmingly to people who were already better off. , while the poorer members of the same groups either did not gain ground or actually fell further behind (Richardson 4C). The wealthier neighborhoods have better school systems, which in turn offer greater resources. If we bring equality to our school systems, a rise in minorities in the work force will soon follow.

Some universities here in the United States have based enrollment on College Board’s and SAT’s or ACT’s, none of which show intelligence levels. These tests rather show the standards of education that the individual has encountered. The gap between mean SAT scores for black and whites is 938 for whites and 740 for blacks(Shipler 16) These test scores sometimes become the discrimination against minorities. Another form of evaluating students is where the Universities and government need to focus, to establish a standard in education that spans across all levels of income.

Affirmative action is definitely not the answer for equality in this day in time. Affirmative action has balanced for thirty years on a moral threat. It is now time to apply new moral threats, not towards the employers and colleges but towards the government. For it is the government that needs to change its polices. The government needs to take action towards the real problems of equality: poverty, not the bad white man from the past. Affirmative action is simply the same old discrimination in reverse.

The History of Diversity

The History of Diversity in America Known as the Melting Pot, America is a country with a more diverse population than any other. But America also has a long, painful past of discrimination that has been based on sex, race, color, disability, religion, sexual orientation and various other characteristics that stray from the average white American citizen. Through the years, government has played a major role in trying to correct the past wrongs due to discrimination by enacting legislation and adding amendments to the Constitution.

The primary purpose of these measures is to enforce non-discriminating employment practices and to encourage, and sometimes force, companies to increase their representation of women and minority group members in the workplace. This move toward equal opportunity has come about through numerous measures enacted throughout our history. A few of those policies, such as Affirmative Action, contain very controversial issues that many employers hope to see changed, or done away wi! th all together.

For the present time, however, the trend continues in most every state and is enforced by law. The effects of diversity on our nation can be traced back to the civil war period. This period of upheaval is a perfect example of the struggle many Americans went through to free black slaves. The blacks were made slaves in the states for a number of reasons. The blacks were a representation of difference, therefore the whites viewed them as being unequal. We also seem to fear that which is different, so we try to keep them down.

The blacks represented such a small percentage of the population that it was easy for the white slave owners to control them. The diversity issue among the blacks and whites created a civil war within our nation that pitted friends and family against one another, and our whole nation was in turmoil. Many lives were lost fighting for the freedom of the slaves. On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery and declared all slaves free by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation (the thirteenth amendment to our constitution).

An excerpt from the proclamation follows: . . . That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever, free; . . . (Sandburg, 17) Soon after the issuance of the amendment, various states enacted black codes that limited the newly enacted civil rights of the freed slaves.

In 1868, the fourteenth amendment was passed to counter the black codes to ensure that no state could make, or enforce, a law which served to take civil rights away from any person (FindLaw). But discrimination wasnt only geared towards blacks. Any person who was not your average able, white male was discriminated against. Females, the disabled, the aged, and all other groups not fitting the norm were the targets both in and out of the workplace. The reasons for the discrimination ranged from their color, weight, religion, ethnic background, sex, culture, etc.

A memorable incident that is seared in the minds of many Americans took place on December 1, 1955. Rosa Parks, a nineteen-year-old black women, took a seat on the Montgomery, Alabama bus lines on her way home from work. The bus lines were segregated, therefore the blacks had to sit in the back behind the section labeled for whites only. When Rosa was told to give up her seat for a white man, and move further to the back, she refused. She was not only tired from working all day, but tired of the way she was treated.

Before the incident was over Rosa Parks was arrested. The public was outraged and precipitated the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott. City buses would no longer be ridden by black Americans, which constituted 70 percent of the riders. The boycott continued for 381 days, until December 20, 1956, when the U. S. Supreme Court upheld a lower courts decision declaring Montgomerys segregated seating unconstitutional. This incident seemed to be the spark t! hat ignited the U. S. civil rights movement.

This was also the time in which Martin Luther King, Jr. , a pastor, first came to National prominence. He was a powerful speaker, and later, catapulted to the forefront in an effort to gain civil rights for Black Americans. Another landmark case to end segregation came with Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. This case argued that the policy established by the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling was unconstitutional. All nine judges agreed, and ordered the immediate desegregation of public schools.

In protection of the nine black students trying to gain admission to the Little Rock High School, President Eisenhower had to federalize the Arkansas National Guard and send one thousand paratroopers, from the 101st Airborne platoon. Many schools simply chose to close their doors rather than integrate. The changes were slow in coming. (The Hall of Public Service, 2). One of the prominent changes that occurred was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was a huge step towards greater civil rights legislation and a major step toward equality for all.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was developed to deter the actions of individuals who were in violation of the civil rights of other Americans. Congress was able to pass this act due to their power to regulate interstate commerce. The original act prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin in public establishments connected to interstate commerce or supported by the state. These public establishments were defined as places of public accommodation (hotels, motels, trailer parks, etc. ), restaurants, gas stations, bars, taverns and places of entertainment.

