Essay, Research Paper
We have seen in the United States that there have been many groups who have been in one way or form discriminated against. The very people who framed the Constitution of the United States are the same people who wrote the laws that discriminate against large segments of the population. The majority of these individuals were white males who literally held the power. This created a cultural dynamic of white superiority. A patriarchal society became the norm which existed for decades. An example of this is evidenced within the following scenario: if a woman did something wrong it was a direct reflection on her husband and he was legally able to punish her for it. The
constitution in theory presents equality for all but in practice it is privilege and equality for the few. This contradicts what we are tought in school concerning our revolution being are pulsion against being subjugated by the British Empire. We earned independence and freedom as a nation only to have the bounty grabbed and held by a select elite. This is and has been our social reality over the past two-hundred and twenty years.
Affirmative action is intended to be a direct response to the above described social inequity. Affirmative action is supposed to create equal opportunity for oppressed people. Equal opportunity is the intended outcome of affirmative action: Legislative policies are the objectives utilized to reach this goal. Affirmative action consists specifically of five major aspects: open search, punitive, minority compensation, backward compensation, forward preferential (Satris, 1999, 307). The above description
lays out what affirmative action is conceptually supposed to do. Does affirmative action accomplish the task of creating opportunity for those historically discriminated against; my view is that it does not help out oppressed people. What affirmative action does is hinder the advancement of minority groups.
First we can look at affirmative action policies. In the 1960 s virtually all the departments of nursing, medical, Pharmacy, and dentistry were white. With the exception of the school of nursing, they were mostly all males (In Motion 1999,). From the early 1960 s till today many professions have been dominated by males, especially white males. Affirmative action policies would help to introduce new groups of people into professions dominated by males. With the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, some administrators made a commitment to integrate our public universities. They adopted a gradual, modest means to achieve a color blind society — Affirmative action (in motion
1999). However, some resisted affirmative action; Many of those who opposed the Civil Rights Act before it passed became opponents of affirmative action, the very means by which integration could be achieved in the 70 s(In motion, 1999). This was the beginning of many years of social policies which are aimed at helping out disadvantaged groups.
At a recent anti-affirmative action press conference, Governor Wilson of California said Everybody should play by the same rules. California should return to a public system based on merit, not preference (NY Times, 2000). So again we see that there are many people striking down the idea that groups who have been disadvantaged in the past should be boosted by legislative policies. We see this especially in the court case Bakke Vs The University of California At Regent. The Supreme Court held that a white applicant to the university medical school has been unconstitutionally rejected because of
preference given to minority students(Murphy). The case was one in a five to four victory:
it also held that numerical quotas for admissions of minorities to a medical school was
unconstitutional as an explicit racial classification, but the use of race as one of many criteria is more than constitutionally acceptable( Murphy1998, 128-129). The idea of giving anyone an advantage in society seems to contradict the basis of what this country stands for: individual and equal opportunity through personal talent and initiative.
The very phrase “reverse racism” contains the argument in exactly the form to which many have objected: in this country whites once set themselves apart from blacks and claimed privileges for themselves while denying them to others(in-motion1999). Now, on the basis of race, some feel that blacks are claiming special status and reserving for themselves privileges that have been denied to them in the past. To make that distinction is to twist history and forget the terrible plight of African-Americans in more than two hundred years of this country’s existence (In- motion1999). Affirmative action gives preferential treatment to disadvantaged minorities as part of a plan to achieve social equality this is no different from the policies that created the disadvantages in the first place this is a travesty of reasoning (Bonsignore, 1998 21-23).Furthermore it s not only forgetting the past. It s forgetting the present that the past has created. Without affirmative action, nothing would counteract the powerful whites only doors that still exist today. What we would really be doing is rewinding to the past,
because in thought we will have returned to it.
The continuing high levels of discriminatory segregation in the nation’s workplaces indicate that the task of improving access for women and minorities to all jobs for which they are qualified has by no means been accomplished. But why has affirmative action, which has aroused so much resentment on the part of white men, not done more to mitigate the effects of white male privilege (Bergman, 2000)? Is it true that affirmative action has not worked? To gauge the effectiveness of affirmative action would be a difficult task. We have to be realistic; there are many jobs and careers which are geared to certain groups. For instance we can look at an oil company like Exxon. There are many jobs in the Exxon corporation, from pipe drillers ,to rig hawlers ,to freighter captains, to administrative duties. So for a company some duties are difficult even impossible for women to physiologically handle. On the other side of the fence in the administrative duties there is a larger percentage of females doing those jobs. In a perfect world society would look at in general the amount of workers in a job area.
