Untitled Essay, Research Paper
Affirmative Action: Solution or Confusion?
Affirmative action is a plan designed to end discrimination by
guaranteeing minorities will be hired, regardless of race or gender. While
our country hires such groups based upon these guarantees, the
qualifications of such people are occasionally overlooked. Many believe
that affirmative action is a very effective plan; however, the population
which opposes such action frequently includes people of various minorities,
as well as many others who have been wronged by this plan In several
cases, this plan causes minorities to be perceived as being under-qualified
when hired; in addition, it also causes a new minority, the white male.
Our government must acknowledge the fact that affirmative action is not
putting an end to discrimination; in all actuality, this plan has succeeded
creating new minorities, and more reasons for discrimination.
Affirmative action frequently causes qualified employees to be
looked down upon because some believe them to be “affirmative action
hires”. Two of my female relatives are currently on the police force; as
result, I have encountered many discriminatory comments pertaining to
their positions. The first remark I usually receive suggests that they were
hired for their position solely based on gender. Another comment which I
usually receive is, “Well, being a woman probably didn’t hurt their resume.”
Both of my relatives are very good at their jobs; one was even on the
popular television show, Cops. Neither of them are “wimps”, yet most
males look down upon them as being hired because of affirmative action.
This type of criticism is received by many minorities holding good jobs,
whether they are qualified or not. To quote William Reynolds, assistant
attorney general in the civil rights division:
In many cases, affirmative action takes away from legitimate
minority success. People look at the black banker
downtown who has made it on his own and say, “He got his
job because of affirmative action.” Or, an employer hires a
few talented minority people who would have succeeded
anyway and says, “Those are my affirmative-action hires.”
In this particular case, affirmative action may, or may not, have
been the reason for hiring, yet that is what most perceive. People of any
race or gender should be able to hold a job where their colleagues respect
them as equals, not as “affirmative-action hires”.
My cousin, Christine, has also added to my knowledge on how well
affirmative action works at the hospital where she works. One of the
administrators happened to be a black male–who was very qualified for his
position–yet most of the staff accused him of being promoted because of
his race. This affected his morality to such an extent that he resigned
shortly after his promotion. Another black female–who was hired because
of her race and gender–is not qualified for her position, yet is esteemed
her colleagues for her accomplishments. It seems that minorities are
accepted to a certain extent, until they become someone’s boss. It is also
scary situation when a person has an under-qualified surgeon performing
surgery on them because of affirmative action.
Affirmative action insists that the employer must “[a]void the kind
of unnecessary escalation of criteria for selection and promotion which has
sometimes been used to keep certain classes of people from entering the
mainstream of our economic life” (Berry 19). This aspect of the plan
creates more openings for minorities; however, it also suggests that the
standards should be maintained at a low to guarantee these openings. In
my opinion, if the standards for any position are raised, the productivity
and accuracy of the country will rise accordingly. When the policy of
affirmative action is to almost lower the standards of our society, this
sacrifices quality for the sake of equality. Roy Wilkins, a former Executive
Director of the NAACP, stated to the congress:
Our association has never been in favor of a quota system.
We believe the quota system is unfair whether it is used for
or against blacks…We feel people ought to be hired because
of their ability, irrespective of their color…We want
equality, equality of opportunity and employment on the
basis of ability. (qtd. in Reynolds 26)
If the people which affirmative action was made for are against
most of it’s principles–and the white male loses jobs because of it–why
the majority so supportive of this plan?
One of the most powerful arguments for affirmative action is based
upon claims from minorities who believe that they deserve a certain amount
ofcompensation because of the past discrimination which they have received.
DianaAxelson, chairperson of the Department of Philosophy of Spelman College,
in her essay, “Affirmative Action Compensates for Past Discrimination”, by
claiming,”The first form of compensation which seems appropriate is compensations…forinjuries they themselves have received as a result of individualized or
institutionalizedracism and sexism” (33). In my opinion, the blame of past wrongs should not
be putupon the employer, nor should something which happened in the past be a factor
inhiring practices. To quote Michael Levin, professor of philosophy:
Other past wrongs have left their traces-acts of theft, despoliation, fraud,anti-Semitism-yet society has no organized policy of rectifying those wrongs.
It surelyseemsthat if the consequences of one kind of wrong should not be allowed
neither should those of any other. (40)
Although society may sympathize with past wrongs, it is not anyemployer’s
obligationto compensate these people; further, it would be a great injustice to society’s
majorityto ignore them in order to accomplish this.
Affirmative action is a successful plan in theory, but hiring a certain
percentageof minorities–qualified or unqualified–has turned into a larger problem
than whatalreadyexisted. In all actuality, the hiring requirements of affirmative
action havecaused thewhite male to become a minority because they cannot be hired unless
therequired percentage of minorities are already employed. A more effective
method ofhiring fairly,without discrimination, may be a faceless and nameless interview.
Ifperspective employees could send in their resumes, be assigned a number,
fill out awritten interview,and be hired entirely based on their qualifications, this
would solvemany of the problems. Using this method to hire and promote would guarantee
themost qualified people would be hired, and there could be no accusations of
choosing aperson solely on their race orgender. We live in a country where a certain
percent ofthe work force is hiredbased entirely on their race or gender, not their
qualifications. Itis quite obvious that affirmative action does not fulfill the intended purpose;
contrary toits objective, this plan has only created more discrimination than could