Affirmative Action Essay, Research Paper
Affirmative Action: A Contradiction In Itself
Affirmative action is a term of general application referring to government
policies that directly or indirectly award jobs, admission to universities and professional
schools, and other social goods and resources to individuals on the basis of membership in
designated protected groups in order to compensate those groups for past discrimation
caused by society as a whole. For political, as well as prudential reasons reflecting racial
sensitivities, public justification of affirmative action has tended to describe it as a logical
extension of equality of opportunity for individuals. In fact, affirmative action embodies
ideas that are philosophically anti-ethical to the principle of equal protection of the laws
that are the basis of equality of opportunity. The essential difference is that affirmative
action policies are designed to benefit persons on the basis of membership in a group,
rather than according to individual qualifications and experience.
Affirmative action focuses on the results of the procedures used by public and
private organization measured with respect to racial balance, rather than on the existence
of procedures that assure equal treatment of individuals irrespective of race, ethinicity or
sex. It can therefore be described as a civil rights policy, promised on the concept of
group rather than individual rights, which seeks equality of result rather than equality of
As a general description of civil rights policy, affirmative action comprehends such
matters as school desegregation, voting rights, housing sales and rentals, university
admissions, the activities of federally funded agencies, and public and private employment.
In each of these areas, there have been judicial decisions asserting the principles of
group and equality of results that define historical development and rationale of the policy
are best illustrated, however, in employment discrimination law.
Before the adoption of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers were permitted to
select employees according to race or any other consideration, unlike the situation in
voting of public education where racial discrimination was arguably unconstitutional to
races, because they can’t hire the most qualified person.
Affirmative action is, for lazy people who can’t do anything for themselves, black
whites, men and women alike! The truth is that although the government feels they are
working for the whole, they are forgetting the individual. Setting their sites to boost the
economic status of minorities, but knocking them back a century is what the government
has achieved thus far. These minority groups feel the government has the impression that
their own individual talents are not worthy of the level at which the average white males’
are. This angers many men and women of these minority groups, leaving them feeling
impatient and worthless in their own right. Thus, the vicious cycle of self-doubt begins,
and these men and women depend more and more on the government to get them a job or
get them into college, because they feel they are not qualified enough to do it on their
In effect, the picture that civil rights have come a long way is an impressionistic
one, the out-of-date policy of affirmative action only weakens the effects of the movement
that hese people have been working diligently for.
Affirmative action, while being a noble idea, has failed the people it was intended
to help. It says basically, “You cannot succeed on your own.” It implies that someone or
something must take care of people and in doing so, makes them dependent on the
government. So instead of leveling the playing field, affirmative action has the effect of
pushing people down.
Not only does affirmative action suppress the people it is fighting for, but it also
stomps on others. For example, if a white man and an African-American male apply for
the same job, chances are the African-American male would get it, regardless of
qualifications, because a certain percentage of each business is to be minority employed.
This means a more qualified white male is left out-in-the-cold, because of his race. “Hello!
Do I detect a bit of reverse racism here? Isn’t this policy an effort to insure equality rather
what the race or sex is?” ” This is exactly my point”, says Tyler attorney Floyd Getz, “If
we are going to be fair, we have to be fair all the way around the circle or affirmative
action only discriminates against the majority groups when it’s whole purpose is to ensure
equality. Twenty or thirty years ago this policy was in desperate need but now it is
ineffective and out of date. Yet, if the person with the most qualifications doesn’s get the
job, it seems to me with this policy it is easier for minorities to go to college, than for a
majority group member, so they should be qualified!”
This is all too true. Many white majority members have a very hard time being
accepted to college or being funded through the government, because affirmative action
relegates the percentage of acceptance and aide each group can receive. Therefore,
affirmative action discriminates against majority groups and contradicts it’s whole purpose.
Affirmative Action contradicts the traditional liberal principle that individuals have
rights in respect to which they are entitled to be protected equally without regard to race
or other irrelevant personal characteristics. The guarantee of these rights, where
government acts upon individuals, establishes equality of opportunity. To deny an
individual his or her rights or treat the individual differently because of