AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Introduction

Affirmative action even though alleviates discrimination for those who are constant victims, is a very disadvantageous policy for those who are not eligible for it. As such, this essay argues against affirmative action because; in places of job opportunities, it does not consider required academic competencies of the applicant, instead emphasizes other factors as gender, race or ethnicity. Affirmative action is, therefore, an outdated policy and exhibit reversed form of discrimination. Therefore as an issue of concern, it is not advisable to adopt affirmative action. The unfair allocation of resources and access to job opportunities to specified groups at the expense of others despite similar challenges in life render affirmative action unjustifiable

Discussion

Background of affirmative action

Affirmative action refers to a policy or action that favors those who tend to suffer discrimination especially with regards to employment opportunities and education among other forms of discrimination. The policy came up due to the need to ensure that those in the minority groups (Blacks, Hispanics, among other discriminated groups) society have access to equal opportunities. Preventing of workplace discrimination also pushed the urge for affirmative action  leading to adopted as a social policy that sought to overcome injustices meted out to the minority groups in the society.

Affirmative action as a policy has however met resistance from various quarters with opponents like those in business arguing that it is affecting their profits (Hettinger, 1987). There are also those who front the argument that some white women and men have endured a lot of disadvantages than the blacks, and thus affirmative action is not making sense. Therefore, they believe that justifying affirmative action by race would be unfair to the poor white society that has also been victims of disadvantageous conditions.

Reasons against affirmative action

  1. Affirmative action does not consider overall qualifications of the applicant but rather numerical representation.

As the world gets serious about issues regarding affirmative action and aligns their policies towards the same, I would differ with the thought that affirmative action compensates the past injustices and brings about equality. This is because; it increases competition for those with the best qualification. The competition ceases to be about their competence and skills but also other considerations like race or ethnic community.

This is simply a redirected discrimination in the sense that the majority group i.e. Native American whites have now turned the victims of discrimination (Hettinger 1987). More opportunity is now left for the underrepresented class of people while those in the majority group are left out. For the historical majority, the situation of racial, ethnic or gender discrimination, unfair and biased treatment characterizes their lives. Despite personal efforts and job related competencies, ones gender or race that classifies them to the majority groups creates hurdles to equal access to opportunities.

It is, therefore, a very unfair move as the majority groups also struggle like the minority to secure education and job opportunities against all odds. The hurdles in life are not a reserve for the minority groups. When they are discriminated in pursuit of affirmative action, the establishment that is hiring has perhaps more to gain since they may be cheaper.

Affirmative action has led to abuse of the policy by the minority groups since they feel favored. This makes the people of the majority unable to defend themselves in circumstances where meritocracy is sacrificed on the altar of race, gender or ethnicity. Equality means everyone is treated equally and subjected to the same conditions as the rest. In the case of a job opportunity or education, the same interview procedure should be applied to gender, age, ethnicity and race and other forms of assessments alike. This is when equality is achieved and not by turning away someone who has worked very hard to achieve the standards they have because they are from the majority group. Each person is an individual and lives there live as a person and not as a community.

When numbers rather than qualifications are considered in pursuit of affirmative action, the overall output in an organization about labor is compromised. This is because a less skilled person is accorded an opportunity when the right person, deserving and capable of bringing a meaningful contribution is sent away.

  1. Affirmative action places more focus on gender, ethnic or racial issues rather than the performance of an employee

Individual’s competence and ability cease to count more than their ethnicity, race, and gender. This is a terrible mistake. A person from a historically dominant group (Native American whites), be it by race, gender, or ethnic background, is penalized by the affirmative action. This is because the focus has shifted from what qualifications they have to their ethnicity, race or gender. This is rather a disturbing picture. It is as simple as reversing discrimination (Hettinger 1987). It does not matter how much you have invested in yourself to enable you to be competent enough but rather what race you belong. I think affirmative action is just a loss of direction and misplacement of priority.

Affirmative action proponents assert equality as their lodestar. But preferential hiring can never be equal. The Quota language in affirmative action provided for minority scholarship, preferential hiring and race “norming” (Pojman, 1992). There is a disregard for morals in this circumstance. I think instead an organization should have a moral commitment to employ based on competence and not the other parameters like race. The morals can be directed to the workplace for there are also women or blacks who equally have some good level of competence beyond the whites. The principle of justice should be applied across the board and not selectively in the name of affirmative action. Organization should just focus on the qualifications of an individual for an opportunity rather than their race or ethnicity. There are instances that the affirmative action is also abused to create an opportunity for someone or eliminate somebody. It is unjust, misleading and discriminatory. Emphasis on affirmative action promotes complacency among the favored group and this translate to recruiting half-baked personnel. If the criterion of securing university slots is based on affirmative action, then bright students with academic potential risk being locked out. As long as conditions of education are homogeneous in the society, merit should replace affirmative action to mitigate unjustified denial of potential people opportunities. In the USA, the Hispanic, African-American and immigrants have constitutional equal opportunity to quality education and good jobs hence the irrelevance of affirmative action. Keeping affirmative action brood racial animosity with the majority blaming minority for their suffering. Affirmative action continues to portray the perceived inferior races as economic liability hence increased opposition.

  1. Affirmative action is an outdated Policy

Today, I find the affirmative action irrelevant unlike it was perhaps in the previous century. The policy is outdated. Schools have become accessible to all genders, races, and ethnic societies. Democracy has opened up in most countries, and it is for an individual to take the space and move forward. The discriminatory environment that existed against women in the society has changed; the racial discrimination that segregated Blacks in lesser equipped schools has changed too. Today the ground is level for every individual.

Instead of affirmative action creating the world where people no longer see color or ethnic backgrounds, it is making the race and ethnicity more relevant. This is a wrong direction for any country or organization to go. It is plunging the nation into severe racism and ethnic bigotry.  When the focus is laid upon gender, race, and ethnicity, it becomes some incentive of the sort to the minority group not to work hard. A lazy individual is favored for an employment opportunity because they come from a minority group, an advantage they abuse, yet a hard working individual who is also subjected to disadvantageous conditions is denied such an opportunity. This is not only regrettable but also backward, reversed discrimination. With the increased women involvement in decision making institutions in the society, affirmative action is viewed as giving undue advantaged to men. In fact, affirmative action promotes the perception of the society on the inferiority of female. In support of the patriarchal mentality, continued affirmative action portrays women as weaker beings despite the almost level ground in terms of academic competency and job performance. In respect of racial and ethnic balance in government jobs, the policy reforms in education and access to opportunities necessitates elimination of affirmative action as perpetuating white supremacist mentality. The globalization effect on communication has initiated cultural convergence hence promoting equality in terms of knowledge and work experience. Such increased gender, ethnic or racial equity negates the politics of affirmative action.

Conclusion

Affirmative action as a policy or action that favors those who tend to suffer discrimination especially with regards to employment opportunities, education among other forms of discrimination, is a totally misleading policy. The efforts to improve education and employment opportunities for the members of the groups who are subjected to discrimination either based on their gender, race or ethnic background should not be preferential but considering the larger society. Even though in some instances affirmative action alleviates discrimination for those who are constant victims, it is a very disadvantageous policy for those who are not eligible for it. As such affirmative action should be abolished. In places of job opportunities affirmative action does not consider overall qualifications of the applicant but rather numbers. Besides, it places more focus on gender, ethnic or racial issues rather than the performance of an employee. From this perspective it amounts to a reversed discrimination; it puts race before merit; it is an outdated policy; and a very unfair advantage.

 

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