Many white people are angry about affirmative action, so opposition to a
company’s affirmative action plan can be expected. Some of that opposition may come from the most valued and experienced employees, who are likely to be older white males(Bergman 2000). As a result, many firms are not going to make the effort that a successful affirmative action needs to be effective.. Failure happens unless top executives are devoted to expanding opportunities for women and minorities or they are given a vigorous push by government (Bergman 2000). The idea of bringing the government into the process is good on the outside, but in practicality it isn t such a good idea. I believe America is a country where people like to do what they want. In my opinion the only way to ever gain
equality between any group, race, gender, class, religion, is to teach it at home. Teach your children to respect everyone no matter what they look like. Teaching values at home is going to be the only way ever to achieve social equity. As it is illogical to mandate change for entire social groups. Individual initiative and responsibility is the core of opening doorways of opportunity.
The idea of affirmative action presents not only a political question but it places its very existence on moral views. Morally speaking nobody is better than one another but yet people feel there is a moral obligation to help out people that have been discriminated against in the past and this is insulting.
We will look at the four area s of moral thought and use them to help gauge the morality of affirmative action. The first moral approach used is Deontology,which means that The act is good or bad according to our duty, rather than it is morally good. So we first have to think: do we have a duty to help out people who have been given less opportunities. Many people use the will of God to help them to determine if they have a duty to act. For example certain religions would turn to their holy scriptures like the bible or the Koran to gain a knowledge of what was morally right. Some of these religions believe the inferiority of certain peoples.. The catholic religion didn t allow
women to be leaders of their faith, so how can we say that the bible, which leads their religion promotes a higher class in men. Affirmative action presents a interesting look into religious thought, and more moral thought derived from religion.
The idea of Natural Law is one of the moral ideas I feel would best help in determining if affirmative action is a good recourse. The idea of natural law states that there is built within nature certain laws in which nature mandates one to act.Discrimination according to this is wrong, but the way we go about fixing it may be read differently. For the first 200 years of our countries existence we felt that white males were the superior beings. Nature points out with little deviance that we have to treat people equal and that there is no one group of people better than the other. What affirmative
action does is give disadvantaged groups the opportunity to be on the same level as that of white males. The moral problem presented is that is it right to hold certain people to a higher standard and give preferential treatment to those whom haven t had it in the past? I understand that certain groups have received high levels of discrimination in the past, but it is right to give them preferential treatment now? Wouldn t that cause problems, or worse make people hate those who receive the new privileges?
The idea of finding a moral solution for acts of discrimination present or past is almost impossible. On one side we do have to compensate those who have been persecuted, but we have on the other hand the idea that if we keep giving preferential treatment; nobody will ever be on the same level. Morally speaking giving anyone preferential treatment in my opinion is wrong. What i feel is right is the use of affirmative action as a temporary means for correcting social inequality. Instead of saying lets give preferential treatment to those who have been hurt, lets use it to help those today who arrant able to move up in life. My opinion of affirmative action is that people are getting
the wrong idea as to the use of affirmative action programs. My idea of affirmative action would be to help everyone, no matter race, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion, or socio-economic status. Let this policy help all those who want to do better achieve their dream.
In order to stop the spread of racism and make living in this country fair we have to understand first of all that people are different. Whether it be gender, age,race, religion, or sexual orientation we all have different abilities and cultural aspects to our lives. More-so we have to work as a country as a united group which sets us apart from other nations. The solution to the problem of racism and sexism in the United States is going to be a difficult task to accomplish.
Nathan Hale once said I regret that I have but one life to live for my country . Whatever happened to that attitude in this country? The American revolution was a fight for freedom. Today many people are fighting to be accepted. The statue of Liberty has sketched on it the saying Give Us Your poor, tired, huddle masses yearning to be free . Are we free, or are some of us free? Whatever happened to the attitude of this country? Instead of fighting amongst one another I suggest that we work hand in hand with each other to make this country a nation we are all proud to live in and call THE LAND OF THE FREE , and liberty and justice for all. Regardless of race,creed, sex, sexual orientation, disability or economic status.