Affirmative Action


4/26/2004, PHI 1103, paper 2


(1) Introduction and Thesis


Affirmative action was created during the sixties 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 its peak. Discrimination is not as terrible now as it was before, and minorities have made considerable economic advances, but racism and discriminatory practices have not been entirely eradicated. This essay will argue that as long as racism is present in institutes of higher education and the professional world, race conscious policies will be needed to ensure minorities a fair chance at success.


(2) Argument and Explanation


The favoritism for certain groups in the United States is so strong that it can only be remedied by actively encouraging the promotion of other groups. Specifically, favoritism for white people in the United States is such a strong, unbreakable part of our country that for Minorities to have a fair chance, they have to be actively considered.


It may take decades to equal conditions, but it is necessary. And more people look at it that way; the support for well defined and fair affirmative action laws has been increased in recent years. Affirmative action is not a simple as “take these 3 whites out and put these 3 black people otherwise we’re not gonna meet the quota” Is a process that avoids unfairness.


The selection is done among equally qualified candidates, a female or minority candidate is chosen from a pool of equally qualified applicants (e.g., students with identical college entrance scores). This type of affirmative action is not discriminatory. There is a form that is somewhat discriminatory that is the selection among comparable candidates a female or minority candidate are roughly comparable to other candidates (e.g., their college entrance scores are lower, but not by a significant amount). The logic here is similar to the logic of selecting among equally qualified candidates; all that is needed is an understanding that, for example, predictions based on an SAT score of 620 are virtually indistinguishable from predictions based on an SAT score of 630.


Even though these selection procedures occasionally blend into one another (due in part to the difficulty of comparing incommensurable records), a few general observations can be made. Of the two procedures, the selection of women and minority members among equal or roughly comparable candidates has the greatest public support, adheres most closely to popular conceptions of fairness, and reduces the chances that affirmative action beneficiaries will be perceived as unqualified or undeserving and the selection of women and minority members among unequal candidates which is used routinely in college admissions has deeply divided the nation (with the strongest opposition coming from White males and conservative voters.)



(3) Objections and Replies


Affirmative action opponents argue that minorities fight to attain equality, not special treatment. To them, the acceptance of special treatment by minorities is an admittance of inferiority. “Why can’t I become successful on my own? Why do I need laws to help me get a job?” They think that Minorities want to be treated as equals, not as incompetents. Although affirmative action may have this effect in some cases indeed, in most cases affirmative action actually raises the self-esteem of women and minorities by providing them with employment and opportunities for advancement. Affirmative action policies increase job satisfaction and organizational commitment among beneficiaries


They also say that affirmative action will cause White people to lose their jobs, and that 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 black man needs. Even if every unemployed Black worker in the United States were to displace a White worker, only 1% of Whites would be affected. Furthermore, affirmative action pertains only to qualified applicants, so the actual percentage of affected Whites would be a fraction of 1%. The main sources of