Affirmative action is considered to be one of the most controversial dilemmas facing equal status of individual rights for Americans today. When it began affirmative action was implemented with the idea and hope that America would finally become truly equal. So far, it has lasted for thirty years and hasn’t solved any of our current problems concerning equal rights – in fact it made things worse. It was created with the intention of using reverse discrimination to solve the problem of discrimination. In that, individuals from minority groups are being chosen over the qualifications of other workers. Some find it unfair in practice; others find it very helpful.
Those that stand with affirmative action are usually in a situation in which they have benefited from it. The reasoning behind those who support affirmative action is based on the principle that it establishes a situation where equal opportunity is distributed among minorities for jobs. Prior to affirmative action – city, state, and government jobs were almost completely closed off to minorities and women. In our present day, minorities and women have seen a tremendous increase in the acceptance of jobs in those workplaces. Suppose that an American male and a minority (Hispanic, Afro-American, woman, etc.) are applying for the same job, the American male is much more qualified than the minority, therefore, logically, the American should be hired. Due to the quota system companies, in order to meet that quota, must hire the minority applicant. This is for the better because, in that sense, were are slowly but surely making some advancement in solving the problem of racial inequality in America’s workplace.
The educational system is also highly influenced by affirmative action. Minority students who before never had a chance to be accepted into a college, are now being accepted, also due to the quota system. They are given the chance to prove that, with the help of affirmative action, they can get an education and end up with a better job after graduating.
The Constitution states that we the people of the United States of America, are all created equal. Therefore, since we are all equal, shouldn’t we all have the same opportunities? Equal opportunity is achieved when disadvantaged people are given chances to succeed in life. To start to achieve a better life, one must have proper education, because education is the key to our future. Therefore, through education, minorities must be given the chance to get a good start at securing their future.
Critics of affirmative action argue that this quota is unfair. White males are being forced to pay a price in that they are now the ones being discriminated against. While the minorities enjoy the benefits such as jobs and education, white males are often forced to ask why preferential treatment was given to anyone. To give favor to males or to females, to whites, to blacks or to persons of any color, because of a single characteristic is morally wrong because doing so is intrinsically unfair. Color, nationality, and sex are not attributes that entitle anyone to more (or less) of the good things in life, or to any special favor (or disfavor). When, in the past, whites or males did receive such preferences, that was wrong; it is no less wrong when the colors or sexes are reversed.
In the workplace, critics argue that because of affirmative action, now they are being treated unequally. Jobs in which they are more likely to succeed are being offered to less qualified minorities. Not only does this affect the potential white employees, but the employer also has to suffer this condition. Employers are being asked to hire less qualified workers and pay them equivalent wages for often sub-par work.
In concern with education, colleges are being forced to base student acceptance, not on just academics, but also on ethnic background. Many are displeased because through out their years in school, they have been struggling to get good grades in hopes that in the future they would be accepted to the college of their choice. To have that taken away from them, especially by minorities who do not rank as high in academic achievements is completely unfair. From another educational standpoint, not only are the quality students being filtered out, quality teachers are also being filtered out. Universities have also been force to adopt the quota system for their faculty. Minority teachers, whose education may not be as complete, are replacing highly qualified teachers, to meet these quotas, and consequently the education of the students of that institution suffers.
Affirmative action should be based on the fact that, if given equal opportunity, equal results should follow. It should not be causing greater rifts between races. If we continue to differentiate people based on the their color, gender, or nationality, then we will not achieve anything and we would be no different than our ancestors. Times have changed, and as it has changed, so shall we. We should head into the future, not with bitterness toward one another, but instead with dignity and respect.