Affirmative Action Essay

Affirmative Action Term paper

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Affirmative Action Affirmative Action efforts were started in 1964 to end the long history of overlooking qualified people of color and women from higher education. Affirmative Action sets standards for a business or office of admissions, so that a white man does not have the upper-hand over an equally or greater educated minority. The initial way the government tried to justify Affirmative Action was to develop a human resource approach: first identifying the problem, which is racism then establishing the solution (Phillips 67). The intent of Affirmative Action helps cut down discrimination in the work place and in schools, despite the fact that some believe that affirmative action is a form of reverse discrimination. In contrast, the first goal of Affirmative Action was to help people who were poor or badly educated, elevating them to positions for which they were not objectively qualified (Buckley 95). Cousens, author of Public Civil Rights Agencies and Fair Employment indicates that the Affirmative Action techniques have the advantage of not only persuading employers not to discriminate when hiring or accepting, but to expand employment and educational opportunities for minority groups (22). Therefore, Affirmative Action is legitimate because it does reduce discrimination in the work place and related areas such as University acceptance of college students. In the end, it should in no way be abolished. Scott2 However, Affirmative action is highly controversial. Right now Proposition 209, in California which bans all programs involving race and sex preferences run by the state, has passed but it will not be put into total action due to some questions of constitutionality (Ayres 34). The law will start slowly first, ending Affirmative Action in the schools of California, leading up to the abolishment of Affirmative Action all together. An argument was declared by Mark Rosenbaum of the Southern California Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, “ Proposition 209 should be declared unconstitutional because it singles out women and minorities and, at a time when discrimination still exists, sought to preclude them from attaining constitutionally guaranteed right, like jobs and schooling.” (Ayres 34). As Rosenbaum pointed out, discrimination does still exist in our not so perfect world, and so far Affirmative Action is our only solution ;so why is California trying so hard to put an end to it? Abolishing Affirmative Action is not the answer. President Clinton spoke out in his speech for National Archives: “ Let me be clear: Affirmative Action has been good for America, we should have a simple slogan: Mend it, but don’t bend it”(Benac). Without even trying to change the way Affirmative Action is implemented, California is ending it first. This will prove detrimental to Californian society because it will cause more racial problems. The problem with the Affirmative Action debate could be that those arguing for it do a poor job defending their position. Due to the fact that Affirmative Action has been in place for more than a generation, critics have lost sight of how the job market and higher education looks without Affirmative Actions stabilizing effects. Yet critics think that Affirmative Action is a cleverly disguised form of racism and ineffective, but taking a look at what happens when there is no Affirmative Action, such as in the court case of Hopwood V. Texas reverse discrimination suit. A court ruling said that the University of Scott3 Texas Law School was banned from using race at all in their admitting. Attorney General Dan Morales of Texas has understood the ruling as “banning Affirmative Action in admissions, scholarships and college recruiting programs.” This ruling is now being applied to almost all Texas colleges (Applebome a14). As Peter Applebome puts it “ Texas and California have become laboratories for a world without Affirmative Action” (a14). So far the results have proved the world desperately needs Affirmative Action. Statistically the abolishment of Affirmative Action on graduate schools this year in California show that the enrollment of blacks in a random law school declined from twenty last year to one this fall while the number of Hispanic students dropped to eighteen from twenty-eight. Some might believe that this could be just a random occurrence, but the same results showed in the University of Texas Law School’s enrollment, three blacks this fall to last years fifty-nine (Applebome a14). Thus, bans on Affirmative Action are having negative effects on enrollment for blacks and other minorities in Texas’ and California’s prominent universities. Therefore, proving that without Affirmative Action, any minority will not have a fair chance in today’s society. Professor Lino Graglia, a critic of Affirmative Action points out “The whole reason you have racial preferences is that the racially preferred do not meet the standards applied to others, if you require that they meet the standards, then they don’t get in.” This might be true in some maybe all cases, but in this very true rebuttal to Graglia’s statement Rodney Ellis, Texas state senator, graduate of the University Law School in 1976 says “I clearly got in through an Affirmative Action program, and I don’t apologize for it... I’m proud of it. It got me in, but it didn’t get me out, didn’t take the bar exam for me, didn’t pass the two hundred and eighty five or so pieces of legislation I’ve Scott4 authored.” (Applebome a14). Rodney Ellis is a perfect example of Affirmative Action, a minority getting the chance to prove himself. Affirmative Action did not get him where he is today, it just simply got his foot in the door. Affirmative Action gave Ellis a chance he would not have gotten if Affirmative Action did not exist. Although sad, but true we do not live in a perfect, color-blind country. President Clinton says “ It is simply wrong to play politics with the issue of Affirmative Action and divide our country at a time when, if we really want to change things, we have to be united.” (Benac). In the same article President Clinton recalls his southern upbringing in the segregated south and states “ I have had experience with Affirmative Action, nearly twenty years of it now, and I know it works.” In conclusion, Affirmative Action, just as it started, is trying to create unity within the real world, which is not perfect and very racist. So why are we still asking the question of why we are using Affirmative Action? Proven that it abolishing Affirmative Action would be a negative effect to the work place and in higher education, why should we go back to the days of segregation, why not move forward still some until we can create unity ;President Lyndon B. Johnson put it best at Howard University’s commencement ceremony in 1965: “ We seek not just equality as a right and a theory... but equality as a result.” (Porter B6). Maybe the world hasn’t exactly found equality as a result, but with Affirmative Action, the world is a lot closer to equality than without it. Scott5 Works Cited Applebome, Peter. “Affirmative Action Ban Changes a Law School.” New York Times 2 July 1997: a14. Ayres, B. Drummond, Jr. “Affirmative Action Battle Moves to Courts.” New York Times 1 Dec. 1996: 34. Benac, Nancy. “Clinton Defends Preference Programs, Backs Reforms.” Associated Press Writer. *http.//*. 19 July, 1995. Buckley, William F., Jr. “The Two Sides.” National Review 14 Oct., 1996: 95 Cousens, Frances. Public Civil Rights Agencies and Fair Employment. New York: Praeger, 1969. Hair, Penda D. “Color Blind-or Just Blind?” Nation 14 Oct. 1996: 12. “Once to Every Man.” National Review 16 June, 1997: 12. Phillips, D. Rhys. Equality in Employment. Ottawa: Canadian Gov., 1985: 285 Porter, Horace. “Affirmative Action: 1960’s Dreams, 1990’s Realities.” Chronicle of Higher Education. 29 Nov. 1996: B6

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