Affirmative Action

.. or right, is really a deceptive attempt to constitutionalize gender discrimination and slam shut the doors of opportunity that both women and people of color have fought so hard to open. It places a hurdle to minorities and women that is not placed to others who seek legislation to benefit them. he elimination of affirmative action programs for women and minorities run by the state or local governments in the areas of public employment, contracting, and education that give “preferential treatment” on the basis of sex, race, color, ethnicity, or national origin would have a devastating affect on the minorities in the society but at the same time we need to keep in mind that the common person is also existing in this society to be successful and not to be denied what he/she deserves just because there were injustices done to the minorities and these injustices should be reversed. As for a review of surveys and polls regarding affirmative action, Charlotte Steeh and Maria Krysan have reviewed the major polls and surveys conducted by major organizations over the past 25 years.

Among the polls and surveys they looked at the following: ABC News/Washington Post surveys Associated Press/Media General surveys CBS News/New York Times surveys Detroit Area Study The Gallup Poll General Social Survey Harris and Associates surveys Los Angeles Times surveys NBC News/ Wall Street Journal surveys National Election Studies Princeton Survey Research Associates surveys Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press surveys One of their discoveries is that there were very few systematic attempts to survey public attitudes about affirmative action in the first twenty years of affirmative action. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s that there were systematic attempts to identify trends in public opinion concerning affirmative action. Despite this lack of replicated data, the authors were able to come to some conclusions. 1. Public opinion towards affirmative action is fluid.

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The deciding factor in whether people support affirmative action programs or not depends upon the wording of survey questions. If a question is worded to emphasize the preference or quota aspect of affirmative action, then people will tend not to support these types of programs. Also, questions that are worded so that they tap into the individualistic aspect of what the authors call the “American creed” tend to be result in lower support for affirmative action. 2. There is a large difference between the levels of support for affirmative action programs between blacks and whites.

Black support for preferences and economic aid exceeds 40 percent in all of the surveys and polls studied. White support for these same types of affirmative action, however, generally is below 20 percent. It should be noted, however, that black support for economic assistance for blacks and other minorities dropped from about 80 percent at the start of the 1970s to about 40 percent at the start of the 1980s. 3. More people believe that reverse discrimination occurs than actually is reported.

Between 64 and 80 percent of people believe that reverse discrimination occurs at least occasionally. This is contrasted to roughly 5 to 20 percent of whites who reported that they themselves or someone in their families had been denied a job or promotion (27). Looking at these surveys in more detail, Alpern noted that women were divided on the issue of affirmative action. Only 49 percent of women polled thought that a policy that ensures equal opportunities for women should be continued. Forty-one percent thought that this kind of policy should be discontinued. Nonwhite women, however, tended to support affirmative action policies. Roughly 75 percent of nonwhite women favored a policy to ensure equal opportunities for both women and blacks.

On the other hand, Alpern noted that very few women believed that they themselves had benefited from affirmative action policies. The Hart-Teeter poll showed that only 9 percent of all women and 11 percent of working women responded that they had themselves benefited from such programs. In a Newsweek poll conducted by the Princeton Survey Research Associates in March of 1995, 27 percent of women thought that their gender had been helped “a lot” by affirmative action programs (68). Contrary to previous findings, however, roughly half of respondents in the Hart-Teeter poll were against requiring employers to seek out qualified minority and female applicants for jobs. Once again, however, the word “required” may have affected respondents’ affitudes towards compensatory type of affirmative action programs. In summary, the results of surveys and polls regarding approval of affirmative action programs differ dependingpn how survey questions are worded and also the race, gender, and political orientaion of respondents. After my examination of the history of Affirmative Action and the various court cases and surveys, I found Out that equality of oppurtunity has become a basic economic ideal for United States.

Americans appear in general agreement that merit should be the only criterion for advancement in life. Yet it is also widely ackhowledged that women and blacks and also members of various other racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in this country are seriously handicapped by their sex or origin rather than merely by any lack of ability when they seek career advancement. It’s here that affirmative action comes into the scenario. Instead of providing a path for these minorities and women to get on a level plane with the other so called “preferred” people these types of programs actually drift them even further apart. Some women and members of minority may feel insulted by this preferential treatment or may always find themselves in a position to prove their worth.