This act was also detrimental in aiding desegregation due to its inclusion of a strong legislative policy that dealt with discrimination in colleges and public schools. Still yet, another victory was awarded un! der Title VI of the civil rights act, which prohibited discrimination in federally funded programs (Civil Rights Act of 1964). The keystone federal legislation regarding equal employment opportunity came with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act eventually led to the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Title VII was crucial in the battle to enlist nondiscriminatory practices in organizations. It prevented employers, labor unions, employment agencies and other labor and employment related organizations, that were engaged in interstate commerce, from discriminating against a person based on their color, race, religion, sex or national origin in employment and training practices. It became the job of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to administer the act and play watchdog on those organizations covered by the act, to ensure they dont engage in any unlawful employment practices.

This was still not enough to gain rights for certain individuals. (Civil Right Act of 1964). In 1961, President Kennedy issued an executive order requiring businesses, with U. S. government contracts, to treat employees without regard to race, ethnic origin, religion, or sex. Kennedy was the first to relate to this procedure as Affirmative Action (Campbell, 135). This course of action has grown into a profound and widespread practice through bureaucratic action, court order, and the acceptance of business and government alike (Krauthammer, 94).

The Equal Opportunity Act of 1972, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, included a broader array of organizations subject to Title VII. The organizations currently covered under Title VII are: all private employers of 15 or more people employed 20 or more weeks out of the year, all public and private educational institutions, state and local governments, public and private employment agencies, labor unions with 15 or more members, or that operate a hiring hall or office, and joint labor-management committees for apprenticeships and training (Equal Opportunity Act of 1972).

This act was also detrimental in helping another minority group obtain greater rights, that of females. In 1972, congress proposed the Equal Rights Amendment (written in 1921 by suffragist Alice Paul) to provide an express constitutional provision prohibiting the denial of equality of rights on account of sex. For women, whom have struggled for equality for years, this was to be a great milestone. Unfortunately, this amendment was not adopted due to the lack of support.

Ratification of an amendment requires three fourths of the state legislatures support (38 states) within the original or an extended ratification period, but only 35 states ratified the amendment (N. O. W. ). Affirmative action has barely had time to affect a single generation, but its effects have been widespread and have had a major impact on America. Affirmative action refers to the encouragement of increased representation of women and minority group-members, especially in the employment setting. The way in which representation is achieved is open to the discretion of each organization.

Over the last couple of decades, affirmative action plans have involved preferential treatment towards women and especially minority groups. This preferential treatment has been dubbed Reverse Discrimination by many that believe that the majority groups are being adversely affected by these practices. This issue was first recognized as a reality soon after the ruling in a landmark Supreme Court case dealing with affirmative action plans. In 1968, due to a lack of minority representation, the University of California at Davis developed a special admissions program in an effort to incre! ase minority representation.

The Failures Of Affirmative Action

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 companys 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 ocial 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 rigin (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 mployees. 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 ersecution 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 inorities 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 cant 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 everse discrimination. Only if todays 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 ake 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 doesnt end there. After the white male has been fired, he has to go out and find a new job to upport his family that depended on the company to provide health care and a retirement plan in return for years of hard work. Now, because of affirmative action, this white male, and the thousands like him, require more skills to get the same job that a lesser qualified black man needs.

This is, for all intents and purposes, discrimination, and it is a law that our government strictly enforces. Affirmative action is not only unfair for the working man, it is extremely discriminatory toward the executive, as well. The average business executive has one goal in mind, and that is to maximize rofits. To reach his goal, this executive would naturally hire the most competent man or woman for the job, whether they be black or white or any other race. Why would a business man intentionally cause his business to lose money by hiring a poorly qualified worker?

Most wouldnt. With this in mind, it seems unnecessary to employ any policy that would cause him to do otherwise. But, that is exactly what affirmative action does. It forces an employer, who needs to meet a quota established by the government, to hire the minority, no matter who is more qualified. Another way that affirmative action deducts from a companys profits is by forcing them to create jobs for minorities. This occurs when a company does not meet its quota with existing employees and has to find places to put minorities.

These jobs are often unnecessary, and force a company to pay for workers that they do not need. Now, dont get the impression that affirmative action is only present in the work place. It is also very powerful in education. Just as a white male employee needs more credentials to get a job than his minority opponent, a white male student needs more or better skills to et accepted at a prestigious university than a minority student. There are complete sections on college applications dedicated to race and ethnic background.

Colleges must now have a completely diverse student body, even if that means some, more qualified students, must be turned away. A perfect example of this can be found at the University of California at Berkeley. A 1995 report released by the university said that 9. 7% of all accepted applicants were African American. Only 0. 8% of these African American students were accepted by academic criteria alone. 36. % of the accepted applicants were white. Of these accepted white students, 47. 9% were accepted on academic criteria alone.

