Affirmative action has been the subject of increasing debate and tension in
American society. However, the debate over affirmative action has become
ensnared in rhetoric that pits equality of opportunity against the equality of
results. The debate has been more emotional than intellectual, and has generated
more tension than shed light on the issue. Participants in the debate have over
examined the ethical and moral issues that affirmative action raises while
forgetting to scrutinize the system that has created the need for them. Too
often, affirmative action is looked upon as the panacea for a nation once ill
with, but now cured of, the virulent disease of racial discrimination.
Affirmative action is, and should be seen as, a temporary, partial, and perhaps
even flawed remedy for past and continuing discrimination against historically
marginalized and disenfranchised groups in American society. Working as it
should, it affords groups greater equality of opportunity in a social context
marked by substantial inequalities and structural forces that impede a fair
assessment of their capabilities.
In this essay I will expose what I see as the shortcomings of the current
ethical attacks on affirmative action (1), the main one being, that these
attacks are devoid of proper historical context and shrouded in white male
hegemony and privilege. Then, I will discuss the moral and ethical issues raised
by continuing to function within a system that systematically disadvantages
historically marginalized groups. With that as a backdrop, I will make a
positive case for continuing affirmative action programs and discuss the
practical concerns that continuing such programs may raise. Perhaps the biggest
complaint that one hears about affirmative action policies aimed at helping
Black Americans is that they violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and
the Civil Rights laws. The claim is that these programs distort what... [continues]
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(1999, 10). An Ethical and Practical Defense of Affirmative Action. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Ethical-Practical-Defense-Affirmative-Action-3220.html
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"An Ethical and Practical Defense of Affirmative Action." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Ethical-Practical-Defense-Affirmative-Action-3220.html.