Affirmative Action: Mend it or End it The act of hiring minority groups in order to "balance out' the employment pool and therefore end discrimination in the workplace is called affirmative action. Many businesses and college campuses today use affirmative action to hire or accept new recruits based on affirmative action laws. These laws cause people from the majority to lose to women and minority races, regardless of qualifications. This form of reverse discrimination that makes distinctions based on race or gender is not beneficial to American society whether it is constituted through a government law, program, or policy. Affirmative action contradicts the policies it supports. This means that "the solution to the problem of racism and discrimination that affirmative action employs is more discrimination' (Prism 1).
Instead of curing racism in America, affirmative action promotes reverse discrimination by allowing minorities to feel as if they need standards to be lowered for them in order for opportunities to become available to them. The law is understated with the notion that "women are inherently weaker and less intelligent than white males because standards are lowered and special compromises need to be made for them' (Prism 2). Minority groups begin to wonder if they received jobs or college acceptances based on merit or simply because of affirmative action. Discrimination was and still is harmful to America. Discrimination is "the act of making a difference in treatment on a basis other than individual merit' (Scott 1).
When affirmative action law is used in order to employ or accept minorities, it depletes its original purpose. During the civil rights movement in the 1960's, the government accepted the fact that blacks, women, and other minority races were being discriminated against. This inspired "the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made it unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin' (Scott 2). In order to enforce the act, the government installed affirmative action programs as a "temporary way to promote greater representation of blacks in the work force' (2).
Politicians at that time reasoned that although the law broke the very idea it was designed to enforce, it was only temporary. The belief was that it would act as a "transition from segregation to integration' (2). Unfortunately, it has been 34 years since this temporary program began. Affirmative action was built without the realization that it could expand and overwhelm society. It is to the point where what is considered a minority under the law is actually becoming the majority of society. The program includes "other minorities, women, and the disabled' (Scott 3).
It is now causing a backfire to produce the opposite effect of its intent. The minority groups will continue to expand as more people are included in the process, and eventually this group will no longer be a minority. Instead, it will be the majority of society claiming to be a minority based on sexual preference, race, gender, disability, income, age, weight, and any group that claims to be disadvantaged. Affirmative action adds more "government intervention into private and business life and adds the force, power and arbitrary consequences of government power to the potential threats overhanging American citizens' (Groton 1). In other words, businesses using affirmative action hire in order to reach certain percentages based on gender and race. Therefore, qualified applicants of the majority are often left out because a company, business, or college must fill the quota stated by affirmative action laws.
Also, employers and college recruiters often feel that they will look more equal if they hire or accept many different minorities rather than a large pool of the majority. Affirmative action promotes the hiring of less skilled workers and the acceptance of less qualified individuals to higher education. Employers pick from a "much smaller pool of applicants because a large portion must be excluded based completely on sex and race, specifically white males' (Prism 1). In order to fill quotas of affirmative action, employers and college recruiters have no other options open to them. They end up hiring and accepting individuals that are not qualified for the position. In addition to being unfair, affirmative action is outdated.
It was implemented to "start the integration of women and minorities into the realm of the workplace and higher education' (Prism 1). Everyone in the United States today has the ability to obtain opportunities once only given to white males. Women are in higher places among the work force today more than ever before, and minority groups receive better treatment as well. The need for qualifications that help one particular group as opposed to another is no longer a concern.
Affirmative action served its original intended purpose by integrating people of all races and genders into the work force and higher education. Now it is no longer needed, and the "process will continue on its own, without the help of affirmative action programs' (1). Some companies, colleges and employers are taking action against affirmative action by implementing unique programs that train and educate minorities so that they can be considered qualified for a position. This is a step in the right direction because it allows minority groups to be equal based on qualifications for a job or college acceptance rather than on their minority status. It becomes fair for the majority group as well; building equal competition not based on minority versus majority. One such program is an institution called "The United States Military Prep School,' or USMAPS.
It is a unique program "devoted to a single crucial task: preparing the promising but under-qualified applicant of any race for admission to West Point and causing success when he gets there' (Outlook 1). Special encouragement and preparation to compete is given to minority groups in hopes that they will gain the skills required for acceptance to such a prestigious school. All candidates are then required to "fight it out on merit alone' (1). Other programs are beginning to appear across the United States as employers and schools realize that merit should be the number one contributing factor to acceptance, instead of percentages based on race and gender. The success of the USMAPS program is a good example for civilian colleges, universities, companies, and businesses struggling to "maintain diversity' without the use of affirmative action (1). In the end, if affirmative action is not ended in America, it will continue to overwhelm businesses and higher education with its unjust use of percentages.
This will cause the continued reverse discrimination that has become habitual in society today. Society needs to realize that affirmative action has served its purpose and is no longer valid. Educational programs that continue to help minorities become qualified for positions will allow diversity to continue in employment without the help of affirmative action. The United States can then state that it is a non-discriminatory country.
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October 3, 2000. web /> Lowery, Mark. "The Golden State War.' Black Enterprise. Scott, Reginald. "Affirmative Action.' End Affirmative Action.
Internet. October 3, 2000. web /> "The Con Side.' Prism. Internet. October 3, 2000.