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Essay/Term paper: Affirmative action

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History Essays

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Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action was started to eliminate discrimination in the
workplace by hiring workers on a nondiscriminatory basis. It began in 1961 by
president Kennedy when he issued executive order number 10925 to make federal
contractors take affirmative action(Altschiller, p.5). The goal of affirmative
action is to allow "the victims of discriminatory conduct to the position they
would have occupied in the absence of that conduct" Rehnquist said. Should such
policies be legal and deemed as good or looked down upon as a failed attempt to
solve our racial problems? Affirmative action does not eliminate discrimination
if anything it makes it more of an issue.
Although the concept of affirmative action is good, the result of it on
whites has been bad. In a survey in 1984, one out of ten white males claimed to
have personally felt reverse discrimination. Reverse discrimination is the term
being used to describe discrimination towards whites. Many of these reverse
discrimination cases have been brought to court, the result is just more
confusion. This is because there is a lot of gray in the law concerning this
topic. Sometimes courts allow someone to choose the minority if they are less
qualified, while in other cases they don't allow it. For example in a supreme
court decision, it was allowed for a Michigan school district to layoff non-
minority teachers in order to hire minority teachers with less
experience(Altschiller, p13). If a similar case were to appear again the result
would most likely be different.
In no case should the person who is less qualified be hired. It also
doesn't make much sense to try to do away with a racial problem by using race as
the important factor. When it's looked at from the logical point of view most
people do see it as a bad thing. Like when the question "Because of past
discrimination, should qualified blacks receive preference over equally
qualified whites in such matters as getting jobs or into colleges or not?" Fifty
percent of blacks said they should not. While when the question of whether or
not affirmative action is a plus or minus consistently blacks, other minorities,
and whites see it as a good thing. These two statistics oppose each other.
When the actual term affirmative action is used people tend to favor it but,
when the concept is brought up only half of the minorities favor it. Do people
just not know enough about it?
So, affirmative action isn't doing it's job and eliminating
discrimination. Although it's not that good now, if the courts came to more
defiant standards it could improve. For it to work the whole idea has to be
looked at from a different point of view. To solve the discrimination problem
we have to get rid of it, that means on employment and college application forms
we have to get rid of the race box. Because race shouldn't be a factor. It
shouldn't get you a position or lose you a position.

Works Cited

Altschiller, Donald Ed. Affirmative Action New York: The H.W. Wilson

Carter, Stephen L. Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby Basic Books, New
York, New York, 1991.

Hill, Herbert Race, Affirmative Action, and the Constitution McGraw-Hill, Inc.,

Terkel, Struds Race: How Whites and Blacks think and feel about the American
obsession The New Press, New York 1992.


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