From Affirmative Action Essay, Research Paper
Do white males have anything to fear from Affirmative Action?
Affirmative Action can be defined as policies used in the United States to increase opportunities for minorities by favoring them in hiring and promotion, college admissions, and the awarding of government contracts. Depending upon the situation, “minorities” might include any underrepresented group, especially one defined by race, ethnicity, or gender. This action constitutes a good faith effort by employees to address past and/or present discrimination through a variety of specific, results-oriented procedures. This is a step beyond equal opportunity laws that simply ban discriminatory practices.
There are four main types of affirmative action that an employer may use. They include:
? Aggressive recruiting to expand the pool of candidates for job openings;
? Evaluating and updating selection tools and criteria to ensure their relevance to job performance;
? Revising traditional measures of merit to more fully recognize talent and performance under varying conditions;
? Establishing goals and timetables for hiring underrepresented groups
These are not the only ways that employers use to complement the affirmative action but they are the more favorable ways to attack the problem of discrimination in the workplace.
From its beginnings in the United States in the 1960s, affirmative action has been highly controversial. Critics charge that affirmative action policies, which give preferential treatment to people based on their membership in a group, violate the principal that all individuals are equal under the law. These critics argue that it is unfair to discriminate against members of one group today to compensate for discrimination against other groups in the past. They regard affirmative action as a form of reverse discrimination that unfairly prevents whites and men from being hired and promoted.
Affirmative action is not a mechanism of discrimination, but a tool for combating discrimination. “Reverse discrimination” is illegal under existing civil rights law that protects people of all races and both genders from discrimination. Of more than 90,000 complaints of employment discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1994, less than 3% of involved allegations of reverse discrimination against white males. In a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor they found that, of more than 3,000 reported federal court cases alleging discrimination from mid-1990 to mid-1994, fewer than 100 alleged reverse discrimination. Further, only six of those 100 cases were resolved in favor of white men alleging reverse discrimination. Courts find that the vast majority of reverse discrimination cased were without merit and that several were brought by white men who appeared to be less qualified than the minorities who were hired or promoted.
The Labor Department study report also stated:
“Many of the cases were the result of a disappointed applicant… erroneously assuming that when a women or minority got the job, it was because of race or sex, not qualification.”
Millions of white males benefit directly from affirmative action and studies show that “reverse discrimination” is extremely rare. When it does occur, its legitimate victims are protected under existing civil rights laws and may seek justification through government agencies or the courts.