That means that approximately sixty times more African Americans students were accepted due to non-academic influences than white students. It seems hard to believe that affirmative action wasnt one these outside influences. Another interesting fact included in the 1995 report said that the average grade point average for a rejected white student was 3. 66 with an average SAT score of 1142. The average grade point average for an accepted African American student was 3. 6 with a 1030 average SAT score.

These stunning facts shows just how many competent, if not gifted students fall between the cracks as a direct result of affirmative action (Affirmative action). Well, I believe that the problem has been identified; affirmative action is becoming a form of reverse discrimination. It is now time for the doctor to prescribe a potential remedy. Society should work towards broad based economic policies like public investment, national health reform, an enlarged income tax credit, child support assurance, and other policies benefiting families with young children.

Widely supported programs that promote the interests of both lower and middle class Americans that deliver benefits to minorities and whites on the basis of their economic status, and not their race or ethnicity, will do more to reduce minority poverty than the current, narrowly based, poorly supported policies that single out minority groups. However, if this, or another remedy is not taken sometime in the near future, and affirmative action continues to separate minority groups from whites, we can be sure to see racial tension reach points that our history has never seen.

Affirmative Action or Reverse Discrimination

For the past several years the argument over affirmative action has been a highly debated topic. The issue at hand is whether or not affirmative action is reverse discrimination or not. Affirmative action by definition “means taking positive steps to end discrimination, to prevent its recurrence, and to create new opportunities that were previously denied to qualified women and people of color,” (Work & Family). The reason that affirmative action is so controversial is because Americans can’t decide what they want.

Poll after poll concludes that Americans firmly support “affirmative action'” to create opportunities for women and people of color, while they vigorously oppose “quotas'” and “preferences'” for unqualified candidates,” (Work & Family). Which is odd considering that the same “affirmative action” that people support does in fact, in some cases, put unqualified personnel in undeserving positions. For those people who believe affirmative action works they generally are only focusing on the diversity affirmative action has brought to jobs.

Their arguments consist of wanting to see more ethnic and gender diversity in jobs that are usually being worked by white males. To many of these people quality is sometimes put aside for quantity and diversity. The strongest argument that the people who are in support of affirmative action is that having more gender and ethnical diversity brings more to the work place. This argument is very good and very accurate. Having different people in different jobs helps a company to work and receive input from all sorts of different perspectives.

Which leads to a better understanding of what a wider cross-section of the target market wants. On the other hand the people who support affirmative action also give some not so strong arguments. The one that stands out the most is that companies don’t try and fill quotas in their gender and ethnical hiring. Instead it is done entirely on skill alone. This is their weakest and most disputed argument. Especially when in many cases if two potential employees are close in skill the job will more than likely go to the potential employee who is a minority.

As in the case of Paul Johnson versus Diane Joyce. Both had comparable skills, but even though Paul Johnson’s oral interview was scored higher than Diane Joyce it was her that was selected for the job. “The Court upheld the county’s use of Ms. Joyce’s gender as a positive factor in choosing between these similarly-qualified candidates,” (Work & Family). Another reverse discrimination case, one of the most famous in fact, happened in 1978. This case was the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.

In this case the Bakke had claimed that he was discriminated against, and that because he wasn’t a women nor was he a minority, he was not admitted to medical school. With this medical school there are 100 new students admitted each year; however, there are 16 spots that are reserved for students that are in the minority. Mr. Bakke complained that because he was a white male he was unable to get into this medical school. One problem with his argument was that even if he would have been admitted to the school originally he would only have been the 85th ranked student in this particular class.

This seriously affected the way people looked at his case. In the end the Supreme Court ruled that the affirmative action plan of the University was constitutional; however, their use of a quota was not constitutional. Therefore it was that the University had to do away with. While the case was before the courts Bakke was allowed to stay in school, and by the time that the case was done Bakke had in fact completed his schooling, thus eliminating his original complaint (Law and Politics).

Even though there is significant support for affirmative action it still has a large, if not larger, group of people who do not support it. These people believe that many under qualified, undeserving people are being hired ahead of qualified people just because of their individual race or gender. Consequently the strongest argument this group of people present is that many qualified non-minority/non-female applicants are being passed over for opportunities in favor of the minority and female applicants.

This is not only nfair to the person being passed over, but it is also unfair to the company, the consumer, and the people who have to work around this unqualified person. It is unfair to the more qualified person because they had probably put more time and effort into what they were trying to accomplish. It is unfair to the company because the unqualified person will take more time to train which in a big company could cost a lot of money. Then it is unfair to the consumer because they will receive an inferior product brought on by a lack of knowledge.

Finally it is unfair to the co-workers of this unqualified person. With this unqualified co-worker the others will have to work harder to pick up his or her slack, and fix any mistakes the person might make. Even though the people who disagree with affirmative action have a well substantiated point about people being passed over they sometimes take it a little to far. Many people who disagree with affirmative action believe that people of minority and different gender are hired immediately without being put through a process. This is not true.

