passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act where legislation redefinedpublic and private behavior. The act states that to discriminate inprivate is legal, but anything regarding business or publicdiscrimination is illegal (“Affirmative” 13). There are two instanceswhen opposing affirmative action might seem the wrong thing to do. Even these two cases don’t justify the use of affirmative action. First is the nobility of the cause to help others. Second,affirmative action was a great starter for equality in the work place.
The most promanite variable in deciding affirmative action as rightor wrong, is whether or not society is going to treat people as groupsor individuals. Affirmative action is a question of morals. Thesimplicity to form two morals that are both correct but conflicting isthe reason for the division of our nation on affirmative action. Affirmative action is very noble when looking at who benefitsfrom the outcome. Take a closer look at affirmative action. Thepeople that are involved and the damage it takes on our societysurfaces many doubts.
Taking a closer look also stirs up a questionof nobility that needs to be answered before making a decision onaffirmative action. Does affirmative action simply change who isdiscriminated against and makes it legal for the new discriminators?Coming from my point of view, the view of a white male, thisis a serious question. One example of this came to my attention fromDave Shiflett who once worked at Rocky Mountain News wrote “RockyMountain Hire”. In this article he tells about a new hiring strategyused at the Denver news paper Rocky Mountain News. A memo was sentout stating, “The job reviews of supervisors and others involved inhiring should address race and sex.
Each review should have a hiringgoal of at least half of our hires being women and at least halfnon-white” (Shiflett 45). Lets put this strategy to work. We haveten positions to fill, these positions can be filled following theabove guidelines by hiring five black women. It can also be met byhiring five white women and five non-white men. Obviously to meetthis goal successfully would mean to not hire a white male (Shiflett45). I strongly disagree with my white fore fathers and society todaywho both address race and sex when hiring.
Using a persons skin colorin hiring is discrimination no matter how society looks at it. At St. Bonaventure University the potential for reversediscrimination became a reality. In May 1994, 22 faculty members werefired, all were male. The president of the university was very bluntabout his motive, to protect the small number of women on theuniversity staff (Magner 18). This was purely a discussion based ongender not qualification.
No matter how efficient these men were somewere fired for not being part of a certain minority. Gary A. Abraham,who was fired as a tenured associate professor stated, “It seemsludicrous that the university can rectify its failure to engage inaffirmative action on the backs of its male faculty. ” Twelve of themen took their complaints to the US Equal Employment OpportunityCommission. The commission sided with the men and are even planningto bring the university up on charges themselves (Magner 18). Givingan employer the power to discriminate only towards minorities isunfair and unethical.
Now the question is who will the government protect’societycan not consider its self fair when we are still forming decisionsbased upon gender or race. It is not noble to protect the jobs ofwomen at Bonaventure University simply there are not enough women onthe roster. We should protect the jobs of the experienced. We cannot form a new society from affirmative action and believe the rightsof all United States citizens will be upheld. The whole idea behind affirmative action is to right thewrongs of the past. Well, what about the individuals that were noteven born when this atrocity of discrimination was going on.
Societyshould not punish the youth for the crimes of their white maleforefathers. Thomas Sowell gave an interesting story in his article”Free Markets vs. Discrimination” about Albert Greuner. He hadgraduated from Pensacola Naval photography school and was refused ajob he was more than qualified for. The reason Albert was denied theposition was based on the conduct of the other cadets graduating fromPensacola(Sowell 69). These are the battles that need to be fought.
Stop employers from hiring in a discriminatory fashion Not to justfavor the group that has been discriminated against in the past. Not only does it affect white males, but the recipients ofaffirmative action suffer from negative side effects also. There isan angry backlash that women and minorities feel from affirmativeaction. There is also the effect of pampering. It can make anyindividual lazy and unmotivated. Affirmative action does nothing butbuild walls to separate us more, and pollute our work atmosphere withtension.
An angry backlash towards the recipients of affirmative actionappears prominently in the work place. An example of affirmativeaction backlash comes from the article “When an Advantage is Not anAdvantage. ” “I recently got a large chunk of government funding in aprogram that didn’t even have any sort of affirmative action ranking. Yet, almost all men I talk to including my father, assume there wasat least some component of consideration given to me for beingfemale” (Cohen 18).
