"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…." Even before it became a nation, America was heralded as a land of equality. Thomas Jefferson's statement begs more than a few questions, one of which is: "How can we ensure equality to everyone?" Beginning in the late 1960s, the federal government provided an answer to this question in the form of affirmative action. In recent years, many people have called this policy into question. Interestingly, affirmative action is sometimes attacked by the people it helps, and defended by those it hurts. In particular, two recent essays demonstrate that people's race does not necessarily determine their beliefs on the issue of affirmative action. "Why I Believe in Affirmative Action" is by Paul R. Spickard, a white man who is defending affirmative action, while "A Negative Vote on Affirmative Action" is by Shelby Steele, an African-American who is attacking the program. When the two essays are considered as responses to each other, Steele's logical explanations of the effects and implications of affirmative action expose the flaws in Spickard's ethical arguments supporting it.
Both authors structure their arguments to appeal to their respective audiences. Since Spickard's essay is written for Christianity Today, he makes a lot of ethical appeals that a Christian audience could easily relate to. Steele, on the other hand, is writing for The New York Times Magazine, so he relies on logic that would appeal to a more general audience. Spickard begins his ethical appeal by establishing his credibility through focusing on his support of affirmative action even though he has been denied employment because of the program. He says, "I a...
... middle of paper ...
...demonstrating the absurdity of trying to make up for what our ancestors did. According to Steele, these attempts to pay for the wrongs of our ancestors grow out of a need "to impose on the world a degree of justice that simply does not exist." In other words, affirmative action seeks to correct wrongs that cannot be corrected because the people who were involved are no longer living.
When Spickard's essay is examined alone, its arguments are quite convincing. However, Steele's essay effectively addresses the arguments of his opposition. As a result, his essay becomes much more effective than Spickard's, because he is able to point out all of the faults in Spickard's arguments. When these essays are read together and compared to each other, Steele's logic is much more convincing than Spickard's moral appeal, and exposes the flaws in the affirmative action program.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Success is something that everyone yearns for in life. Whether it is becoming happy, healthy, or wise, there are certain achievements and triumphs that deem a person prosperous. However, in order to obtain success, one must dedicate themselves to what they want out of their journey, working hard to come out on top in the competitive worlds of school and work that dominate our society. All through life, people are taught that overall hard work and moral character will allow one to achieve their goals.... [tags: affirmative action argumentative persuasive]
1702 words (4.9 pages)
- Affirmative action caught in tale of the two cities of Boston, Massachusetts and Denver, Colorado. Since the late 1980s, race and sex-based contracting preference programs in the U.S. cities have faced significant challenges in the courts (Rubin). On February 7th, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced his plan to eliminate a 15 year old program that required bidders on city construction contracts to subcontract 15% of work to minority-owned business enterprises and 5% to women-owned firms (Rubin).... [tags: Affirmative Action]
870 words (2.5 pages)
- Affirmative action, is it still needed in this day and age. Has it accomplished what it was supposed to. Many people say that if America concentrated on programs that provided assistance to the most needy then they would have the opportunities that affirmative action is trying to provide. By going into the ghettos of our cities and stimulating business, thereby, promoting economic growth, the disenfranchised will reap the benefits. Have they been reaping the benefits of affirmation action. As a nation devoted to equality, the United States must do away with unproductive race-dividing policies.... [tags: Affirmative Action Essays]
2649 words (7.6 pages)
- Anxiously awaiting its contents, the high school senior stares at his mailbox. He has been awaiting a response for months from his dream college. He has endured the endless questions from friends and family, "Did you hear from that college yet?" He has spent many a night he should have been sleeping lying in bed wondering whether he would be heading to his dream school in the fall. He has read numerous books and has done serious research on just what it took to get where he wanted to be. He continues to stare for hours, shaking from either anticipation or fear, though he cannot decide which.... [tags: Pro Affirmative Action Essays]
2887 words (8.2 pages)
- There are many supporters and opponents of Affirmative Action. The focus of this program is to include minorities and women into social institutions. An argument that the author presents for Affirmative Action is that of the 'merit principal', which states that people should be awarded for possesing the highest merit. In turn he states that race and sex can be a merith because it will allow others of that sex or race to stive for greatness as well. The author also presents the argument of 'cultural pluralism', which states that positive benefits come form having varieties in cultural experiences.... [tags: Affirmative Action Essays]
493 words (1.4 pages)
- Throughout history, laws and rulings have been enacted to help eradicate discrimination based on religion, sex, age, and race. For example, the thirteenth amendment made slavery illegal. The Fourteenth amendment guarantees equal protection under the law despite race. The Fifteenth amendment made it illegal to deny a person the right to vote based on race. Moreover, one of the most important equal rights rulings comes from the case Brown v. Board of education, which makes segregation in schools illegal.... [tags: Civil Rights]
2042 words (5.8 pages)
- Affirmative Action Is the Wrong Action The United States of America has long been a country divided by race. Hate has pervaded her existence since her conception, and now today’s society is forced to deal with those issues. Minorities have suffered at the hands of the white male majority for centuries as the social activities of the old war were brought to the new colonies, only to ferment and continue to affect the lives of all who lived within her borders. There is no doubting that this continued discrimination is a problem; however, the question arises with how to deal with it.... [tags: Argumentative Persuasive Argument Essays]
1703 words (4.9 pages)
- Since the beginning of time there has been prejudice and hate. Adam and Eve hated snakes. Jews hated Jesus. Sugar Ray Leonard hated Tommy Hearns. Prejudice is caused by two things: ignorance and hate. Prejudice and mistreatment has existed in this country, first with American-Indians and then later with African-Americans and many other minorities. The selling and trading of slaves is a shadow that has been hanging over the heads of white Americans for two centuries. Some people feel that it is the white-American's duty to pay the black population back.... [tags: essays research papers]
3178 words (9.1 pages)
- AFFIRMATIVE ACTION I. “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, my brothers and sisters – Plymouth Rock landed on us!” Malcolm X’s observation is brought out by the facts of American History. Snatched from their native land, transported thousands of miles – in a nightmare of disease and death – and sold into slavery, blacks were reduced to the legal status of farm animals. Even after emancipation, blacks were segregated from whites – in some states by law, and by social practice almost everywhere. American apartheid continued for another century.... [tags: essays research papers]
918 words (2.6 pages)
- AFFIRMATIVE ACTION A NECESSARY POLICY TO PREVENT DISCRIMINATION AND INEQUITIES OR A DISCRIMINATIVE AND INEQUITABLE POLCY INTRODUCTION Historically, there have been arguments about what Affirmative Action (AA) really is. The basis of the argument for the most part, debates the goal(s) of AA. Is the goal of AA to erase past inequities for the disabled, minorities and/or women without protest. Or is Affirmative Action a culture or spirit that rewards diversity and differences. Basically there are two definitions or schools of thought for AA.... [tags: essays research papers]
1639 words (4.7 pages)