Almost every minority/women who is hired has to go through the same interviewing process that the non- minority/males have to go through to get hired. In fact the people who were hired were close to the skills of the non-minorities that were not hired they were just given an edge over the non-minority/males in the selection process. However, even though these people were nearly as skilled as the ones not hired it doesn’t always mean they can do the job as well as the others. This is not to say that some of the people hired don’t fail miserably, but it also doesn’t say that they all do either.

For myself personally, I would have to side with the people who oppose affirmative action. One of the United States most attractive qualities is that in it you can be anyone that you want to be. However, affirmative action stops some people from doing that because they are not in the minority, and that is wrong. But then again so is denying someone a position just because they are of a different race or sex. To me it makes no difference if a person is black, white, female, male, or anything in between.

Whoever is the most qualified for the job should get it. If employers would only stick to hiring whoever is the most qualified for the job I feel it would be and incentive for minorities and women to become more qualified. This would eliminate the discussion on whether or not affirmative action was reverse discrimination because there wouldn’t be any affirmative action. We would all be playing on a level field, and that way the best man, or women of any color could compete for the higher paying, more illustrious jobs.

This would help our entire country. The people of the United States would be better educated, harder workers, and more competitive. Which all leads to a boom in the nations economy, and better products. So even though I found out many new things about affirmative action my opinions were not swayed. However, I did realize that the United States does not need affirmative action it only needs people to go out and get the proper education so that they can compete for jobs instead of having them handed to them.

The History of Diversity in America Known as the Melting Pot

America is a country with a more diverse population than any other. But America also has a long, painful past of discrimination that has been based on sex, race, color, disability, religion, sexual orientation and various other characteristics that stray from the average white American citizen. Through the years, government has played a major role in trying to correct the past wrongs due to discrimination by enacting legislation and adding amendments to the Constitution.

The primary purpose of these measures is to enforce non-discriminating employment practices and to encourage, and sometimes force, companies to increase their representation of women and minority group members in the workplace. This move toward equal opportunity has come about through numerous measures enacted throughout our history. A few of those policies, such as Affirmative Action, contain very controversial issues that many employers hope to see changed, or done away wi! th all together.

For the present time, however, the trend continues in most every state and is enforced by law. The effects of diversity on our nation can be traced back to the civil war period. This period of upheaval is a perfect example of the struggle many Americans went through to free black slaves. The blacks were made slaves in the states for a number of reasons. The blacks were a representation of difference, therefore the whites viewed them as being unequal. We also seem to fear that which is different, so we try to keep them down.

The blacks represented such a small percentage of the population that it was easy for the white slave owners to control them. The diversity issue among the blacks and whites created a civil war within our nation that pitted friends and family against one another, and our whole nation was in turmoil. Many lives were lost fighting for the freedom of the slaves. On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery and declared all slaves free by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation (the thirteenth amendment to our constitution). Sandburg, 17)

An excerpt from the proclamation follows: . . . That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever, free; . . . (Sandburg, 17) Soon after the issuance of the amendment, various states enacted black codes that limited the newly enacted civil rights of the freed slaves.

In 1868, the fourteenth amendment was passed to counter the black codes to ensure that no state could make, or enforce, a law which served to take civil rights away from any person (FindLaw). But discrimination wasnt only geared towards blacks. Any person who was not your average able, white male was discriminated against. Females, the disabled, the aged, and all other groups not fitting the norm were the targets both in and out of the workplace. The reasons for the discrimination ranged from their color, weight, religion, ethnic background, sex, culture, etc.

A memorable incident that is seared in the minds of many Americans took place on December 1, 1955. Rosa Parks, a nineteen-year-old black women, took a seat on the Montgomery, Alabama bus lines on her way home from work. The bus lines were segregated, therefore the blacks had to sit in the back behind the section labeled for whites only. When Rosa was told to give up her seat for a white man, and move further to the back, she refused. She was not only tired from working all day, but tired of the way she was treated.

Before the incident was over Rosa Parks was arrested. The public was outraged and precipitated the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott. City buses would no longer be ridden by black Americans, which constituted 70 percent of the riders. The boycott continued for 381 days, until December 20, 1956, when the U. S. Supreme Court upheld a lower courts decision declaring Montgomerys segregated seating unconstitutional. This incident seemed to be the spark t! hat ignited the U. S. civil rights movement.

This was also the time in which Martin Luther King, Jr. , a pastor, first came to National prominence. He was a powerful speaker, and later, catapulted to the forefront in an effort to gain civil rights for Black Americans. Another landmark case to end segregation came with Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. This case argued that the policy established by the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling was unconstitutional. All nine judges agreed, and ordered the immediate desegregation of public schools.

In protection of the nine black students trying to gain admission to the Little Rock High School, President Eisenhower had to federalize the Arkansas National Guard and send one thousand paratroopers, from the 101st Airborne platoon. Many schools simply chose to close their doors rather than integrate. The changes were slow in coming. (The Hall of Public Service, 2). One of the prominent changes that occurred was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was a huge step towards greater civil rights legislation and a major step toward equality for all.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was developed to deter the actions of individuals who were in violation of the civil rights of other Americans. Congress was able to pass this act due to their power to regulate interstate commerce. The original act prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin in public establishments connected to interstate commerce or supported by the state. These public establishments were defined as places of public accommodation (hotels, motels, trailer parks, etc. ), restaurants, gas stations, bars, taverns and places of entertainment.

