Affirmative Action Essay, Research Paper
Politics is assuming command of the American economy in the form of pervasive “equal opportunity” enforcement. In today’s society, everyone is supposed to be equal and have equal rights, but in employment, there is more discrimination than ever. American citizens need to do away with affirmative action so that America’s job opportunities can once again be based on merit, not skin color or ethnicity. Laws have been passed, quotas have been established, and seemingly, everything has been done to prevent discrimination, but rather than ending discrimination, these new laws and quotas have begun to discriminate against a new group of people?the qualified white male. America is known as the land of opportunity. The general theory is that if you work hard enough and you are the most qualified person to receive a job, you get it, but that is no longer the case. Now, in order to be employed, qualifications do not always matter as much as the color of a person’s skin or his ethnicity.
In dealing with this subject, the first question that is always asked is, “What is wrong with quotas? What is wrong with companies hiring a variety of blacks, Hispanics, women, and white males?” (?Counting Costs? p. 18)The problem is not with hiring a variety of people from different ethnic groups. The problem begins when the person who is best qualified for a job, loses the position to someone less qualified. More and more, white males are having problems finding jobs because they are not black or Hispanic or do not have breasts. Affirmative action, which is action in the form of quotas and special treatment for protected classes, has resulted in a politicized hiring process in which white males are openly discriminated against. A 1984 poll found that one in every ten white males lost a promotion because of quotas. (Glatris p. 44) They have become invisible victims because the idea of merit hiring has been subverted by politicized hiring, and that has left the white males no way to defend themselves against this open discrimination. Some have tried to defend themselves, but litigation proved expensive, exhausting, chancy, and immensely time consuming. One case remains unsettled after more than six years in litigation. (Brimelow, 76-77)
Many voices say that quotas are used to right the past wrongs when so many minority groups were discriminated against, but even immigrants, if they belong to one of the protected classes are eligible for quota preferences. Leslie Spencer and Peter Brimelow, sociological researchers who have thoroughly researched the quota system, said that since immigrants can also receive quota preferences, it is “a pretty clear indication that quotas are not about righting past wrong, but about political power”. ( Merit p. 80-83) Just as socialism has collapsed around the globe, the leading capitalist power has adapted a peculiarly American form of Neosocialism putting politics and lawyers in command of its workplace albeit on the pretext of equality rather than efficiency. This problem is only becoming worse because America has the most far reaching equal employment laws found anywhere in the world. (”Counting Costs?)
Many companies are afraid of these laws, and the fear of political punishment makes quotas very hard to research. A Kmart executive told a researcher, “We’re not letting you anywhere near our program.” (Brimelow 77) Companies go beyond what is required just to avoid legal trouble. The manager of corporate employment status at Xerox, a company that uses quotas, states, “We have a process that we call ‘balanced work force’. In Xerox, everyone understands that, and it is measurable by its goals and relative numbers. That is the hard business, that is what people do not like to deal with, but we do it all the time.” (Brimelow and Spencer n. pag.) Sears, Roebuck and Co. spent fifteen years and twenty million dollars to defeat an EECO discrimination suit. Sears prevailed mainly because they were able to show proof of a voluntary quota program. Many companies cling to programs such as these as a future defense in court even if it means putting up with some unqualified or incompetent workers. (Brimelow 77)
Not only is affirmative action hurting white males, it is also causing problems among the protected classes that it is supposed to be helping. Many of these people feel that it is an insult that the government thinks they need special help to compete in the job market. Yet others would be extremely offended if this help was taken away from them. Black Police Chief Clarence Harmon was once in favor of affirmative action until he realized the affect that it has on his race. He has said that when he was going through school, he enjoyed competing and keeping up with his white counterparts, but he now realizes that many times in the police academy black students use affirmative action as a crutch. Black students have been found to score lower on tests than white students. Harmon believes that this is because they do not think that they have to work as hard which produces less qualified black officers. (Glastris 43)
Karl Marx insisted that for any sort of class consciousness to arise, there must be com-munication of a common sense of oppression, but no one can feel this sense of oppression. With the mass media rarely recognizing quotas, much less portraying white males sympathetically, Peter Lynch, a sociological researcher, states “White males have been easily and silently victimized one by one.” (qtd. in Brimelow) With neither conservatives nor liberals making affirmative action a “big deal,” a classic spiral of silence has occurred whereby people assume that their doubts are not shared and suppress them, thus mutually intimidating each other. People are left feeling that nobody will help them. Another problem with this is the male psychology that “real men don’t cry”. Many men would rather put up with the hurt than to even tell their friends and relatives. (Brimelow 76)
Most people realize that quotas do hurt people, but what most people do not realize is that quotas are illegal. The 1964 and 1991 Civil Rights Acts explicitly banned government imposed quotas, but nevertheless, they immediately spread though the economy. Even though quotas are becoming more and more popular, there is incredible denial. Some say that affirmative action, while a regulatory burden, is not massive in scale. Supporters of affirmative action insist that the 1991 Civil Rights Act did not impose quotas, although its key point was to override a Supreme Court decision and make work force racial imbalance prima facie evidence of employer discrimination. (Spencer and Brimelow. p, 85)
California Democratic Representative Don Edwards, who is a mouthpiece of the civil rights establishment, claimed on the New York Times opinion page that quotas did not exist. This was said within three weeks of Supreme Court rulings about them. As much as people deny quotas and deny widespread affirmative action, the facts remain that it is still there and still harmful. (Brimelow 76)
Another way that quotas and affirmative action are very harmful is that they are very expensive. In 1991, the direct and indirect cost of quotas, of imposing them and complying with them, amounted to between 112 and 115 billion dollars. The “opportunity cost”, which is what the economy might have achieved without the massive affect of quotas, amounted to at least 4% of the 1991 Gross National Product, an amount equal to the amount spent on public schools. (Spencer and Brimelow, p. 85) The revelation of these figures is needed to show the dangers of a politically motivated employment policy.
Affirmative action hurts everyone?white males, their wives, their families, the protected classes, and every other American citizen by hurting the economy. Affirmative action needs to be done away with, so we can return America to the great country that she once was. People once came to America to be free to work hard to become qualified for a job. Will people now come because their skin color will help them receive a job? Martin Luther King said that he would like to see the day when his children are not judged because of their color, but because of the content of their character. (Brimelow 76) Every time affirmative action is put into use, our country is taking another step away from that worthy goal.
Brimelow, Peter. “Spiral of Silence.” Forbes 25 May 1992: 76-77.
Brimelow, Peter and Spencer, Leslie. “When Quotas Replace Merit, Everybody Suffers.” Forbes. 15 February 1993: 80-89.
“Counting Costs.” Editorial. National Review 15 February 1993: 18.
Glastris, Paul. “Black and Blue.” U.S. News and World Report. 13 February 1995: 43-46.
This a paper about affirmative action, how the law hurts the white male.