States Essay, Research Paper
Imagine you are applying for admission to University of Maryland. You have a 3.5 or 3.7 GPA, honors courses, AP classes. 1300, 1400 on the SATs and have a list of after school activities like all state band and Student council. You don t get in. But, an African American with a 1100, 3.0 GPA, and a few minor activities was accepted. Why was he chosen instead of you? Simple. Affirmative Action.
Affirmative action an attempt to create equality throughout society. The goal is that each person receives equal opportunities in the classroom as well as the work force. Not only would these oppurtunities apply to minorities but to women as well. All school admissions and all hiring for jobs would be equal and unprejudiced, or so the advocates say. The reality is that adopting affirmative action would force many employers to replace hard working employees with those of less qualification and experience because of their gender or ethnicity.
Many people feel that affirmative action would be very beneficial to our society. They do have many good arguments. Some claim that we owe blacks for what we took from them in the past. We set them back in our economic system during the 18th and 19th century, and affirmative action would be our way of reimbursing them for time and opportunities they lost out on. But where should the line be drawn? How much do we do to repay people? In this case blacks, for our wrongs? Is it not enough to give them equal rights, or will we give them extra opportunities to make up for those we took away? It has been argued that the black area in the US, in general, is lower in class due to their environment prior to the Civil War, but the black people of today are not those who lived then. Each person today, no matter their gender, origin, race, belief, or whatever difference, has the same opportunities as everyone else. The blacks do not need any special favors, neither do women, Indians, Mexicans, or anyone else.
Advocates of affirmative action attempt to show that diversity in the work force
has brought with it improved skills and new insights. I agree that diversity could encourage the majority to learn more about minorities by forcing them to work side by side. On the other hand, it could also create tension due to the fact that the minorities may replace those who have held a particular job for a long period of time. There would be a feeling of loyalty among those previously employed, and it would only be natural for them to become bitter and regret the minority worker who took the already filled position simply due to their race or gender.
Instead of creating a more unified society, as some would suggest, it is more likely that affirmative action could create more divisions among employees and people in general.
Statistics have shown that affirmative action has found jobs for a larger number
of minorities and women. In 1995, sixty percent of the work force was made up of
minorities and women. That was an increase from the 1979 estimate of forty percent.
In the same way, women s wages increased 119 percent from 1979 to1982. There still remains the question: how much longer should we attempt to right our wrongs? If minorities make up sixty percent of today s work force, will we keep going until it becomes eighty percent, or ninety? Most likely not. It appears that affirmative action has fulfilled its purpose and has now outlasted its usefulness and should be destroyed. Finding jobs for minorities and women was a step in the right direction, but affirmative action was a poor way to do it. Even the Supreme Court, on July 12, 1995, criticized affirmative action saying it was not morally justifiable and could amount to unconstitutional reverse discrimination and harm for those it was seeking to advance.
We spend so much time trying to find equality and unity between whites and those
people of other colors. What about minorities among whites? Should the Irish-Americans
receive the benefits from affirmative action if they are a minority to other Americans?
Basing whether a person receives a job on their race seems a lot like discrimination. It is also discrimination to take jobs and opportunities from white males, who happen to be the majority. It is referred to as reverse discrimination, and while followers of affirmative action say it does not exist, it obviously does. To give a percentage of jobs to the minority, the majority will have to give a percentage of their jobs up. It is generally accepted that discrimination is wrong, and that should include biases against the majority. Not just the minorities.
Not only does affirmative action have a negative effect of ruining social equality in
our country, but also it also changes our economic status. By replacing well-qualified
employees, who happen to be the majority, with minorities who may be less qualified is clearly not good for business. Those in favor claim that affirmative action would increase competition, therefore raising the level of skill among employees. In opposition of that claim, will the majority compete even while knowing they do not have a very good chance at reaching the goal? Psychologists use a term called helplessness. Norton s Book on Psychology by Miriam Elson says, that if a person is not rewarded for their work, he will eventually learn that doing above average work is not getting him any farther than doing average work, so he will lower his level of skill. He will quit trying as hard because he will know he do not need or achieve these higher levels of skill. If the minority worker gets a job with lesser skills, why cant the majority? If everyone could do his or her best all the time, it would be a different story, but unfortunately, that is not true in the world today. Affirmative action has done some good to improve racial integration in jobs and schools. This is obvious through the fact that it has been implemented and followed in the past. Though it has proved successful in doing the job it was created to do, affirmative action has unfortunately had side effects as well. Minorities and women hold a higher percentage of jobs than in the past, but white men have lost jobs, white students have been denied entrance to schools, people have developed biases, our society and economy as a whole have declined. On the surface affirmative action sounds and looks good. How could giving people an opportunity to work and learn to get along be a bad idea? After looking deeper into this concept, it is clear that its benefits are clearly not worth the costs to society.
But what can you do to stop affirmative action now? Write letters, sign petitions, let politicians know that you don t like affirmative action. Discrimination is unconstitutional, whether or not it is affecting African Americans, Indians, or Whites and that is what is happening to the US today.