This act was also detrimental in aiding desegregation due to its inclusion of a strong legislative policy that dealt with discrimination in colleges and public schools. Still yet, another victory was awarded un! der Title VI of the civil rights act, which prohibited discrimination in federally funded programs (Civil Rights Act of 1964). The keystone federal legislation regarding equal employment opportunity came with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act eventually led to the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Title VII was crucial in the battle to enlist nondiscriminatory practices in organizations. It prevented employers, labor unions, employment agencies and other labor and employment related organizations, that were engaged in interstate commerce, from discriminating against a person based on their color, race, religion, sex or national origin in employment and training practices. It became the job of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to administer the act and play watchdog on those organizations covered by the act, to ensure they dont engage in any unlawful employment practices.

This was still not enough to gain rights for certain individuals. (Civil Right Act of 1964). In 1961, President Kennedy issued an executive order requiring businesses, with U. S. government contracts, to treat employees without regard to race, ethnic origin, religion, or sex. Kennedy was the first to relate to this procedure as Affirmative Action (Campbell, 135). This course of action has grown into a profound and widespread practice through bureaucratic action, court order, and the acceptance of business and government alike (Krauthammer, 94).

The Equal Opportunity Act of 1972, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, included a broader array of organizations subject to Title VII. The organizations currently covered under Title VII are: all private employers of 15 or more people employed 20 or more weeks out of the year, all public and private educational institutions, state and local governments, public and private employment agencies, labor unions with 15 or more members, or that operate a hiring hall or office, and joint labor-management committees for apprenticeships and training (Equal Opportunity Act of 1972).

This act was also detrimental in helping another minority group obtain greater rights, that of females. In 1972, congress proposed the Equal Rights Amendment (written in 1921 by suffragist Alice Paul) to provide an express constitutional provision prohibiting the denial of equality of rights on account of sex. For women, whom have struggled for equality for years, this was to be a great milestone. Unfortunately, this amendment was not adopted due to the lack of support.

Ratification of an amendment requires three fourths of the state legislatures support (38 states) within the original or an extended ratification period, but only 35 states ratified the amendment (N. O. W. ). Affirmative action has barely had time to affect a single generation, but its effects have been widespread and have had a major impact on America. Affirmative action refers to the encouragement of increased representation of women and minority group-members, especially in the employment setting. The way in which representation is achieved is open to the discretion of each organization.

Over the last couple of decades, affirmative action plans have involved preferential treatment towards women and especially minority groups. This preferential treatment has been dubbed Reverse Discrimination by many that believe that the majority groups are being adversely affected by these practices. This issue was first recognized as a reality soon after the ruling in a landmark Supreme Court case dealing with affirmative action plans. In 1968, due to a lack of minority representation, the University of California at Davis developed a special admissions program in an effort to incre! ase minority representation.

In 1971, sixteen of the one hundred freshman positions were set aside to be filled by disadvantaged applicants (minorities) chosen by a separate admissions committee. In 1973-1974, Alan Bakke, a Caucasian male, was denied admission to the university. Bakke contended that the special program had admitted minority students with lower grade averages and test scores than himself, so he filed a lawsuit. Bakke said he had been discriminated against because of his race and argued that the schools special admissions committee system violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. With this case reverse discrimination was born.

This type of discrimination happens when one group (minority or female) is alleged preferential treatment over another group, rather than equal opportunity. On June 28, 1978, the Supreme Court ruled, in a 5 to 4 decision, that Bakke should be allowed to attend the medical school, and further, found the schools special admissions system to be illegal. On the reverse side of the issue, in another 5-4 decision, the court ruled that some forms of race-conscious admissions programs are constitutional, and that race or ethnic background may be considered a plus in an applicants file.

This ruling doesnt protect the individual from being compared with other candidates, but it should provide for equal opportunity and for certain considerations to be made. This somewhat hazy decision opened the doors for future court hearings on the legitimacy of reverse discrimination (Byars and Rue, 40). This ruling did not ban affirmative action programs, therefore, this so called preferential treatment continues today and is still the subject of much heated debate. Many people believe that affirmative action has served its purpose of avenging past discrimination.

In its 30 years of existence, it wasnt until recently that affirmative action has been put to the democratic test. Due to the vagueness of past court decisions dealing with affirmative action (some which seem conflicting), these practices have evolved and sparked even more controversy. An example of these conflicting and unclear decisions is the comparison of Regents of the University of California V. Bakke and the recent ruling by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Hopwood V. Texas.

Be reminded that Regents of the University of California V. Bakke is the landmark case, which set affirmative action on its winding path in 1978. In March of 1996, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declared an affirmative action program adopted by the University of Texas Law School to be illegal. The program lowered the required grade point averages for blacks and Mexican American applicants relative to other groups and lowered the minimum standards for Law School Admissions Tests for these groups as well.

