Affirmative Action Essay, Research Paper
I?m doing a report on affirmative action. This is a very controversial issue that affects all people seeking job opportunities in a just manner.
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 company?s 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 social 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 origin (Civil Rights).? When Lyndon Johnson signed that order, he enacted one of the most discriminating pieces of legislature in U.S. History.
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 racial tension was at its peak. White males, who controlled the hiring and firing of employees, occupied most of the corporate executive and managerial positions. 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 aid 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 persecution 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. Some fought to attain equality, not special treatment. To them, the acceptance of special treatment is
an admittance of inferiority. They ask, ?Why can?t 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.
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 make room for minority employees in 1977. 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. 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 doesn?t end there. After the white male has been fired, he has to go out and find a new job to support 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 profits. 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 businessman intentionally cause his business to lose money by hiring a poorly qualified worker? Most wouldn?t. 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.
Now, don?t 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
get 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. 36.8% 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 wasn?t one these outside influences. I found that out on a SIRS article.
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 whole idea behind affirmative action, as I said before, is to right the wrongs of the past. Well, what about the individuals that were not even born when this discrimination was going on. Society should not punish the youth for the crimes of their white male
forefathers. End of story.
What if your mother was once a teacher at a Lutheran High School in Chicago and got fired for say, picking favorites according to their race in class. You one day decided to apply for a job at our Lutheran High School of Dallas to take Mr. Muth?s place. However, there is one other incompetent hispanic also applying for the job. Now despite your obvious lead over your opponent for the job, they decline your application because of your mother?s history and give the job to the hispanic. It Just Don?t Add Up!!!
There are a few possible alternatives to affirmative action, some of them are very simple and some are a little more complex. The alternatives discussed in this paper will include: reconstruction of civil society in minority communities, increasing minority and female applicant flow, and most important promote broad policies for economic opportunity and security that benefit low- and middle-income Americans, black and white. These alternatives are not my personal thoughts. These are possibilities thought by government officials who all agree something should be done.
?Building up civil society means strengthening ‘intermediate’ institutions, lying between the state and the individual, such as community associations, schools, media, and independent social agencies, which provide the organizational foundation for collective development and effective public representation.” (This is a citation, I?m not sure how to do it but I?ll find out for rough draft. It?s from a newspaper article on InfoTrac) These institutions would give direction and guidance that is needed by all to play a major role in his/her community. What it is basically is just instead of giving lesser-qualified minorities jobs, why not train these minorities so that they are better equipped to go out in the world, with the qualifications needed for a specific job.
Increasing minority and female applicant flow would be very easy for a company to do. They simply need to include minority colleges and universities in campus recruitment programs, place employment opportunities in minority oriented print and broadcast media, and retain applications of unhired minority applicants to be reviewed as a position opens. This would be a great opportunity for applicants and employers.
We should work toward broad based economic policies by consistently emphasizing broad-based, race-neutral policies. Public investment, national health reform, an enlarged earned income tax credit, child support assurance, and other policies benefiting families with young children. These are widely supported programs that promote the interests of both lower- and middle-income Americans-and that deliver substantial benefits to minorities on the basis of their econmic condition. These efforts can also be designed to correspond with intermediate institutions and thereby to contribute to the overall process of civil reconstruction and renewal.
Those were a few alternatives to affirmative action. In my opinion, I would more consider them compromises, rather than alternatives. Look, plain and simple- The best person for the job, no matter what race, should be given the job. Period.