Essay on The Debate Over Affirmative Action

Essay on The Debate Over Affirmative Action

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The debate over affirmative action is a debate over the conflict of rights. This conflict of rights makes a clear-cut ruling or decision on the subject almost unattainable. However, there can be arguments made both for and against affirmative action.
Supporters of affirmative action claim that racism and sexism can only be overcome by taking race and sex into account in finding a solution. They think that giving everyone equal rights is not enough to overcome the burden. Therefore, for everyone to be truly equal some people must be given certain benefits. So in hiring, acceptance to college, and other related things, businesses or colleges must hire or accept applicants on the basis of sex and race. In doing so they should give preference to blacks, women, and other minorities. This preference in hiring and accepting to level out the playing field is often called equality of results. Lately, affirmative action has taken the role of trying to diversify the environment of jobs and colleges.
On the other hand, you have people who do not believe in or support the idea of affirmative action. They believe in the equality of opportunity rather than the equality of results. Equality of opportunity means that everyone should have the same rights and opportunities from the beginning, and what the individual does with those rights is up to them. People that do not agree with affirmative action often argue that if it is wrong to take away rights on the basis of race or sex, then it would also be wrong to give extra rights or preference to someone on the basis of their race or sex. This reverse discrimination seems to go against the principle it was founded on.
Naturally, the Supreme Court has gotten involved with this controve...

... middle of paper ...

...tion would not support a quota system.
There have been mixed rulings in the Supreme Court so it is still hard to say whose side is right. In 1978, 1989, and 1993 the Supreme Court ruled against a quota system in the workplace. However, in 1980 and 1990 the court upheld a system of quotas in the workplace. So even the Supreme Court itself cannot decide which stand to take on quotas and affirmative action.
There does seem to be some pattern to their rulings. If any quota system is created it will be strictly scrutinized. In deciding whether the quota system in each case is legal, they must first show that the system is needed and that there was discrimination. So where does that leave those who do and do not support affirmative action? It looks like each case is being decided on a situational basis and that there is little or no precedence used in new cases.

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