Affirmative Action Should Be Eliminated

  • Category: Business
  • Words: 1877
  • Grade: 90
Affirmative Action should be Eliminated

Society has come along way since the days of males playing the role of breadwinners, women as housewives, and blacks being shunned out of society. The road to knock down the barriers between men and women, minorities and "whites" has been slow and difficult, but successful. Most people believe that the cause of this success was due to affirmative action, which is a policy to encourage equal opportunity and to level the playing field of groups of people who have been and are discriminated against. The roots of affirmative action lie in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the United States and were adopted by Canada in the mid seventies. It was with the approval of the Human Rights Act of 1978 that affirmative action gained legitimacy and openness. It is true that affirmative action played a critical role in opening doors to many people who were wrongfully overlooked, however, a point has been reached in our society where this policy is no longer necessary. In actual fact, this policy was meant to be temporary; it was meant to develop equal opportunity for individuals and was expected to expire when society became unaffected by prejudice and discrimination. The very policy that was designed to end discrimination and promote equal opportunity is actually causing more harm than good. Affirmative action not only harms people with merit but also the very individual it was intended to help, hence it should be eliminated. This essay will discuss the reasons for ending affirmative action, which is due to reverse discrimination; negative affects on women and minorities, and employment and education opportunities.
        Discrimination is defined as unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice. Affirmative action, as noted earlier, is a policy designed to improve the opportunities women and minorities' in the workplace and education; in other words, discriminating against members of a dominant or majority group such as white males. This is referred to as reverse discrimination. Affirmative action is an attempt to replace discrimination against women and minorities with discrimination against white males. Affirmative action policies create quotas by requiring that minorities or women fill a certain number of job positions. These quotas force employers to hire a set number of minorities and women, therefore discriminating against qualified white males. White male applicants who are qualified to receive a job are often turned down for under-qualified minorities because of these quotas. By turning down a white male with superior qualifications in favour of a minority erodes the idea that anyone who works hard and plays by the rules has an equal chance to achieve his or her goals.4 Under the law, white males are now second-class citizens. Any negative stereotyping of any group would result in civil rights lawsuits; however, the civil rights law no longer protects white men. It was in 1978 when affirmative action was first challenged in court. Allen Bakke was twice denied admission to a California medical school despite better grades and test scores than minority applicants who were successfully admitted. Once he learned that the school reserved sixteen out of one hundred places for disadvantaged members of minorities, Bakke challenged the university's racially biased admission policy in court and set off a major controversy over affirmative action. He argued that he was a victim of reverse discrimination. Four justices confirmed that Bakke had been the victim of reverse discrimination, but four others agreed that the school's affirmative action plan was a logical application of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Supreme Court was torn, nevertheless they finally came to a solution. Justice Lewis Powell sided with both viewpoints, which resulted in Bakke's admissions to the school stating that the school's use of quotas were unlawful. The Supreme Court Justices ruled:
The special admissions program is undeniably a classification based on race and ethnic background"¦ Whether this limitation is descried as a quota or a goal, it is a line drawn on the basis of race and ethnic status.

