An Ethical Dilemma: Affirmative Action, Do We Still Need It?

Topics: Affirmative action, Discrimination, Minority group Pages: 5 (1700 words) Published: July 20, 2009
Running head: An Ethical Dilemma: Affirmative Action, Do We Still Need It?

An Ethical Dilemma: Affirmative Action, Do We Still Need It?


This paper discusses the importance of affirmative action in today’s society and the ethical role it plays when Employers and Universities are considering entry to their respected places of establishment. The paper will conclude with what America will face in the future in terms of affirmative action.

An Ethical Dilemma: Affirmative Action, Do We Still Need It?

Affirmative action still headlines stories in the media. Some in the minority groups agree that affirmative action has assisted them in so many ways, while others totally disagree with the policy altogether. The people in the majority see it as a punishment for discrimination. Is this policy ethical or unethical in hiring or admittance into higher learning institutions or hiring practices for employment? Since its inception in the 1960’s, affirmative action has become very controversial. Affirmative action has placed various people from different backgrounds and races into jobs where people in the majority once held or universities where only people in the majority’s children were able to attend. By minorities obtaining these jobs and going to the various institutions of higher learning, affirmative action allows diversification in these places. All businesses, public and private, colleges and universities need to diversify their work force population through affirmative action. The idea of affirmative action came about because of discrimination against minorities in America. The executive order 11246 issued by President Johnson ensured equality on the job and admission rates to higher learning institutions. In a book written by Cahn (1993) it states: The original order authorized the secretary of labor to adopt such rules and regulations as he deems necessary and appropriate pursuant to the order’s purposes. In response to this mandate, the Department of Labor required all contractors to develop “an acceptable affirmative action program,” including and analysis of areas within which the contractor is deficient in the utilization of minority groups and women, and further, goals and timetables to which the contractor’s good faith efforts must be directed to correct the deficiencies. The term “minority groups” referred to “Blacks, Spanish-surnamed Americans, American Indians, and Orientals. (p.1) Prior to 1965, minorities got discriminated against when trying to apply for decent jobs, go to the higher learning institutes of those in the majority, and possibly live in some of the exquisite neighborhoods. Prior to affirmative action, Anglo’s had preference when applying to get into a decent college or employment. Affirmative action allows those in minority groups to achieve the status that their forefathers were not able to achieve. In a book, Bardes, Shelley, Schmidt, (2003) state, “affirmative action is a policy in educational admissions or job hiring that gives special consideration or compensatory treatment to traditionally disadvantaged groups in an effort to overcome present effects of past discrimination.” (p.169) Affirmative action tries to give an advantage to the disadvantaged in granting access to higher education and decent employment. Traditionally, the people in the minority could not get a decent college education at some of the prestigious colleges and universities in America because of past discrimination against their race. In an article, Button and Rienzo (2003) state “affirmative action in employment refers to policies and procedures designed to combat on-going job discrimination in the workplace” (p.2) This shows affirmative action tries to stop racial or gender discrimination in the workplace and allows for the increased employment of minorities. The workplace should have a balance of diversity. However some employers still have some bias in the hiring...

References: Bardes, Shelley, Schmidt (2004). American Government and Politics Today. Canada: Baxter.
Button, J.W. & Rienzo, B.A. (2003 March). The impact of affirmative action: Black employment in six southern cities. Social Science Quarterly 84, 1-14.
Cahn, S.M. (1993). Affirmative Action and the University: A Philosophical Inquiry. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Curry, G.E. (2004 April). Affirmative action war still rages. New York Amsterdam News, p.13.
Sowell, T. (2004, July 4). Debunking a fashionable, but misguided, social policy. The Washington Times, p.B08.
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