Is Affirmative Action Effective?
The Declaration of Independence states “all men are created equal” (Declaration of Independence) and have certain unalienable rights that among these are “Life Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence). Judging Americans by different standards does not honor this truth. In efforts to remedy the ills of segregation through Affirmative Action, the unintended consequences of this action have created another injustice. If men are created equal then they should be judged equally. Affirmative action is outdated and unconstitutional and it is time for a level playing field.
Giving people opportunities based solely on race without the qualifications to succeed in a competitive environment is a major problem in today’s society. The SAT, the Standard Aptitude Test, “…merely measures differences in academic preparation... [The] affirmative action policies [that they] seek to remedy are primarily produced by “continuing disparities” in pre-collegiate academic achievements of blacks and white students. On those measures of merit that selective colleges use to decide who gets in, not all groups perform equally” (D’souza 266). Standardized tests are excellent predictors of academic capability, but, even with comparable test scores, evidence shows there simply may be natural differences between the races, similar to the assumption that whites naturally are not as athletic as blacks. America cannot deny opportunities to the people who are the most qualified and give them to someone who is less qualified but of the “right” skin color. This practice diminishes not only the achievement of the individual, but makes this country less productive than it could be. America is slowing down its’ competitiveness in the world and dumbing down the country. D’souza states that “... admitting Hispanic and African American students with grade point averages of 3.2 and SAT scores of 1100, while turning away White and Asian American applicants with GPAs of 4.0 and SAT scores of 1300” (D’souza 265). In the NBA, more than three fourths of the league is African American. Many believe as stated previously that blacks are more athletic than whites. Demanding that the NBA draft more whites to achieve racial equality, even if they are much less athletic, is effectively the same as demanding that businesses hire less qualified workers based solely on race rather than their academic performance. Rewarding people based on race instead of hard work and intelligence encourages an entitlement mentality and creates a false sense of achievement. Granting people opportunities that they may not deserve creates a sense of entitlement and perpetuates stereotypes and the cycle of racism. Equal opportunity is essential to a healthy society. Everyone should be held to the same standard regardless of individual characteristics that have nothing to do with intelligence, hard work, or creativity. The person most qualified deserves the opportunity. The original justification for affirmative action was to correct historical discrimination against blacks in the south. This justification has been exaggerated and expanded to apply to many classes of people who were never intended to be included.
This wide application of affirmative action creates a form of reverse discrimination. The original purpose was to provide government intervention where blatant racism was present. As presently applied, each class has a different standard and set of remedies based on what ever injustice they believe they suffered. According to a 1991 commentary by Patrick Hall, an African American librarian, “the irony in all of this is that affirmative action and equal opportunity originally intended people to be judged on their qualifications as individuals without regard to race, sex, or age” ( Hall 311). Affirmative action now takes away from the key to success which is motivation. Hall suggests that “motivation, individual...
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