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Affirmative Action

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The roots of affirmative action can be traced back to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act where legislation redefined public and private behavior. The act states that to discriminate in private is legal, but anything regarding business or public discrimination is illegal ("Affirmative" 13). There are two instances when 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 promenent variable in deciding affirmative action as right or wrong is whether or not society is going to treat people as groups or individuals. Affirmative action is a question of morals. The simplicity to form two morals that are both correct but conflicting is the reason for the division of our nation on affirmative action.

Affirmative action is very noble when looking at who benefits from the outcome. Take a closer look at affirmative action. The people that are involved and the damage it takes on our society surfaces many doubts. Taking a closer look also stirs up a question of nobility that needs to be answered before making a decision on affirmative action. Does affirmative action simply change who is discriminated against and makes it legal for the new discriminators?

Coming from my point of view, the view of a white male, this is a serious question. One example of this came to my attention from Dave Shiflett who once worked at Rocky Mountain News wrote "Rocky Mountain Hire". In this article he tells about a new hiring strategy used at the Denver newspaper Rocky Mountain News. A memo was sent out stating, "The job reviews of supervisors and others involved in hiring should address race and sex. Each review should have a hiring goal of at least half of our hires being women and at least half non-white" (Shiflett 45). Lets put this strategy to work. We have ten positions to fill; these positions can be filled following the above guidelines by hiring five black women. It can also be met by hiring five white women and five non-white men. Obviously to meet this goal successfully would mean to not hire a white male (Shiflett 45). I strongly disagree with my white fore fathers and society today that both address race and sex when hiring. Using a persons skin color in hiring is discrimination no matter how society looks at it.

At St. Bonaventure University the potential for reverse discrimination became a reality. In May 1994, 22 faculty members were fired, all were male. The president of the university was very blunt about his motive, to protect the small number of women on the university staff (Magner 18). This was purely a discussion based on gender not qualification. No matter how efficient these men were some were fired for not being part of a certain minority. Gary A. Abraham, who was fired as a tenured associate professor stated, "It seems ludicrous that the university can rectify its failure to engage in affirmative action on the backs of its male faculty." Twelve of the men took their complaints to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The commission sided with the men and is even planning to bring the university up on charges themselves (Magner 18). Giving an employer the power to discriminate only towards minorities is unfair and unethical.

Now the question is whom will the government protect? Society cannot consider its self-fair when we are still forming decisions based upon gender or race. It is not noble to protect the jobs of women at Bonaventure University simply there are not enough women on the roster. We should protect the jobs of the experienced. We cannot form a new society from affirmative action and believe the rights of all United States citizens will be upheld.

The whole idea behind affirmative action is to right the wrongs of the past. Well, what about the individuals that were not even born when this atrocity of discrimination was going on. Society should not punish the youth for the crimes of their white male forefathers. Thomas Sowell gave an interesting story in his article "Free Markets vs. Discrimination" about Albert Greuner. He had graduated from Pensacola Naval photography school and was refused a job he was more than qualified for. The reason Albert was denied the position was based on the conduct of the other cadets graduating from Pensacola (Sowell 69). These are the battles that need to be fought. Stop employers from hiring in a discriminatory fashion, not to just favor the group that has been discriminated against in the past.

Not only does it affect white males, but the recipients of affirmative action suffer from negative side effects also. There is an angry backlash that women and minorities feel from affirmative action. There is also the effect of pampering. It can make any individual lazy and unmotivated. Affirmative action does nothing but build walls to separate us more, and pollute our work atmosphere with tension.

An angry backlash towards the recipients of affirmative action appears prominently in the work place. An example of affirmative action backlash comes from the article "When an Advantage is Not an Advantage." "I recently got a large chunk of government funding in a program that didn't even have any sort of affirmative action ranking. Yet, almost all men I talk to including my father, assume there was at least some component of consideration given to me for being female" (Cohen 18). Affirmative action weakens the spirit of the individual by making them think the reason they got the job or grant was because someone felt sorry for them. Some women believe affirmative action will benefit them in the beginning because there is an incentive to hire women. This will do more to hinder than to help in the long run. Here is a quote from an article opposing affirmative action. "I think affirmative action helps to get a female an interview but once on the interview and once on the job, it gives males a basis for their resentment and skepticism of females..." (Cohen 18). This can cause additional tension between men and women that was not there before affirmative action.

Another side effect is how pampering can make a person lazy and unmotivated to excel.



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