Affirmative action weakens the spirit of theindividual by making them think the reason they got the job or grantwas because someone felt sorry for them. Some women believeaffirmative action will benefit them in the beginning because there isan incentive to hire women. This will do more to hinder than to helpin the long run. Here is a quote from an article opposing affirmativeaction. “I think affirmative action helps to get a female aninterview but once on the interview and once on the job, it givesmales a basis for their resentment and skepticism of females. .
. “(Cohen 18). This can cause additional tension between men and womenthat was not there before affirmative action. Another side effect is how pampering can make a person lazyand unmotivated to excel. This is exactly what affirmative actiondoes. It makes sure that women and minorities are pampered to make upfor lost time.
Well, lets take a look at what all the pampering inthe past has done for the white male. Look at the college graduationnumbers of today. Eighty percent of blacks attending collegegraduate, while only 55% of white college students graduate. Thesenumbers alone show what discrimination did to help the white male toachieve a lazy attitude of “I don’t need good grades, I am white I’llget a god job. ” This is a dangerous attitude in 1996, because in somesituations a white male needs to be over qualified to compensate forsmall “bonus points” some minorities receive. By pampering any singlegroup the long-term disaster will outweigh the short term relief.
Discrimination is not the problem that plagues society. Thisis shown with the increase of women in the work force. The number ofwomen in the computer industry has increased 93%, in auto industry89%, and in pharmaceuticals 78% (Dunkle 44). Thirty years ago thiswas not the case, and affirmative action forced American employers toopen their eyes to the benefits of diversity.
“Affirmative action in1995 is beginning to resemble Soviet Communism in 1969. Outside thesheltered elites, the majority of people loathe it. The circumstancesin which it was dreamed up no longer exist” (Sullivan E15). Now it istime to end affirmative action and focus on what is holding downminorities today. Let us turn our sites on poverty, poor family life,poor schooling, for these problems are colorblind, and can hinder anindividuals chances for success more than anything else.
To equal theopportunity of minorities for employment we should educate and preparethem, not force them into the work force or universities. Guadalupe Quintanilla, the assistant Vice President forAcademic Affairs for the University of Houston, stated, “Affirmativeaction has been distorted and abused. We need to take a second lookat it. I think affirmative action has opened a lot of doors, but ithas been misrepresented.
I’m for opportunity, not special treatment. The majority of people in this country are open-minded and willing towork with people without considering their sex or color. So I thinkwe could do away with set asides” (Dunkel 42). Problems with equality in our work force and universities cannot be blamed completely on discrimination. The problem today iscolorblind poverty. Affirmative action actually hurts the lowerincome individual of any minority group.
Thomas Sowell, in his 1990book, Preferential Policies, used an international survey ofaffirmative action programs to show the consequences. “The benefitsof affirmative action went overwhelmingly to people who were alreadybetter off. , while the poorer members of the same groups either didnot gain ground or actually fell further behind” (Richardson 4C). Thewealthier neighborhoods have better school systems, which in turnoffer greater resources. If we bring equality to our school systems,a rise in minorities in the work force will soon follow.
Some universities here in the United States have basedenrollment on College Board’s and SAT’s or ACT’s, none of which showintelligence levels. These tests rather show the standards ofeducation that the individual has encountered. The gap between meanSAT scores for black and whites is 938 for whites and 740 forblacks(Shipler 16) These test scores sometimes become thediscrimination against minorities. Another form of evaluatingstudents is where the Universities and government need to focus, toestablish a standard in education that spans across all levels ofincome. Affirmative action is definitely not the answer for equalityin this day in time. Affirmative action has balanced for thirty years on a moralthreat.
It is now time to apply new moral threats, not towards theemployers and colleges but towards the government. For it is thegovernment that needs to change its polices. The government needs totake action towards the real problems of equality: poverty, not thebad white man from the past. Affirmative action is simply the sameold discrimination in reverse.