PHI 103: Informal Logic
Is Affirmative Action Fair?
August 23, 2010
Is Affirmative Action Fair?
Affirmative action was created to increase the number of people from certain social groups in employment, education, business, government, and other areas (LaNoue, G., 2010). This policy is geared toward women, and minorities such as African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, and disabled people. Generally speaking, Affirmative Action was put into place to benefit groups that are thought to have suffered from discrimination. Some believe that affirmative action is just a means for minorities to get ahead, but the benefit is for minorities to first of all be considered. Affirmative Action has created a diverse workforce, educational system, businesses and government. Therefore, the policy is not perfect but it is necessary and in effect fair.
Affirmative action does many positive things for so many people. Women and minorities have a better chance at a level playing field because of the opportunities afforded by the policies in place due to its enactment. Because of affirmative action there are programs that help women achieve equal pay as men. There are programs that help women and minorities receive scholarships that encourage them to go into medical, science, and engineering careers as well as outreach efforts that inform minorities and women of opportunities to bid on and earn public contracts. So you see that throughout all the blood, sweat, and tears of our women and minorities that have come before us, affirmative action is still a necessary evil.
“Affirmative action is a lightning rod in the debate on how to achieve equal opportunity in America”(Blau & Winkler, 2005). Equal opportunity in American has been a major road block for centuries. How can that be true when we now for the first time in history have an African American president? That is because there has never been an equal playing field when it comes to women and minorities. The United States was born with a Declaration of Independence that proclaimed, as a self-evident truth, that “all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The authors of these words were not claiming that all individuals are equal in their personal attributes, intelligence, or physical strength, but they were committed to establishing a government that would guarantee equally to all individuals the rule of law and security for liberty under the law. These ideals for equal rights for ALL men under a government of laws was contradicted by the annihilation of the Indians, the existence of slavery, and the denial of rights to people because of race or gender. The 14th Amendment (1868) guaranteed equal rights of citizenship to all Americans, with the special intention of protecting the rights of former slaves. However, despite the promise of the 14th Amendment, most minorities did not enjoy equal protection of the law until the second half of the 20th century.
Some affirmative action efforts began before the many efforts of civil rights activists and statues set forth in the 1950s and 1960s, but affirmative efforts did not completely take root until it became clear that anti-discrimination statutes alone would not be sufficient enough to break longstanding patterns of discrimination. For most of this century, racial and ethnic minorities and women have confronted legal and social exclusion. African and Hispanic Americans were forced into low wage jobs that were usually in agriculture. Asian Americans were forced to work fields that they were forbidden by law to hold titles to. Women were barred by law in many states from occupations such as mining, fire fighting, bartending, law, and medicine just because they were women. In 1972, affirmative...