The appellate court directed university officials to develop a color-blind admissions program immediately while Judge Jerry Smith, speaking for the Fifth Circuit, declared that: The use of race to achieve a diverse student body can not be a state interest compelling enough to meet the steep standard of strict scrutiny. Within the general principles of the Fourteenth Amendment, the use of race in admissions for diversity in higher education contradicts, rather than furthers, the aims of equal protection. Diversity fosters, rather than minimizes, the use of race.

It treats minorities as a group, but, just as likely, may promote improper racial stereotypes, thus fueling racial hostility. (Bresler, 7) Smith went on to state that a university could consider: a host of factors – some of which may have some correlation with race – in making admissions decisionsKdiversity can take many forms, to foster such diversity, state universities and law schools and other governmental entities must scrutinize applicants individually, rather than resorting to the dangerous proxy of race.

Bresler, 7) The Hopwood case is being appealed to the Supreme Court, and whether or not Judge Smiths opinion is upheld, will have a dramatic impact on the future of affirmative action and this country as a whole (Bresler, 7). This ruling by the Fifth Circuit sends confusing signals to Americans. What has been law and considered the right thing to do for 30 years is now being portrayed as a somewhat harmful and racist technique. Another important court decision that took place prior to Hopwood is Adarand Constructors Inc. V. Pena in 1995.

This decision backs up the Hopwood ruling in that it questioned the legality of properly designed affirmative action programs and called for strict scrutiny to be applied to federal affirmative action programs (Hair, 12). To better understand affirmative action, it is necessary to look at the effects that affirmative action legislation has had on America. The average annual earnings of a full-time male worker in 1975 (based on 1993 dollars) as compared to the earnings of that same individual in 1993 are as follows: Males 1975 1993 % change White $34,000 $31,000 (8. 8%) Black $25,000 $23,500 (6. ) Hispanic $24,000 $20,000 (16. 7%) The average annual earnings of full-time, female workers for the same ethnic groups were, in general, below those of the males.

White womens earnings climbed steadily between 1975 and 1990, but began to plateau in 1993, while the same trend affected the earnings of Blacks and Hispanics, but to a slightly different degree. The earnings of Black and Hispanic women did not increase nearly as sharply as the earnings of White women, but they experienced approximately the same decrease. For both male and female workers, Hispanics have experienced the lowest earnings of all (Campbell, 140).

Affirmative Action Report

The aunder representationa of any racial group, it was decided, was evidence of discriminationa(Guernsey). Affirmative action did not start out as a reverse discrimination towards white males, but it was meant to help everybody, but failed nearly completely after a time of which it was affected. The original concept of affirmative action excluded any mention of preference.

Launched during the late 1960s by the administration of President Richard M. Nixon, affirmative action programs call for guidelines and goals in the hiring of racial and ethnic minorities, the handicapped, and women. They have been effective in promoting change in hiring practices because they have the weight of the federal government behind them. As a direct result, a broader range of opportunities have become available for blacks in government, the corporate world, and colleges and universities. In the beginning, the 1960as, when President Johnson used the affirmative action policy it was necessary and effective.

At that time there was racial discrimination towards people of all black races in the United States of America, so it was a necessity to have such a law to create equal opportunity, but this was also created to have a racially and gender blind solution. This has turned into a racially unequal program that now has a negative effect on society. Affirmative due to quotas and favoritism towards minorities have a negative effect on society and have created a reverse discrimination. Many years ago there was a mistreatment of blacks and other minorities.

During much of American history, it was generally accepted by white people that blacks were not the same kind of human beings as whites and that slavery was the proper role for black people(Guernsey). People were not permitted to attend certain schools due to their acolor. a There were separate eating facilities, bathrooms, parks, and drinking fountains for them as well. The first legal sign that the mistreatment of blacks was finally realized when in 1954 the Brown v. Board of Education overturned the Plessey v. Ferguson case.

In 1964 there was there was the Civil Rights equal protection laws passed to make discrimination illegal were the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title II and VII of which forbid racial discrimination in “public accommodations” and race and sex discrimination in employment, respectively; and the 1965 Voting Rights Act adopted after Congress found “that racial discrimination in voting was an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of the country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution. Sykes).

The actual phrase aaffirmative actiona was first used in President Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 Executive Order 11246 which requires federal contractors to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origina(Sykes). Two years later President Johnson expanded this law to place women in this category due to their low rates of employment and respect in the business world.

At this time there was a large amount of discrimination going on. Much of this discrimination ended a long time ago, but groups such as the NAACP pushed for even more laws that further blacksa and other groupsa difficulties in getting into jobs, schools, and other areas where they feel that they are underrepresented. aSupporters of affirmative action believe that we-as a society-must make up for the inequalities of the past. Critics argue that the conditions of the past no longer exist. Guernsey).

