Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action

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“The ‘under representation’ of any racial group, it was decided, was evidence of discrimination�(Guernsey). Affirmative action did not start out as a reverse discrimination towards white males, but it was meant to help everybody, but failed nearly completely after a time of which it was affected. The original concept of affirmative action excluded any mention of preference. “Launched during the late 1960s by the administration of President Richard M. Nixon, affirmative action programs call for guidelines and goals in the hiring of racial and ethnic minorities, the handicapped, and women. They have been effective in promoting change in hiring practices because they have the weight of the federal government behind them. As a direct result, a broader range of opportunities have become available for blacks in government, the corporate world, and colleges and universities. In the beginning, the 1960’s, when President Johnson used the affirmative action policy it was necessary and effective. At that time there was racial discrimination towards people of all black races in the United States of America, so it was a necessity to have such a law to create equal opportunity, but this was also created to have a racially and gender blind solution. This has turned into a racially unequal program that now has a negative effect on society. Affirmative due to quotas and favoritism towards minorities have a negative effect on society and have created a reverse discrimination.
     Many years ago there was a mistreatment of blacks and other minorities. “During much of American history, it was generally accepted by white people that blacks were not the same kind of human beings as whites and that slavery was the proper role for black people(Guernsey). People were not permitted to attend certain schools due to their “color.â€? There were separate eating facilities, bathrooms, parks, and drinking fountains for them as well. The first legal sign that the mistreatment of blacks was finally realized when in 1954 the Brown v. Board of Education overturned the Plessey v. Ferguson case. In 1964 there was there was the Civil Rights equal protection laws passed to make discrimination illegal were the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title II and VII of which forbid racial discrimination in "public accommodations" and race and sex discrimination in employment, respectively; and the 1965 Voting Rights Act adopted after Congress found "that racial discrimination in voting was an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of the country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution.

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"(Sykes). “The actual phrase ‘affirmative action’ was first used in President Lyndon Johnson's 1965 Executive Order 11246 which requires federal contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin�(Sykes). Two years later President Johnson expanded this law to place women in this category due to their low rates of employment and respect in the business world. At this time there was a large amount of discrimination going on.
     Much of this discrimination ended a long time ago, but groups such as the NAACP pushed for even more laws that further blacks’ and other groups’ difficulties in getting into jobs, schools, and other areas where they feel that they are underrepresented. “Supporters of affirmative action believe that we-as a society-must make up for the inequalities of the past. Critics argue that the conditions of the past no longer exist.â€?(Guernsey). There have been quotas put into place at many cities, universities, and private industries that have caused this affirmative action to change from an aid tool into a tool of reverse discrimination in which it is making it harder to for the average white male to get a good job or into a good school. Many Americans do not approve of this affirmative action policy. “In 1995, a Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll showed that 2 out of every 3 Americans oppose Affirmative Actionâ€?(Guernsey). Many say that preferential treatment is sanctioned in the name of diversity, but then there is the question that of how genuine is that diversity when it refers to groups rather than individuals. “Most Americans believe that equal opportunity must be balanced with hard work and meritâ€?( Guernsey).
     The affirmative action policy has hurt many by its demand for more representation by the minorities and women. “Discrimination of a most flagrant kind is now practiced at the federal, state, and local levels. A white teacher in Piscataway, NJ, is fired solely on account of her race. Asian students are denied admission to state universities to make room for students of other races with much weaker recordsâ€?(Canady). Many of the people that are hurt by the affirmative action policies are far too young to have been part of the discriminatory action that caused them to be in such situations. A minority student or female with lower grades and test scores would be accepted over a white male college student with slightly higher grades and test scores. Why should this be possible? This to me is what discrimination is. As the first black Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshal, had stated “I want to have a colorblind justiceâ€?, but the NAACP and other groups that want to cheat their way into higher positions say different. Preferences in admission have actually had a documented negative impact on the school as a whole and that of the blacks who went there, this school is Berkley. “During the decade of the 1980’s, Berkley‘s rapid increase in the number of black students on campus did not translate into comparable increases in the number of blacks actually graduating. At one point, the number of blacks on campus was increasing, while the number of blacks graduating was actually decreasing, this is due to high racial body counts over people being educatedâ€?(Sowell). Since there has been evidence of this negative impact that affirmative action has had on the population it should be no longer enforced, and if it still enforced, the quotas and preferential treatment should be lifted. That study alone shows all that is wrong with the preferential treatment. Berkley had given this preferential treatment, but the graduation numbers of the blacks there had gone down, this is just filling up spaces that should be available for students that are qualified for them. This also hurts those blacks that were accepted and were not qualified, they may have done very well at another school that they deserve to be at, but since they have this preferential treatment they have been placed in an atmosphere in which they do not belong. “Affirmative action programs create an atmosphere in which blacks are taught to blame their shortcomings on whites and encouraged to believe that they are ‘too different’ to adhere to the standards of the rest of societyâ€?(Graglia).
     The quotas and preferential treatment is simply not morally acceptable and cause problems for people of all colors and genders. A black immigrant who has just come to the country and applies to a job gets preferential treatment over a white man who has worked hard all his life to get where he was simply to make up for the injustices of the past which did not even effect this man’s family. Opportunities are denied to people simply because they are not member of a nonpreferred race, gender, or ethnic group. “Preferences attack the dignity of the preferred, and cast a pall of doubt over their confidenceâ€?(Canady). “Black applicants to Auburn University are automatically admired if they meet minimum requirements, while students of other races with similar credentials often face further review before admission, school officials saidâ€?(Associated Press). “It should be clear to all who support affirmative action that using such means toward self-segregation is a gross contradiction that undercuts its justificationâ€?(Patterson). There is a focus on color and race, if there is preferential treatment it should be towards the disadvantaged as a whole not simply those that are black or other minorities, that simply does not make sense in what Thurgood Marshal wanted to be a blind justice.
     One of the only attempts that was made to end the discrimination was made in California just so it would fail because it is the most liberal state in the United States of America. It was a proposition to end the classification of students by race, ethnicity, color, or origin in the operation of education.
     There is more of a focus on a black body count than on the qualifications. “Our research clearly shows that class-based affirmative action produced more that twice as many blacks admission as we would have under a system entirely driven by LSAT’s and grades.â€? “A system of admissions that looks at talent plus obstacles seems to provide the best approximation of equal opportunityâ€?( Kahlenberg).
This is by a simple definition reverse discrimination and does not deserve to be supported by the great country of the United Sates of America. We are not a racist country but affirmative action is turning us into one, the racism is directed mainly towards white, and specifically males. It must also make sense that if somebody does get this preferential treatment they should make a strong commitment to finish that college, because if they take up room and do not finish it was a spot wasted, where a dedicated student of another race could have used it to better themselves. Affirmative due to quotas and favoritism towards minorities have a negative effect on society and have created a reverse discrimination.

Works Cited
“Affirmative Action.� Associated Press.
Canady, Charles T. Affirmatice Action. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
Graglia, Lino A. Affirmative Action. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
Guernsey, JoAnn Brenn. Affirmative Action: A Problem or a Remedy? Minneapolis: Lerner, 1997.
Kahlenberg, Richard D. Affirmative Action. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
Patterson, Orlando. Affirmative Action. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
Sowell, Thomas. Affirmative Action. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000.
Sykes, Marquita. “The Origins of Affirmative Action.� NOW. Aug. 1995. 16 Nov. 2004 .

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