On the other hand, the deprived people may increase their prejudice against them to a further degree because they feel that they lost out, not to a better suited person, but to a privileged unworthy person. Therefore plans like these must be done away with because they defeat their very purpose, as they appear to be just as racist and sexist as the injustices they are designed to remedy. It’s just another name for discrimination or even reverse discrimination. Discrimination for a “good” reason is just as terrible as discrimination for a “bad” reason. Affirmative action denies women and minorities the right to compete as equals; indeed it actually assumes that they cannot compete as equals, which is I am sure not its purpose.

When countering the statement that this kind discrimination is necessary to make up for past it justices, I can all but simply defend my belief by appropriately saying that “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. Or, as the wise saying goes, “You can’t use alcohol to treat alcoholism.” Bibliography Kreitner, Robert, Kinicki, Angelo. Organizational Behavior New York: Bryant and Dillon published, 1998 Lehman, Nicholas. “Affirmative Action.” NEW York Times 18 June.1995: 40-42,84 Steeh, Charlotte. Krysan, Maria. “Review of Surveys and Polls” Poll Trends, 1970-1995 1996 Wilson, James Q. “An Affirmative Action?.” The New Republic winter.

1996: 102 Woods, Geraldine. Affirmative Action. New York, London, Sydney : Franklin Watts, 1989. Steeh, Charlotte. Krysan, Maria. “Review of Surveys and Polls” Poll Trends, 1970-1995 1996 Argument in Favour of Proposition 209 , “Why are we opposed to Proposition 209?”. FAQs about California votes no on 209 Feburary 18, 2000.

Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action ? The Right Approach?
In the beginning, it seemed simple enough. In 1961, John F. Kennedy, then president of the United States of America, established the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity by executive order. The goal was to curb discrimination by the government and its contractors, who were now required to ?not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin. The Contractor will take affirmative action, to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.? Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 expanded this idea of affirmative action by declaring that ?No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.?
An ideal was established. A vision of people with all kinds of backgrounds taking advantage of equal opportunities and reaching comparable goals in their lives arose. But it soon became apparent that, in order to be able to compete, these people would need the same tools, the same educational background, indeed, the same abilities. The next U.S. president, Lyndon B. Johnson, said it best in his 1965 commencement address at Howard University: ?You do not take a person who for years has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, ?You’re free to compete with all the others,? and still justly believe that you have been completely fair. Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates??
That is a very convincing argument, and affirmative action as we know it today has become the answer to it, giving a certain degree of preferential treatment to perceived minorities and disadvantaged groups ? the very same preferential treatment that was originally sought to be entirely abolished. The ongoing debate about affirmative action nowadays largely centers on this one issue of seemingly contradicting goals and interpretations of the law. Certainly, we do not see preferential treatment of the white, middle-class man ? a perceived majority of Americans ? over other, less represented groups, unless an employer or educational institution is willfully engaging in unfair, if not criminal, conduct. But which factors does one have to consider, and how does one have to weigh them, in order to determine who today?s minorities really are, how ?under-accepted? they are and to what degree they should be given preferential treatment before the scale tips?
We try to give groups of people that are inherently different (in regard to their culture, personal backgrounds, life experiences, physical and mental abilities, etc.) the same education, the same professional tools and the same opportunities. This approach may be flawed. For reasons that I will further explain, I believe we need to ?go back to the roots? and adopt the initial idea behind affirmative action, which is fair and equal treatment for all. In fact, one way to make affirmative action ultimately succeed may be through better acknowledgement and support of multiculturalism. In America, many different cultures and subcultures exist side by side because everyone is welcome to live and work here, practice their beliefs and voice their opinions ? all within the limits of the law and of mutual respect, of course. In her essay, ?Multiculturalism in Education,? Jennifer Hochschild of Princeton University says: ?Public education, at least through high school, has traditionally been ? the main route for assimilation of newcomers to the American political, economic, and social ?mainstream?. At the same time, the public education system is under pressure from a growing immigrant population, an increasingly isolated group of poor students of color, and increasing challenges to the idea of assimilation into the mainstream.?
As stated before, affirmative action currently seeks to level the playing field for everyone regardless of their origin by ?boosting? minorities. Can we say assimilation here? It seems we need to recognize the fact that there are multiple playing fields, and support each one of them ? in other words, support minorities based on their unique backgrounds and abilities, rather than align them with the rest of the nation. This may require radical changes throughout American society with respect to the opinions it holds of various professions and career and educational goals. A person can be anything he or she wants ? a sales representative, a lawyer, a professional basketball player, a factory worker, a dental assistant, a musician, actor, make-up artist, repair technician, theologian, florist, horse breeder, Formula One driver ? the list is virtually endless. My point is that anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex or religion, can find something he or she is good at (and likes to do), and pursue it. Affirmative action in its simplest form ? equal treatment ? can only support that. But my point is also that anyone pursuing their goals, furthering their abilities, and living a productive life makes a positive impact on others and on all of society in general. If a young black male has considerable talent as a basketball player, by all means he should pursue it and build a career for himself. In the context of current affirmative action policies, he might have been given numerous advantages and chances on the way to becoming, say, a lawyer (like many whites), but it might not have been the right stuff for him after all. Is he therefore an individual of lesser worth? Did we fail him? Hardly. But society is still conditioned to look at an individual?s academic achievements rather than his or her personality and true skills. A given group of people of the same race, origin, religion and background may be a minority when compared to American ?mainstream? culture, but very much a majority in its own right. To summarize my beliefs, affirmative action is not well implemented at this time because its underlying social ideas and trends are in need of some fundamental changes ? away from assimilation into a unified American culture and more towards recognition, acceptance and support of the unique attributes, talents and even shortcomings of particular groups and the individuals that are part of these groups. We absolutely need to continue providing equal opportunities to all, but we also need to support whatever course minority groups and individuals decide to take and meet that decision with equal approval and acceptance in a truly multicultural society.


