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Affermative 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

    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

    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. . 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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