Affirmative Action - Pros and Cons

Topics: Discrimination, Affirmative action, African American Pages: 3 (1066 words) Published: May 3, 2007
A Short Discussion of Affirmative Action – Pros and Cons.

Affirmative Action programming is seen by some as a mechanical remedy to past social conditions that penalized minority member applicants for employment, women, or persons with disabilities. In the United States, Affirmative Action has been seen as compensation for the exclusion of the African American community, in particular, and has been hoped to create upward mobility for more members of this sector. In this sense, Affirmative Action may have much encouraged individuals to strive for education, training or employment of kinds they would not have thought accessible, in past generations. Similarly, women have been helped by Affirmative Action to know that their applications will be taken seriously. Moreover, as the public grows used to seeing a more diverse workforce, including visible minority members and women in positions of responsibility, then attitudes change as to who is a suitable worker for this position, or that field. The argument is that, in time, all citizens will expect a diverse workforce. It should be known, however, that not all of the groups said to benefit from Affirmative Action are automatically in favour of it. For instance, while preparing this paper, an African-American friend whose parents are successful professionals, stated that she did not believe that she should obtain special consideration by virtue of her ethnicity. She said that her grandparents had enjoyed their lives of achievement, knowing they had done well on merit, without any special consideration of them. Indeed, they had excelled in order to overcome considerable discrimination. As for her own career, she believed that her Ivy League education rendered her different from many young African-American women who perhaps should have special consideration. Overall, her points complied with Richard Kahlenberg's article stressing how one must look at differences of social class, more than race, at...

References: Haley, A. 1964. (ed). The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Ballentine.
Kahlenberg, R. 1995. Class, Not Race – towards a New Affirmative Action. Current.
373: 3-8.
Rosin, H. 1995. Race Matters – Berkeley – Postcard - Politics of University of
California Affirmative in Admissions. The New Republic. 213. October 23: 21-23.
Rutstein, N. 1993. A Prescription for a Disease, in Healing Racism in America. New
York: Whitcomb, pp. 163-171.
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