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Affirmative Action: Its Current Status, Pros and Cons
Discrimination of the people in the past years resulted to many anti-social behaviors which has rooted its repercussions to the present generation. The introduction of slave trade, social classes and African-American society was as result of the discrimination, where by those who had power and wealth undermined the poor and minority groups in the society. This type of anti-social behavior lead to introduction of Affirmative action law in America with the main purpose of ensuring that there is equal justice in the society in terms of equal rights of education, free from slavery and rights to be heart with any other citizen. Since the introduction of Affirmative action law, numerous changes have been observed in the society such as respect to citizen rights and abolishment of all ant-social activities such as slavery. Although the Affirmative action law has created many tangibles benefits to the present society, it has also led to many unacceptable consequences as we are going to discuss below.
Affirmative action is the process of ensuring that chances are given to the previously discriminated groups of people to ensure that they are not discriminated. It’s like trying to ensure that past discriminated groups are compensated to the minority and victim groups. This has been discussed and is being discussed even currently in almost all the countries in the world. There some common groups that are discriminated in the world among them being women, the youths, the poor, children and so on. In some countries you will find that there are many tribes that make up the citizens of that country. In such a case the minority tribes are mostly discriminated and affirmative action comes to stop such cases. The law gives the public companies and businesses and also the government agencies power to consider the previously discriminated groups who are qualified in employment (Kellough 2006). However, affirmative action has been opposed by quite a number of people and countries in the world. They are claiming that instead of ensuring equality and no discrimination, it brings about discrimination in the opposite direction. They say that the majority groups are discriminated instead.
According to the research done by Lapenson, (2009) here by he quoted that, “Affirmative action rooted back and emerged in the Africa-American society due to citizen being discriminated of their race and social status.” Affirmative action has been incorporated in the American law as a result of a series of court decrees, voluntary programs and governmental proclamations. In America the law is powerful to the public sector and some private sector that receive public funding. The private sector that does not receive public funding doesn’t have to work on the guidelines of the affirmative action. The legal system and the entities adopting the action are the once who enforce it. Affirmative action also includes outreach efforts, training programs, and other positive steps. The employers in America have to implement the affirmative action law, have affirmative action written programs and also they are required to update them annually.
Some companies like the ones owned by the private sector and do not receive public funding are given the option of implementing the affirmative action law or not. The content however between the ones implementing the law voluntarily and those who have to is the same. There is a program in the United States to oversee the implementation of the affirmative action law through the office of federal compliance programs (OFCCP).
It’s also important to note that the affirmative action varies. This is on the basis of the institution and also the place where the institution is. The surrounding environment will also influence the nature of the law. The major reason as to why the American government has been trying to affect the affirmative action is to ensure that the public institutions like the universities have no discrimination. The law was first set since the African Americans were not being admitted in the public universities. They could also not access the public utilities like the hospitals since they were not Americans. The affirmative action has contributed greatly to the inclusion of all Americans in all the sectors of the economy and also leadership and regardless of gender, color, age, sex or on the basis of any discrimination.
According to Rowman & Littlefield, in the book, Affirmative Action: The Pros and Cons of Policy and Practice. Chapter two, page 16, I quote “The discrimination dates back from the time of slavery in America where the slaves intermarried with the Americans and eventually the black Americans came to be.” In America affirmative action has been accepted and implemented In most of the states. The individuals in such states strongly believe that there a number of minority groups that are discriminated. Such groups are blocked from succeeding. Such groups could be having intelligence that no one else has and thus the country is losing too much by blocking them from education (Leiter 2002. Research has shown that the many Americans who bear black associated names are not likely to be interviewed for a job in the United States of America. This is what is propelling the individuals and the organizations that are ensuring that affirmative action is implemented in all the states of America. The research also shown, that the black are discriminated and tortured mentally and emotionally in most of the public institutions, in United States of America.
