Affirmative Action is Showing a Preference for Selecting And

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  Affirmative action is showing a preference for selecting and/or promoting members of a demographic that has a history of discrimination. Legally, such a preference may be acted upon only when candidates are comparable in quality. This leads to three key issues that are debated: 1.   Is it proper to show a preference on the basis of a demographic? 2.   If it is proper to show a preference on the basis of a demographic, to what extent can/should said preference overshadow differences in candidate quality? 3.   Can affirmative action contribute effectively to eliminating demographically- based discrimination? Another point that is sometimes debated is what constitutes a history of discrimination. For example, although both Jews and Asians (both ethnic/racial minorities) have historically experienced significant discrimination in the United States, they are generally excluded from affirmative action efforts. It should be noted that affirmative action also holds for several other types of minorities, including homosexuals and transgendered  people. Arguments For And Against Affirmative Action Arguments in Favor of Affirmative Action The primary argument in support of affirmative action is its potential to increase diversity in companies and reduce the extent to which certain demographics face discrimination . One way in which this result comes about is by showing proof-of-concept. If minorities  are given the opportunity to enter or rise in a field at a greater frequency due to affirmative action, this can increase the number of people who believe that the field and its upper echelons are open to them. In turn, the field will benefit from a more diverse applicant  pool and a more diverse set of leaders. A second argument in favor of affirmative action is that it can overcome biases that are entrenched within a company . For example, if the leadership of a company is all of the same demographic, it is unlikely that they will select someone of a different demographic to join their ranks. But, through affirmative action, minorities could gain more of an opportunity to rise into a leadership position, foregoing management's apparent 'hire-like-me' biases. A third argument for affirmative action is that certain groups of people are at an untenable disadvantage and have neither the means nor the opportunities to enter and rise in certain fields . Because of this, there is a systematic barrier that blocks out an entire demographic of people, and only through affirmative action will minorities have a chance at getting into the field. Arguments Against Affirmative Action The primary argument against affirmative action is that it involves making decisions based on demographics when the role does not have a demographic inherent to it  . For example, many universities are showing preferences for hiring women because, statistically, there are very few women who are rising to the top levels of academia. Opponents argue that  gender has nothing to do with how well someone can perform the role of a  professor/dean/provost, and thus the preference is introducing  an artificial demographic  bias (which, to some, implies sexism). A second argument against affirmative action is that it reduces the value of achievement  . Rather than earning one's way into a position, people are entering into positions on the  basis of a demographic preference. This could present a problem with respect in the workplace. Moreover, there would be an assumption of lesser competence for the minority candidate, which in turn produces  stereotype threat  and creates inordinate pressure upon the candidate to show that (s)he can fulfill the requirements of the position successfully. In addition, some contend that when people sense that they aren't likely to get a position  because of affirmative action, they reduce and/or eliminate their efforts to be highly  productive and successful because they feel that they cannot get a position regardless of their capabilities and qualifications. Some argue that this gives members of the majority a taste of the minority experience, which is payment in kind for past wrongs. Others contend in return that the members of the majority demographic in this day and age have not promoted or perpetuated the injustices of the past, and thus they should not be  punished for something they had nothing to do with. A third argument on this matter pertains to the  people who lack the skills and competence of other candidates, but still get a position through affirmative action  (regardless of the much-debated frequency with which this occurs, it does happen). In such cases, candidates end up failing in the position, which further reinforces both the contention that affirmative  action is ineffective and also, potentially, bias against minorities. Likewise, it's argued that the very existence of affirmative action implies that minorities cannot   enter or rise in certain fields in any other way, which ends up reinforcing   the bias against the very minorities that affirmative action is meant to help. As such, it becomes a vicious cycle that makes affirmative action impossible to end naturally once it's started. Social justice and affirmative action Affirmative action is generally thought of as public policy that helps the state attain social  justice. It achieves this end through quotas or by giving priority or some benefits to people that are members of a minority or a discriminated group. 


Jul 25, 2017
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