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Essay/Term paper: Affermative action

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Affirmative Action

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Affirmative Action
Affirmative Action efforts were started in 1964 to end the long history of
overlooking qualified people of color and women from higher education. Affirmative
Action sets standards for a business or office of admissions, so that a white man does not
have the upper-hand over an equally or greater educated minority. The initial way the
government tried to justify Affirmative Action was to develop a human resource
approach: first identifying the problem, which is racism then establishing the solution
(Phillips 67).
The intent of Affirmative Action helps cut down discrimination in the work place
and in schools, despite the fact that some believe that affirmative action is a form of
reverse discrimination. In contrast, the first goal of Affirmative Action was to help
people who were poor or badly educated, elevating them to positions for which they were
not objectively qualified (Buckley 95). Cousens, author of Public Civil Rights Agencies
and Fair Employment indicates that the Affirmative Action techniques have the
advantage of not only persuading employers not to discriminate when hiring or accepting,
but to expand employment and educational opportunities for minority groups (22).
Therefore, Affirmative Action is legitimate because it does reduce discrimination in the
work place and related areas such as University acceptance of college students. In the
end, it should in no way be abolished.
However, Affirmative action is highly controversial. Right now Proposition 209,
in California which bans all programs involving race and sex preferences run by the state,
has passed but it will not be put into total action due to some questions of
constitutionality (Ayres 34). The law will start slowly first, ending Affirmative Action in
the schools of California, leading up to the abolishment of Affirmative Action all
together. An argument was declared by Mark Rosenbaum of the Southern California
Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, " Proposition 209 should be
declared unconstitutional because it singles out women and minorities and, at a time
when discrimination still exists, sought to preclude them from attaining constitutionally
guaranteed right, like jobs and schooling." (Ayres 34). As Rosenbaum pointed out,
discrimination does still exist in our not so perfect world, and so far Affirmative Action is
our only solution; so why is California trying so hard to put an end to it? Abolishing
Affirmative Action is not the answer. President Clinton spoke out in his speech for
National Archives: " Let me be clear: Affirmative Action has been good for America, we
should have a simple slogan: Mend it, but don"t bend it"(Benac). Without even trying to
change the way Affirmative Action is implemented, California is ending it first. This will
prove detrimental to Californian society because it will cause more racial problems.
The problem with the Affirmative Action debate could be that those arguing for it
do a poor job defending their position. Due to the fact that Affirmative Action has been
in place for more than a generation, critics have lost sight of how the job market and
higher education looks without Affirmative Actions stabilizing effects. Yet critics think
that Affirmative Action is a cleverly disguised form of racism and ineffective, but taking
a look at what happens when there is no Affirmative Action, such as in the court case of
Hopwood V. Texas reverse discrimination suit. A court ruling said that the University of
Texas Law School was banned from using race at all in their admitting. Attorney General
Dan Morales of Texas has understood the ruling as "banning Affirmative Action in
admissions, scholarships and college recruiting programs." This ruling is now being
applied to almost all Texas colleges (Applebome a14).
As Peter Applebome puts it " Texas and California have become laboratories for a
world without Affirmative Action" (a14). So far the results have proved the world
desperately needs Affirmative Action. Statistically the abolishment of Affirmative
Action on graduate schools this year in California show that the enrollment of blacks in a
random law school declined from twenty last year to one this fall while the number of
Hispanic students dropped to eighteen from twenty-eight. Some might believe that this
could be just a random occurrence, but the same results showed in the University of
Texas Law School"s enrollment, three blacks this fall to last years fifty-nine (Applebome
a14). Thus, bans on Affirmative Action are having negative effects on enrollment for
blacks and other minorities in Texas" and California"s prominent universities. Therefore,
proving that without Affirmative Action, any minority will not have a fair chance in
today"s society.
Professor Lino Graglia, a critic of Affirmative Action points out "The whole
reason you have racial preferences is that the racially preferred do not meet the standards
applied to others, if you require that they meet the standards, then they don"t get in." This
might be true in some maybe all cases, but in this very true rebuttal to Graglia"s
statement Rodney Ellis, Texas state senator, graduate of the University Law School in
1976 says "I clearly got in through an Affirmative Action program, and I don"t apologize
for it... I"m proud of it. It got me in, but it didn"t get me out, didn"t take the bar exam for
me, didn"t pass the two hundred and eighty five or so pieces of legislation I"ve
authored." (Applebome a14). Rodney Ellis is a perfect example of Affirmative Action,
a minority getting the chance to prove himself. Affirmative Action did not get him where
he is today, it just simply got his foot in the door. Affirmative Action gave Ellis a chance
he would not have gotten if Affirmative Action did not exist. Although sad, but true we
do not live in a perfect, color-blind country. President Clinton says " It is simply wrong
to play politics with the issue of Affirmative Action and divide our country at a time
when, if we really want to change things, we have to be united." (Benac). In the same
article President Clinton recalls his southern upbringing in the segregated south and states
" I have had experience with Affirmative Action, nearly twenty years of it now, and I
know it works."
In conclusion, Affirmative Action, just as it started, is trying to create unity within
the real world, which is not perfect and very racist. So why are we still asking the
question of why we are using Affirmative Action? Proven that it abolishing Affirmative
Action would be a negative effect to the work place and in higher education, why should
we go back to the days of segregation, why not move forward still some until we can
create unity; President Lyndon B. Johnson put it best at Howard University"s
commencement ceremony in 1965: " We seek not just equality as a right and a theory...
but equality as a result." (Porter B6). Maybe the world hasn"t exactly found equality as a
result, but with Affirmative Action, the world is a lot closer to equality than without it.

Works Cited

Applebome, Peter. "Affirmative Action Ban Changes a Law School." New York Times
2 July 1997: a14.
Ayres, B. Drummond, Jr. "Affirmative Action Battle Moves to Courts." New York
Times 1 Dec. 1996: 34.
Benac, Nancy. "Clinton Defends Preference Programs, Backs Reforms." Associated
Press Writer. <http.//sddt.com/files/librarywire/dn95_07_19_09.html>. 19
July, 1995.
Buckley, William F., Jr. "The Two Sides." National Review 14 Oct., 1996: 95
Cousens, Frances. Public Civil Rights Agencies and Fair Employment. New York:
Praeger, 1969.
Hair, Penda D. "Color Blind-or Just Blind?" Nation 14 Oct. 1996: 12.
"Once to Every Man." National Review 16 June, 1997: 12.
Phillips, D. Rhys. Equality in Employment. Ottawa: Canadian Gov., 1985: 285
Porter, Horace. "Affirmative Action: 1960"s Dreams, 1990"s Realities." Chronicle of
Higher Education. 29 Nov. 1996: B6

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