Affirmative Action

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   After the United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, it becameapparent that certain business traditions, such as seniority status and aptitude tests,prevented total equality in employment. Then President, Lyndon B. Johnson, decidedsomething needed to be done to remedy these flaws. On September 24, 1965, he issuedExecutive Order #11246 at Howard University that required federal contractors to takeAffirmative Action to ensure that applicants are employed . . . without regard to their race,creed, color, or national srcin (Civil Rights). With the signing of that order, and withoutknowing it, President Johnson created reverse discrimination. Affirmative Action was created in an effort to help minorities leap thediscriminative barriers that were ever so present when the bill was first enacted, in 1965.At this time, the country was in the wake of nationwide civil-rights demonstrations, andracial tension was at an all time high. Most of the corporate executive and managerialpositions were occupied by White Males, who controlled the hiring and firing ofemployees. The U.S. government, in 1965, believed that these employers werediscriminating against Minorities and believed that there was no better time than thepresent to bring about change. This action, that started with good intentions, would laterlead to a different and more complex form of discrimination.When the Civil Rights Law passed, Minorities, especially African-Americans,believed that they should receive retribution for the earlier years of discrimination theyendured. The government responded by passing laws to aide them in attaining betteremployment as reprieve for the previous two hundred years of suffering their race enduredat the hands of the White Man. To many people the passing of these laws was an effort inthe right direction. Supporters of Affirmative Action asked, why not let the governmenthelp them get better jobs? After all, the White Man was responsible for their suffering. While this may all be true, there is another question to be asked. Are we truly responsiblefor the years of persecution that the African Americans and other Minorities weresubmitted to? I am not so sure. It is true that past generations of White Men are partly responsible for thesuppression of the African-American race. However, the modern White Male is notresponsible for the past. It is just as unfair and suppressive to hold White Malesresponsible for past persecution now, as it was to discriminate against many African-  Americans in the generations before. Why should an honest, hard-working, open minded,White Male be suppressed, today, for past injustice? Affirmative Action, in it's currentfunction seems to accept and condone the idea of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Do two wrongs really make a right? Definitely not, in my opinion. If Affirmative Actionaccomplished strictly what it was set out to do, that would be fine, but all it seems to bedoing is turning around the tables, instead of alleviating the problem at hand. Affirmative Action supporters make one large assumption when defending thepolicy. They assume that Minority groups want help. This, however, may not always bethe case. My experience with Minorities has led me to believe that they fought to attainequality, not special treatment. To them, the acceptance of special treatment might be anadmittance of inferiority. They ask, Why can't I become successful on my own? Why doI need laws to help me get a job? These African Americans want to be treated as equals,not as incompetents. In my Idealistic world neither Black, White, Mexican, Asian,Woman or Man should need nothing, except their skills. In a statement released in 1981 by the United States Commission on Civil Rights,Jack P. Hartog, who directed the Affirmative Action Project, said: Only if discriminationwere nothing more than the misguided acts of a few prejudiced individuals, wouldAffirmative Actions plans be reverse discrimination. If today's society were operatingfairly toward Minorities and Women, would measures that take race, sex, and nationalsrcin into account be preferential treatment? Only if discrimination were securelyplaced in a well-distant past, would Affirmative Action be an unneeded and drasticremedy . What the commission failed to realize was that there are hundreds of thousandsof White Males who are not discriminating, yet are being punished because of those whodo. The Northern Natural Gas Company of Omaha, Nebraska, was forced by thegovernment to release sixty-five White Male workers to make room for Minorityemployees in 1977 (Nebraska Advisory Committee 40). Five major Omaha corporationsreported that the number of White managers fell 25% in 1969 due to restrictions put onthem when Affirmative Action was adopted (Nebraska Advisory Committee 27). Youask, What did these individuals do to bring about their termination? The only crime thatthey were guilty of was being White. The injustice toward the White Male does not end there. After the White Male has  been fired, he has to go out and find a new job to support his family, that depended on thecompany, to provide health care and a retirement plan, in return for years of hard work. Now, because of Affirmative Action, this White Male, and the thousands like him, requiremore skills to get the same job that a lesser qualified African-American Male needs. Thisis, for all intents and purposes, discrimination, and it is a law that our government strictlyenforces.Affirmative Action is not only unfair for the working man, it is extremelydiscriminatory toward the executive, as well. The average business executive has one goalin mind, and that is to maximize profits. To reach his goal, this executive would naturallyhire the most competent Man or Woman for the job, whether they be African-American orWhite or any other race. Why would a business man intentionally cause his business tolose money by hiring a poorly qualified worker? Most businesses would not. With this inmind, it seems unnecessary to employ any policy that would cause him to do otherwise. But, that is exactly what Affirmative Action does in todays society. It forces an employer,who needs to meet a quota established by the government, to hire a Minority, no matterwho is more qualified. Another way that Affirmative Action deducts from a company's profits is byforcing them to create jobs for Minorities. This occurs when a company does not meet itsquota with existing employees and has to find places to put minorities. These jobs areoften unnecessary, and force a company to pay for workers that they do not need. Affirmative Action is not only present in the work place. It is also very powerfulin education. Just as a White Male employee needs more credentials to get a job than hisminority opponent, a White Male student needs more or better skills to get accepted at aprestigious university than a Minority student. There are complete sections on collegeapplications dedicated to race and ethnic background. Colleges must now have acompletely diverse student body, even if that means some, more qualified students, mustbe turned away. A perfect example of this can be found at the University of California atBerkeley. A 1995 report released by the university said that 9.7% of all acceptedapplicants were African American. Only 0.8% of these African American students wereaccepted by academic criteria alone. 36.8% of the accepted applicants were White. Of  these accepted white students, 47.9% were accepted on academic criteria alone. Thatmeans that approximately sixty times more African American students were accepted dueto non-academic influences than White students. It seems hard to believe that AffirmativeAction wasn't one of outside influence.Another interesting fact included in the 1995 report said that the average gradepoint average for a rejected White student was 3.66 with an average SAT score of 1142. The average grade point average for an accepted African American student was 3.66 witha 1030 average SAT score. These stunning facts shows just how many competent, if notgifted students fall between the cracks as a direct result of Affirmative Action.If it has been unclear up to this point I would like to make it clear. My problem isstrictly with Affirmative Action. If the true goal is to end discrimination and suppressionof people as a whole, then the way Affirmative Action is currently being implementedneeds to change. At present it only seems to be giving some an easy way out and others afirewall that can be difficult to get through. I don't think that is healthy for either partyinvolved. Affirmative Action has truly become a form of reverse discrimination. I reallybelieve that there are other ways to conquer these problems. Society needs to worktowards broad based economic policies like public investment, national health reform, anenlarged income tax credit, child support assurance, and other policies benefiting familieswith young children. Widely supported programs that promote the interests of both lowerand middle class Americans that deliver benefits to Minorities and Whites on the basis oftheir economic status, and not their race or ethnicity, will do more to reduce Minoritypoverty than the current, narrowly based, poorly supported policies that single outMinority groups. However, if this, or another remedy is not taken sometime in the nearfuture, and Affirmative Action continues to separate Minority groups from Whites, we canbe sure to see racial tension reach points that our history has never seen. Works Cited Affirmative Action at the University of California at Berkeley Online.


Jul 26, 2017
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