However, there are a number of institutions and individuals who are against the action. The major reason as to why they are against the action is that the action instead of avoiding or reducing discrimination, it’s resulting to a reverse discrimination to the majority. To be specific some states in America prohibit affirmative action among them being California, Michigan, Nebraska and Washington. Richard sander an American argues that the so called affirmative action is not effective and thus it should not be implemented. He argues that the groups expected to benefit don’t benefit. This is because for instance the students who are given the chance in the universities on the basis of the affirmative action are not capable of performing and thus they end up dropping out of school. This thus according to Richard shows that the action is not a success. Some other individual just like Richard believe the action is not effective. Ward Connerly calls it reverse discrimination. They argue that the law benefits only the black Americans and it’s known that they are not the only minority groups. We also have the European Americans and the Asian Americans who are discriminated at the expense of the African Americans and the Hispanic Americans. Dating back in year 1976 a group of Italian Americans who are also a minority group in the United States wanted to be included among the people to benefit from the affirmative action but their request was not approved. This is what the ones against the affirmative action are using. There is the argument that affirmative action doesn’t achieve its goals and that it hinders reconciliation. Instead it undermines the achievement of minorities and replaces the old wrongs with new ones and also goes ahead and says that the action encourages the minority group to look at themselves as disadvantaged even if they are not. Affirmative action is being opposed also by the prominent in America and this includes the only black justice Clarence Thomas.
It has been discussed above that affirmative action is the effort to try and avoid discrimination of any nature. This, where implemented properly has come along with a number of benefits. The workers and students from the minority groups with the implementation of the affirmative action stand a better chance to succeed. The students or workers may have been lacking an opportunity to express their ability and talents. The affirmative action ensures that employment is done fairly and that individuals from the minority groups who qualified are considered first. This has seen a number of unseen talents and innovations been discovered unlike before where for instance in America individuals from minority groups could not have been employed. The students also get admitted in the universities regardless of gender, age, sex, color or race. This has seen the individuals from the minority groups get a chance to learn and succeed in education and in life. It’s funny to note that some of these individuals perform even better than the so called individuals from the majority groups.
Affirmative action’s enhances diversity. It ensures that there is diversity in work stations and also the schools. This brings about more and more talents and more chances of great innovations. The different groups of people come together and they help one another in what one is good at and thus they assist each other in making life easier for all of them. Affirmative action ensures that a special preference is given to the minority groups for the discrimination in the past. For instance in America the discrimination of the black dates back to the time of slavery (Raza 1999). The Africans were treated almost like animals. Their masters did not care about their welfare. As if that was not enough, after raping them and forcing them to marriages the black Americans that came to be as a result of that were also discriminated.
Affirmative action is very important all over the world to break the stereotype. Some groups are believed to be incapable of doing some things and others are not. There is no basis or evidence to support this fake theory. The action thus will be important to make the people who have such believes to see the reality. Ability of individuals cannot be based on the group or community that one’s come from. In fact the ability of one person can only be compared with that of another regardless of where he come from and that cannot be the same at all cost.
Looking at the cons of the Affirmative action, although the world has greatly changed and there is freedom and rights of human beings. It will leave some question marks to say that the minority need the affirmative action to succeed. We have seen the individuals from the same minority groups succeed without the help of the affirmative action. This would be meaning that the individuals from the minority groups are inferior and that’s why they need to be considered first. It would mean that they are incapable of competing with individuals from the majority groups. It’s the high time the entire world changed and stopped making decisions based on race. Affirmative action itself is bringing about discrimination since its making the minority groups to look at them as inferior and disadvantaged. This is thus making the action not to achieve its goals but rather triggers imbalance in the minds of the minority and the majority groups. Affirmative action may bring about reverse discrimination. The action doesn’t specify the limits on employment or admission in universities of the minority individuals. This thus may bring about the majority being forgotten. This will bring about hatred between the two groups and may even result to war. The affirmative action thus doesn’t ensure balance of the majority and the minority groups in the society. It’s a concern of every individual and country to ensure that every one is well represented in all the sectors of the economy. Affirmative action is trying to do the same. I would say that the action should be implemented but some changes and improvements should be made on it. Such changes include amendments in the law. Kellough, (2006) chapter two page 10 says that, “Affirmative action should be implemented without any form of politics because it affects the lives of present and future citizen.” They should specify the percentage of presentation of the minority groups and the majority groups to always ensure there is balance in representation of the two. The main aim should also not be to compensate the formerly discriminated groups of the past but to ensure equal representation in the public representation (Babkina 2003). It should thus be made clear that the minority groups are not given some favors because they are weak and inferior but because equal representation is require. This way the affirmative action will achieve its goals and objectives.