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Affirmative Action Essay Research Paper Affirmative ActionAfter

Affirmative Action Essay, Research Paper Affirmative Action After the United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, it became apparent that certain business traditions, such as seniority status and

Affirmative Action Essay, Research Paper

Affirmative Action

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).? With the signing of that order, and without

knowing it, President Johnson created reverse discrimination.

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, the country was in the wake of nationwide civil-

rights demonstrations, and racial tension was at an all time high. Most of the

corporate executive and managerial positions were occupied by White Males, who

controlled the hiring and firing of employees. 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.

This action, that started with good intentions, would later lead to a different

and more complex form of discrimination.

When the Civil Rights Law passed, Minorities, especially African-

Americans, believed that they should receive retribution for the earlier years

of discrimination they endured. The government responded by passing laws to

aide 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 people the passing of these laws was an effort in the right direction.

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 and other

Minorities were submitted to? I am not so sure.

It is true that past generations of White Men are partly responsible

for the suppression of the African-American race. However, the modern White

Male is not responsible for the past. It is just as unfair and suppressive to

hold 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, in it’s current function seems to accept and condone the

idea of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Do two wrongs really make a

right? Definitely not, in my opinion. If Affirmative Action accomplished

strictly what it was set out to do, that would be fine, but all it seems to be

doing is turning around the tables, instead of alleviating the problem at hand.

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. My experience with Minorities has led me to believe that

they fought to attain equality, not special treatment. To them, the acceptance

of special treatment might be 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. In

my Idealistic world neither Black, White, Mexican, Asian, Woman or Man should

need nothing, except their skills.

In a statement released in 1981 by the United States Commission on

Civil Rights, Jack P. Hartog, who directed the Affirmative Action Project, said:

“Only if discrimination were nothing more than the misguided acts of a few

prejudiced individuals, would Affirmative Actions plans be ?reverse

discrimination.? If today’s society were operating fairly toward Minorities and

Women, would measures that take race, sex, and national origin into account be ?

preferential treatment?? Only if discrimination were securely placed in a well-

distant past, would Affirmative Action be an unneeded and drastic remedy”. What

the commission failed to realize was that there are hundreds of 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 (Nebraska Advisory Committee 40). 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 (Nebraska Advisory

Committee 27). You ask, ?What did these individuals do to bring about their

termination?? The only crime that they were guilty of was being White.

The injustice toward the White Male does not 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 African-American Male 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 African-American or White or any other race. Why would

a business man intentionally cause his business to lose money by hiring a poorly

qualified worker? Most businesses would not. 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 in todays society. It forces an

employer, who needs to meet a quota established by the government, to hire a

Minority, no matter who is more qualified.

Another way that Affirmative Action deducts from a company’s profits is

by forcing them to create jobs for Minorities. This occurs when a company does

not meet its quota with existing employees and has to find places to put

minorities. These jobs are often unnecessary, and force a company to pay for

workers that they do not need.

Affirmative Action is not 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

American students were accepted due to non-academic influences than White

students. It seems hard to believe that Affirmative Action wasn’t one of

outside influence.

Another interesting fact included in the 1995 report said that the

average grade point average for a rejected White student was 3.66 with an

average SAT score of 1142. The average grade point average for an accepted

African American student was 3.66 with a 1030 average SAT score. These stunning

facts shows just how many competent, if not gifted students fall between the

cracks as a direct result of Affirmative Action.

If it has been unclear up to this point I would like to make it clear.

My problem is strictly with Affirmative Action. If the true goal is to end

discrimination and suppression of people as a whole, then the way Affirmative

Action is currently being implemented needs to change. At present it only seems

to be giving some an easy way out and others a firewall that can be difficult to

get through. I don’t think that is healthy for either party involved.

Affirmative Action has truly become a form of reverse discrimination. I really

believe that there are other ways to conquer these problems. Society needs to

work towards broad based economic policies like public investment, national

health reform, an enlarged income tax credit, child support assurance, and other

policies benefiting families with young children. Widely supported programs

that promote the interests of both lower and middle class Americans that deliver

benefits to Minorities and Whites on the basis of their economic status, and not

their race or ethnicity, will do more to reduce Minority poverty than the

current, narrowly based, poorly supported policies that single out Minority

groups. However, if this, or another remedy is not taken sometime in the near

future, and Affirmative Action continues to separate Minority groups from Whites,

we can be sure to see racial tension reach points that our history has never

seen.

Works Cited

?Affirmative Action at the University of California at Berkeley? Online.

http://pwa.acusd.edu/~e_cook/ucb-95.html

?Civil Rights? Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia. (1996).

[Computer Program] SoftKey Multimedia International Corporation.

United States. Commission on Civil Rights. Affirmative Action in the 1980’s:

Dismantling the Process of Discrimination. Washington: 1981.

United States. Nebraska Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on

Civil Rights. Private Sector Affirmative Action: Omaha. Washington: 1979.

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