Social Issues

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Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action
Affirmative action was orginally designed to help minorities, but women-especially white
women-have made the greatest gains as a result of these programs(Gross, 1996). Affirmative action is a
growing argument among our society. It is multifaceted and very often defined vaguely. Many people
define affirmative action as the ability to strive for equality and inclusiveness. Others might see it
as a quote-based system for different minority groups. I agree and support affirmative actions in that
individuals should be treated equally. I feel affirmative action as an assurance that the best
qualified person will receive the job.

Is affirmative action fair? In 1974, a woman named Rose was truned down for a supervisory job in
favor of a male. She was told that she was the most qualified person, but the position was going to be
filled by a man, because he had a family to support. Five years before that, when Rose was about to fill
an entry-level position in banking, a personnel officer outlined the womans pay scale, which was $25 to
$50 month less than what men were being payed for the same position. Rose was furious because she felt
this was descriminating to her. She confronted the personnel officer and he saw nothing wrong with it.

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Thanks to affirmative action today things like these situations are becoming more rare and/or corrected
more quickly. Affirmative action has definately helped women and minorities in their careers, but it has
yet to succed in the goal of equality to the fullest for the business world to woment and minorities.

Some observers argue that women have made huge strides!
with the help of affirmative action. They now hold 40 percent of all corporate middle-management jobs,
and the number of women-owned businesses has grown by 57 percent since 1982(Blackwood, 1995).

Affirmative action was desinged to give qualified minorities a chance to compete on equal
footing with Whites (Chappell, 1995). Equal opportunities for the blacks, for the most part, has
remained more wishful-thinking than fact. Black students are continuing to struggle to seek an
education, black business owners are still competing against their White counterparts, and black workers
are experienceing an unemployment rate twice that of Whites and hold dead-end, labor-intensive,
low-paying jobs. Few can argue that racism is still rampant in awarding craontcts, jobs, and
educational opportunities, eventhough its been proven benefical to have people of different races with
different ideas and different experiences working toward the same goal (Chappell, 1995).

The employment outlook for minorities is grim, but not hopeless. We definaltely need affirmative
action to overcome the disparities of employment that exist int his country. A recent Urban Benchmarks
study found that of 71 metro areas surveyed nationwide, Pittsburgh had the highest rate of
employment-related problems among non-Hispanic whites between the ages of 25 and 54 and the sixth highest
rate among African Americans in the same age group. We have a lot of problems with basic education here
and if you dont have basic education, you have no chance of getting a good job because competition is
increasing for everyone. We must make sure that we educate our potential work force, including
minorities, or our competitive edge, if we have one, will continue to decline in golbal markets. Many
jobs today are in the technician and technologist area. Jobs require more than a high-school
diploma,but less than a four-year degree–such as an associate degree or certificate fro!
m a vocational or trade school (Kovatch, 1996). As more and more women faced discrimination in large
firms, more decided to strike out on their own.
In conclusion, most Americans know that the deck is stacked against poor kids. They also realize
that, because of past discrimination, an extraordinary number of those facing unequal opportunities are
black. So, while 75 percent of Americans oppose racial preferences, according to a 1995 Washington
Post/ABC poll, two-thirds with to change affirmative actionprograms rather than do away with them
entirely. But the public also realized that, in real life, the legacy of discrimination is not always
so neat. It is diffuse, and it requires a broader remedy.

