Affirmative Action

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Affirmative Action is defined by Webster's New World College Dictionary as " a policy or program for correcting the effects of discrimination in the employment or education of members of certain groups." The phrase "affirmative action" was coined by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 when he issued Executive Order 10925, initiating the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246. This order required federal contractors to take "affirmative action" to increase the number of minorities that they employed. Thus affirmative action was born. However, when Kennedy and Johnson established affirmative action, they did not intend for it to have the perverted and distorted effect that it currently has today. Such perversions and distortions include the hiring of unqualified workers, the causing of problems for groups it originally set out to help, and reverse discrimination that results in unfair standards into higher education and the work force. The practice of affirmative action must be stopped. The main argument for affirmative action is that it creates equal opportunity for people in the work force and for students seeking admission into higher education. However, this is not a valid point. While affirmative action creates equal opportunity for some individuals, it discriminates against others, primarily white males. Therefore, affirmative action uses reverse discrimination to solve the problem of discrimination. Do two wrongs make a right? The answer is no. The first reason affirmative action should be stopped is that employees often are hired that are not qualified to execute their jobs effectively. Many times employers are 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 (Pasour). However, various surveys and estimates show that less than 4,000 blacks receive Ph.D.s in the United States. This is less than two black Ph.D.s for every American college or university (Sowell). Therefore, Duke University's policy would force them to hire faculty that are not as qualified, due to a shortage of black Ph.D.s, as their white counterparts. The hiring of unskilled workers is also detrim... ... middle of paper ... ...devise an alternative to replace affirmative action, because as long as affirmative action is in effect there will always be racial tension. Such an alternative would be "the strengthening of the ‘intermediate' institutions, such as community associations, schools, media, and independent social agencies, which provide the organizational foundation for collective development and effective public representation (Sterlitz)." In essence, if the same amount of capital was extended to minority institutions, the minority society would eventually become more developed and give the much needed guidance to individuals, therefore enabling them to play a major part in society. Affirmative action was first introduced by President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson. In the time since Kennedy and Johnson, affirmative action has been severely distorted. Both presidents intended for this policy to stop discrimination, not simply reverse it. However, as shown in the foregoing discussion, the problems of affirmative action include hiring of unskilled employees, the establishment of problems for minorities it was originally suppose to help, and the basis for reverse discrimination.

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