There have been quotas put into place at many cities, universities, and private industries that have caused this affirmative action to change from an aid tool into a tool of reverse discrimination in which it is making it harder to for the average white male to get a good job or into a good school. Many Americans do not approve of this affirmative action policy. aIn 1995, a Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll showed that 2 out of every 3 Americans oppose Affirmative Actiona(Guernsey).

Many say that preferential treatment is sanctioned in the name of diversity, but then there is the question that of how genuine is that diversity when it refers to groups rather than individuals. aMost Americans believe that equal opportunity must be balanced with hard work and merita( Guernsey). The affirmative action policy has hurt many by its demand for more representation by the minorities and women. aDiscrimination of a most flagrant kind is now practiced at the federal, state, and local levels. A white teacher in Piscataway, NJ, is fired solely on account of her race.

Asian students are denied admission to state universities to make room for students of other races with much weaker recordsa(Canady). Many of the people that are hurt by the affirmative action policies are far too young to have been part of the discriminatory action that caused them to be in such situations. A minority student or female with lower grades and test scores would be accepted over a white male college student with slightly higher grades and test scores. Why should this be possible? This to me is what discrimination is.

As the first black Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshal, had stated aI want to have a colorblind justicea, but the NAACP and other groups that want to cheat their way into higher positions say different. Preferences in admission have actually had a documented negative impact on the school as a whole and that of the blacks who went there, this school is Berkley. aDuring the decade of the 1980as, Berkleyas rapid increase in the number of black students on campus did not translate into comparable increases in the number of blacks actually graduating.

At one point, the number of blacks on campus was increasing, while the number of blacks graduating was actually decreasing, this is due to high racial body counts over people being educateda(Sowell). Since there has been evidence of this negative impact that affirmative action has had on the population it should be no longer enforced, and if it still enforced, the quotas and preferential treatment should be lifted. That study alone shows all that is wrong with the preferential treatment.

Berkley had given this preferential treatment, but the graduation numbers of the blacks there had gone down, this is just filling up spaces that should be available for students that are qualified for them. This also hurts those blacks that were accepted and were not qualified, they may have done very well at another school that they deserve to be at, but since they have this preferential treatment they have been placed in an atmosphere in which they do not belong.

Affirmative action programs create an atmosphere in which blacks are taught to blame their shortcomings on whites and encouraged to believe that they are atoo differenta to adhere to the standards of the rest of societya(Graglia). The quotas and preferential treatment is simply not morally acceptable and cause problems for people of all colors and genders. A black immigrant who has just come to the country and applies to a job gets preferential treatment over a white man who has worked hard all his life to get where he was simply to make up for the injustices of the past which did not even effect this manas family.

Opportunities are denied to people simply because they are not member of a nonpreferred race, gender, or ethnic group. aPreferences attack the dignity of the preferred, and cast a pall of doubt over their confidencea(Canady). aBlack applicants to Auburn University are automatically admired if they meet minimum requirements, while students of other races with similar credentials often face further review before admission, school officials saida(Associated Press). aIt should be clear to all who support affirmative action that using such means toward self-segregation is a gross contradiction that undercuts its justificationa(Patterson).

There is a focus on color and race, if there is preferential treatment it should be towards the disadvantaged as a whole not simply those that are black or other minorities, that simply does not make sense in what Thurgood Marshal wanted to be a blind justice. One of the only attempts that was made to end the discrimination was made in California just so it would fail because it is the most liberal state in the United States of America. It was a proposition to end the classification of students by race, ethnicity, color, or origin in the operation of education.

There is more of a focus on a black body count than on the qualifications. aOur research clearly shows that class-based affirmative action produced more that twice as many blacks admission as we would have under a system entirely driven by LSATas and grades. a aA system of admissions that looks at talent plus obstacles seems to provide the best approximation of equal opportunitya( Kahlenberg). This is by a simple definition reverse discrimination and does not deserve to be supported by the great country of the United Sates of America.

We are not a racist country but affirmative action is turning us into one, the racism is directed mainly towards white, and specifically males. It must also make sense that if somebody does get this preferential treatment they should make a strong commitment to finish that college, because if they take up room and do not finish it was a spot wasted, where a dedicated student of another race could have used it to better themselves. Affirmative due to quotas and favoritism towards minorities have a negative effect on society and have created a reverse discrimination.

The affirmative action program

The affirmative action program is important because it gives job opportunities for many people regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, and national origin. The work force should be well represented by the different ethnic backgrounds of our society. Some people look at affirmative action as reverse discrimination, but this program doesnt guarantee employment based on race, ethnicity, or gender. The affirmative action program gives equal consideration to individuals from a different race, ethnicity, or gender, but not one of these factors may be the only factor used to determine an individuals qualifications for any job.

The biggest dispute of the program is the belief that the policy allows less qualified candidates to progress due to different standards for minorities and non-minorities. People need to realize that affirmative action gives balance in the workplace so that everyone from different ethnic backgrounds would be represented in todays diverse society. There are few social policy issues that gauge the racial and division among the American people than the affirmative action.