Affirmative Action

The roots of affirmative action can be traced back to the
passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act where legislation redefined
public and private behavior. The act states that to discriminate in
private is legal, but anything regarding business or public
discrimination is illegal (“Affirmative” 13). There are two instances
when opposing affirmative action might seem the wrong thing to do.
Even these two cases don’t justify the use of affirmative action.
First is the nobility of the cause to help others. Second,
affirmative action was a great starter for equality in the work place.
The most promanite variable in deciding affirmative action as right
or wrong, is whether or not society is going to treat people as groups
or individuals. Affirmative action is a question of morals. The
simplicity to form two morals that are both correct but conflicting is
the reason for the division of our nation on affirmative action.


Affirmative action is very noble when looking at who benefits
from the outcome. Take a closer look at affirmative action. The
people that are involved and the damage it takes on our society
surfaces many doubts. Taking a closer look also stirs up a question
of nobility that needs to be answered before making a decision on
affirmative action. Does affirmative action simply change who is
discriminated against and makes it legal for the new discriminators?
Coming from my point of view, the view of a white male, this
is a serious question. One example of this came to my attention from
Dave Shiflett who once worked at Rocky Mountain News wrote “Rocky
Mountain Hire”. In this article he tells about a new hiring strategy
used at the Denver news paper Rocky Mountain News. A memo was sent
out stating, “The job reviews of supervisors and others involved in
hiring should address race and sex. Each review should have a hiring
goal of at least half of our hires being women and at least half
non-white” (Shiflett 45). Lets put this strategy to work. We have
ten positions to fill, these positions can be filled following the
above guidelines by hiring five black women. It can also be met by
hiring five white women and five non-white men. Obviously to meet
this goal successfully would mean to not hire a white male (Shiflett
45). I strongly disagree with my white fore fathers and society today
who both address race and sex when hiring. Using a persons skin color
in hiring is discrimination no matter how society looks at it.

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At St. Bonaventure University the potential for reverse
discrimination became a reality. In May 1994, 22 faculty members were
fired, all were male. The president of the university was very blunt
about his motive, to protect the small number of women on the
university staff (Magner 18). This was purely a discussion based on
gender not qualification. No matter how efficient these men were some
were fired for not being part of a certain minority. Gary A. Abraham,
who was fired as a tenured associate professor stated, “It seems
ludicrous that the university can rectify its failure to engage in
affirmative action on the backs of its male faculty.” Twelve of the
men took their complaints to the US Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission. The commission sided with the men and are even planning
to bring the university up on charges themselves (Magner 18). Giving
an employer the power to discriminate only towards minorities is
unfair and unethical.


Now the question is who will the government protect? Society
can not consider its self fair when we are still forming decisions
based upon gender or race. It is not noble to protect the jobs of
women at Bonaventure University simply there are not enough women on
the roster. We should protect the jobs of the experienced. We can
not form a new society from affirmative action and believe the rights
of all United States citizens will be upheld.


The whole idea behind affirmative action is to right the
wrongs of the past. Well, what about the individuals that were not
even born when this atrocity of discrimination was going on. Society
should not punish the youth for the crimes of their white male
forefathers. Thomas Sowell gave an interesting story in his article
“Free Markets vs. Discrimination” about Albert Greuner. He had
graduated from Pensacola Naval photography school and was refused a
job he was more than qualified for. The reason Albert was denied the
position was based on the conduct of the other cadets graduating from
Pensacola(Sowell 69). These are the battles that need to be fought.
Stop employers from hiring in a discriminatory fashion Not to just
favor the group that has been discriminated against in the past.


Not only does it affect white males, but the recipients of
affirmative action suffer from negative side effects also. There is
an angry backlash that women and minorities feel from affirmative
action. There is also the effect of pampering. It can make any
individual lazy and unmotivated. Affirmative action does nothing but
build walls to separate us more, and pollute our work atmosphere with
tension.