The court was basically stating that schools are allowed to give some extra preferences and thoughts to minority applicants, but could not set aside spaces for minority students that excluded whites. This is an example of how affirmative action policies discriminate against white males with excellent qualifications. Affirmative action is unfair and therefore should be eliminated.
        Despite the claims of affirmative action opening doors of opportunities for women and minorities, the emotional distress that affects them are quite acute.
Affirmative action cast doubts upon minority groups by creating the perception that their positions were given to them rather than earned, it initiates the idea that they are unable to compete successfully if held to the same standards as everyone else. This type of perception can be quite damaging to both the highly competent and unqualified minority person. Competent individuals may never know whether their social position was achieved because of their own merit or the kindness of others. Even if they appreciate his/her own abilities, his/her peers may not; the opinions others have is an important determinant of an individual's self-image and well being, thus it can be quite harmful for competent minority group members to have peers who do not fully appreciate their abilities. In the case of the unqualified minority, affirmative action will serve as a self-deception. Individuals will be encouraged to accept new positions for which they may not be qualified and when they are authorized to occupy such difficult positions, some will inevitably perform the job incompetently. Furthermore, when others discover such self-deception; the damage to their emotional being can be substantial. Affirmative action tries to rectify the injustices of the past that include slavery and the refusal to grant women and minorities the right to vote. But affirmative action can neither erase the oppression of the past nor fix all wrongs in the future. Racial preferences are simply another form of racism, based on the assumption that blacks and other disadvantaged groups are intellectually inferior to white and therefore incompetent to succeed. Such policies have given rise to the "best black" syndrome, which is the granting of special attention to a black individual of above average abilities only because he/she represents a deviation from racist sterotypes. Transferring these achievers to the ranks of the "best" within a minority group exclude them from being viewed as the best of the best drawn from the entire population. Supporters of certain forms of affirmative action reinforce the demeaning stereotyping of black people as being unable to compete with white people. An example of this reinforcement, is that, employers are encouraged to divide up test scores into piles, one for the whites, the other for the minorities and from these piles, hire the highest scoring whites and from the other pile, the highest scoring minorities. Furthermore, this stereotyping is reinforced every time affirmative action demand that universities commit to hiring some pre-set number of minority faculty members. Hence, minorities are capable of getting the best jobs and being just as successful as any white male, but problems occur when the public views these people as under qualified individuals because of affirmative action, the attitude "you couldn't do it on your own", towards these minorities, can have a lasting, destructive effect on women and minorities. The human desire to be known for individual accomplishment explains why some minorities refuse to participate in any affirmative action programs.
         Affirmative action has replaced individual rights with group rights and the concepts of equal opportunity with demands for equal outcomes have been replaced with quotas in the workplace and education. Affirmative action policies have damaged the principle of admitting students to universities/colleges, and hiring and promoting employees on the basis of merit rather than politics. What exactly are quotas? Some people think quotas are numerical requirements, specific and measurable objectives for employers and schools in hiring or admitting acceptable levels of minorities and women. According to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, quota is defined as a proportional part or share; specifically: the share or proportion assigned to each division or to each member of a body. In an effort of trying to fulfill the numerical goal, quotas tend to override all other factors, qualifications in particular, in the final stages of the selection process. Employers are often forced to find the best minority, rather than the person most qualified for the job. For example, a policy was adopted by Duke University in 1993 that required each department at the university to hire at least one new African-American for a faculty position. However, various surveys and studies show that less than 4000 blacks receive Ph.D.s in the U.S. This is less than two black Ph.D.s for every American college or university. Therefore, Duke University's policy would force them to hire faculty members that were not as qualified, due to a shortage of black Ph.D.s. In the case of a business, the hiring of unqualified employees is harmful to the business' production. The primary purpose of a business is to make money for both the employer and the employees, however it is quite difficult to do so when employees cannot perform their specific tasks, which leads to errors and consequently, cost the company time and money. Often when a business' quota is not filled, it is forced to create unnecessary jobs for minorities, which increases the company's expense and decreases its profit. Even when white employers hire a number of minorities, they can still face damaging lawsuits if they have not followed all of the strict quota guidelines. As schools strive to meet mandated quotas, all academic standards are eroded. Schools must lower their standards so that minorities are able to achieve the required entrance criteria. Students with high academics no longer have the incentive to achieve high standards knowing that average would be enough to get in. As for minority students, they too do not have the incentive to try to attain a high education knowing that affirmative action would help them obtain a seat in a university classroom. These quotas give minorities the assumption that they do not have to work as hard as others to obtain the same position, by creating this impression it causes minorities to not try as hard. The result of this is low performance and productivity due to not only unqualified skills but also the lack of spirit and pride in their jobs.
        Two wrongs do not make a right. Affirmative action is not the best way to solve discrimination. Yes, it had served part of its purpose by diversifying the workforce and opening opportunities for women and minorities, but along the way it has also been creating more problems. Not only are women and minorities being harmed but also white males and businesses and schools. How can a policy that harms the innocent in so many ways be a good thing? Affirmative action has served its purpose; it is time to end the policy before it makes the situation even worse. "Ending affirmative action will create circumstances in which individuals will shine and, just as importantly, be seen to shine, quite on their own merit".

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