Affirmative Action is a term referring to the laws and social policies intended to resolve discrimination that limits the opportunities of people regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, and national origin. Supporters and opponents of affirmative action hold strong to their believes and constantly attack the opposing viewpoints. Advocates believe that affirmative action overcomes discrimination, gives qualified minorities a chance to compete on equal footing whites, and provides them with the same opportunities. Opponents claim that affirmative action puts unskilled minorities

Cannon 2 in positions that they are not qualified for, tarnishes the reputation of minorities that accomplishes success on their own, and violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Since the beginning of affirmative action, the definition has been ever changing in order to satisfy the present beliefs of society. Prohibiting the discrimination in hiring, expanding the filing of application to include more minorities, compensating for past grievances, setting quotas (percentages of a certain type of people that had to be included), have all been part of the definition.

As much as many people would like for affirmative action to be abolished, affirmative action is still needed in order to give opportunities to minorities who do not have access to social or corporate connections. The truth of the matter is that many people climb the corporate ladder because they are associated with the right people whom are making executive decisions that make a difference. The government intends to provide equal opportunity based upon the individuals merit.

Affirmative action provides qualified individuals with a variety of job opportunities; this program could be viewed as another avenue to excel in a career or towards a higher education. In many occurrences, minorities have been discriminated because it has been the custom not to hire them. Many city police and fire departments traditionally did not hire blacks; many craft unions did not accept black members. Many big companies did not hire blacks for higher positions; instead, blacks were hired as kitchen assistants and janitors. When these kinds of patterns are evident, affirmative action and quotas may be valid tools to respond with.

Opportunities of Character, Not Color

Created in the 1960s, affirmative action programs attempted to undo past racial discrimination by giving preference to blacks and other minorities. The idea behind these programs was to help minorities gain the representation in the job market that paralleled their percentage of the population (Finley 1). Unfortunately, affirmative action has mutated into a thirty-year-old policy that places many underqualified minorities in positions over more qualified non-minorities. Preferential treatment of minorities has caused problems not only in the workplace, but also in our universities throughout the country.

Due to these current circumstances, affirmative action policies in college admissions must be eliminated because of the negative effects they have on campuses across the nation. There are numerous arguments that defend the use of affirmative action and advocate its effect on college campuses. Supporters of affirmative action believe that minorities are still disadvantaged and that it is “absolutely necessary to level the playing field” (Wilkins 334). They believe that minorities will never be given a fair chance at college unless diversity is forced upon the campus.

Proponents also argue that affirmative action is the best solution to past discrimination and color-blindness, and that without affirmative action the gaps between our races will never close. Although these arguments may have positive aspects such as creating a multicultural campus, affirmative actions many faults cause more problems than are solved. The leading problem with these ideas on affirmative action in colleges is that it has completely failed to accomplish one of its main goals: reduce the color-consciousness of university students and ease racial tension.

On the contrary, it has done exactly the opposite because affirmative action “poses a conflict between two cherished American principles: the belief that all Americans deserve equal opportunities and the idea that hard work and merit, not race or religion or gender or birthright, should determine who prospers and who does not” (Roberts 32). This leads to a series of problems at universities. For example, we cannot expect college students to see everyone equally unless everyone is considered equal when applying for college.

Affirmative action has created a situation in which the minoritys “society now tells them that if they will only designate themselves as black on their college applications, they will probably do better in the college lottery than if they conceal this fact” (Steele 322). Remove the section on college applications titled “Race,” and consider students by their hard work in school, not by the color of their skin. And how can we even be surprised that there is racial tension among students in universities?

The white student sees minorities as undeserving, while the minority student sees the whites as racists that are “participating in a larger institution that works against black people” (Duster 64). Another fault with affirmative action is that it attempts to correct a serious problem at the wrong time in a students career. According to a 1987 survey in the L. A. Times, when colleges admit minorities through affirmative action their performance often shows that problems have not been solved.

The survey presented evidence that “around 90 percent of regularly admitted UCLA students now pass the California bar exam, while the passage rate for students admitted under special programs designed to help minorities is only 30 percent” (Finley 1). The problem here is that many minorities are disadvantaged educationally when the time comes to apply for colleges. By this time, it is too late for affirmative action to accomplish anything positive.

It can only place underqualified minorities into a difficult college environment that discourages all students and develops “a cosmetic diversity that covers the blemish of disparitya full six years after admission, only 26 to 28 percent of blacks graduate from college” (Steele 324). We should instead direct our attention to the primary and secondary schools that are preparing students for the tough college years ahead. In conclusion, the solution to racial problems in America is to fade out affirmative action programs and provide inner-city schools with more resources that prepare students for college.

More funds should be distributed to inner-city schools and incentives given to teachers who teach at these schools (Finley 2). By encouraging teachers to educate students in disadvantaged schools, a better staff will be available to help minority students develop a competitiveness in college admissions. This will allow all students to be admitted into college based not on their skin color, but on their own merit and hard work. Over time, colleges as well as the workplace, will naturally become more diverse and racially unified.