An angry backlash towards the recipients of affirmative action
appears prominently in the work place. An example of affirmative
action backlash comes from the article “When an Advantage is Not an
Advantage.” “I recently got a large chunk of government funding in a
program that didn’t even have any sort of affirmative action ranking.
Yet, almost all men I talk to including my father, assume there was
at least some component of consideration given to me for being
female” (Cohen 18). Affirmative action weakens the spirit of the
individual by making them think the reason they got the job or grant
was because someone felt sorry for them. Some women believe
affirmative action will benefit them in the beginning because there is
an incentive to hire women. This will do more to hinder than to help
in the long run. Here is a quote from an article opposing affirmative
action. “I think affirmative action helps to get a female an
interview but once on the interview and once on the job, it gives
males a basis for their resentment and skepticism of females…”
(Cohen 18). This can cause additional tension between men and women
that was not there before affirmative action.


Another side effect is how pampering can make a person lazy
and unmotivated to excel. This is exactly what affirmative action
does. It makes sure that women and minorities are pampered to make up
for lost time. Well, lets take a look at what all the pampering in
the past has done for the white male. Look at the college graduation
numbers of today. Eighty percent of blacks attending college
graduate, while only 55% of white college students graduate. These
numbers alone show what discrimination did to help the white male to
achieve a lazy attitude of “I don’t need good grades, I am white I’ll
get a god job.” This is a dangerous attitude in 1996, because in some
situations a white male needs to be over qualified to compensate for
small “bonus points” some minorities receive. By pampering any single
group the long-term disaster will outweigh the short term relief.


Discrimination is not the problem that plagues society. This
is shown with the increase of women in the work force. The number of
women in the computer industry has increased 93%, in auto industry
89%, and in pharmaceuticals 78% (Dunkle 44). Thirty years ago this
was not the case, and affirmative action forced American employers to
open their eyes to the benefits of diversity. “Affirmative action in
1995 is beginning to resemble Soviet Communism in 1969. Outside the
sheltered elites, the majority of people loathe it. The circumstances
in which it was dreamed up no longer exist” (Sullivan E15). Now it is
time to end affirmative action and focus on what is holding down
minorities today. Let us turn our sites on poverty, poor family life,
poor schooling, for these problems are colorblind, and can hinder an
individuals chances for success more than anything else. To equal the
opportunity of minorities for employment we should educate and prepare
them, not force them into the work force or universities.


Guadalupe Quintanilla, the assistant Vice President for
Academic Affairs for the University of Houston, stated, “Affirmative
action has been distorted and abused. We need to take a second look
at it. I think affirmative action has opened a lot of doors, but it
has been misrepresented. I’m for opportunity, not special treatment.
The majority of people in this country are open-minded and willing to
work with people without considering their sex or color. So I think
we could do away with set asides” (Dunkel 42).
Problems with equality in our work force and universities can
not be blamed completely on discrimination. The problem today is
colorblind poverty. Affirmative action actually hurts the lower
income individual of any minority group. Thomas Sowell, in his 1990
book, Preferential Policies, used an international survey of
affirmative action programs to show the consequences. “The benefits
of affirmative action went overwhelmingly to people who were already
better off., while the poorer members of the same groups either did
not gain ground or actually fell further behind” (Richardson 4C). The
wealthier neighborhoods have better school systems, which in turn
offer greater resources. If we bring equality to our school systems,
a rise in minorities in the work force will soon follow.


Some universities here in the United States have based
enrollment on College Board’s and SAT’s or ACT’s, none of which show
intelligence levels. These tests rather show the standards of
education that the individual has encountered. The gap between mean
SAT scores for black and whites is 938 for whites and 740 for
blacks(Shipler 16) These test scores sometimes become the
discrimination against minorities. Another form of evaluating
students is where the Universities and government need to focus, to
establish a standard in education that spans across all levels of
income. Affirmative action is definitely not the answer for equality
in this day in time.


Affirmative action has balanced for thirty years on a moral
threat. It is now time to apply new moral threats, not towards the
employers and colleges but towards the government. For it is the
government that needs to change its polices. The government needs to
take action towards the real problems of equality: poverty, not the
bad white man from the past. Affirmative action is simply the same
old discrimination in reverse.

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