The affirmative action program is important because it gives job opportunities for many people regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, and national origin. The work force should be well represented by the different ethnic backgrounds of our society. Some people look at affirmative action as reverse discrimination, but this program doesn't guarantee employment based on race, ethnicity, or gender. The affirmative action program gives equal consideration to individuals from a different race, ethnicity, or gender, but not one of these factors may be the only factor used to determine an individual's qualifications for any job. The biggest dispute of the program is the belief that the policy allows less qualified candidates to progress due to different standards for minorities and non-minorities. People need to realize that affirmative action gives balance in the workplace so that everyone from different ethnic backgrounds would be represented in today's diverse society.
There are few social policy issues that gauge the racial and division among the American people than the affirmative action. Affirmative Action is a term referring to the laws and social policies intended to resolve discrimination that limits the opportunities of people regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, and national origin. Supporters and opponents of affirmative action hold strong to their believes and constantly attack the opposing viewpoints. Advocates believe that affirmative action overcomes discrimination, gives qualified minorities a chance to compete on equal footing whites, and provides them with the same opportunities. Opponents claim that affirmative action puts unskilled minorities Cannon 2
in positions that they are not qualified for, tarnishes the reputation of minorities that accomplishes success on their own, and violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Since the beginning of affirmative action, the definition has been ever changing in order to satisfy the present beliefs of society. Prohibiting the discrimination in hiring, expanding the filing of application to include more minorities, compensating for past grievances, setting "quotas" (percentages of a certain type of people that had to be included), have all been part of the definition. As much as many people would like for affirmative action to be abolished, affirmative action is still needed in order to give opportunities to minorities who do not have access to social or corporate connections. The truth of the matter is that many people climb the corporate ladder because they are associated with the right people whom are making executive decisions that make a difference. The government intends to provide equal opportunity based upon the individual's merit. Affirmative action provides qualified individuals with a variety of job opportunities; this program could be viewed as another avenue to excel in a career or towards a higher education.
In many occurrences, minorities have been discriminated because it has been the custom not to hire them. Many city police and fire departments traditionally did not hire blacks; many craft unions did not accept black members. Many big companies did not hire blacks for higher positions; instead, blacks were hired as kitchen assistants and janitors. When these kinds of patterns are evident, affirmative action and quotas may be valid tools to respond with.
Cannon 3 The use of affirmative action and quotas was demonstrated in 1983 in hearings held by Representative Don Edwards (D-Cal.) and Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.). Alabama has seen dramatic changes in black employment in public agencies...
Cited: Altschiller, Donald. Affirmative Action. New York: Wilson, 1991.
Barbour, Scott, David L Bender, Bruno Leone, Brenda Stalcup, and Mary E. Williams. Discrimination. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1997.
Bardes, Barbara A., Steffen W. Schmidt, and Mack C. Shelley. American Government and Politics Today. Belmont: West Wadsworth, 1997.
Bender, David L., Bruno Leone, Lori Shein, and Bonnie Szumski. y. Inequality. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998.
Blackman, Ann. "Affirmative Action." Time March 1995: 11-13.
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