“An B. Johnson succeeded Kennedy in office. Johnson was

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Last updated: December 1, 2019

“An action or policy favoring those who tend to sufferfrom discrimination, especially in relation to employment or education;positive discrimination.” This is known as affirmative action.

Affirmativeaction has been beneficial to many countries when trying to provide equity andjustice for everyone, but in recent times it has more adverse effects thanadvantageous. Most notably in college admissions and in the workforce, it isnow seen as unfair when minorities who received a sound upbringing due to equalopportunity policies, can also take advantage of affirmative action by gaininga position they did not earn. Although affirmative action policies havedecreased since when they first started, measures should be taken to erase thementirely.The term “affirmativeaction” was coined by John F. Kennedy during the African-American civil rightsmovement.

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Through affirmative action, Kennedy’s goal was to establish racialdiversity in the government’s workforce that most closely resembled theproportions of the various ethnic groups in America. After Kennedy wasassassinated, due to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, organizations outside of thegovernment started to carry out affirmative action. Title VI of the act statedthat “no person . . . shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin,be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjectedto discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financialassistance.” Title VII built on Title VI to include that, in certainconditions, religion, sex, and national origin can be considered in hiring acandidate. Title VII was the first to address employment equity or what thecommon man refers to today as preferential hiring.

Lyndon B. Johnsonsucceeded Kennedy in office. Johnson was the first person to adopt the term”affirmative action” into lawmaking. He mandated federal contractors topractice affirmative action in order to provide employment to all applicantsand to make sure that all employees are treated equally at work without regardto race, creed, color, or national origin.

He also wanted to expand Title VIIto privately-funded companies.Johnson designedaffirmative action to actualize institutional change within Americanorganizations so they could better comply with the Civil Rights Act. The basisof this modification are the following beliefs: most of the jobs in America areheld by white men; the only way to give an equal chance to neglected minoritiesis by granting legislative and moral priority; the United States is supposed tobe a melting pot of cultures and a destination for dreamers, and therefore has,in economic terms, room for all Americans; following the Civil Rights Act, thegovernment  and the citizens of theUnited States undoubtedly decided that public policy was the most effectivemechanism to achieve equality of opportunity; one cannot deny the existence ofracial prejudice in the workplace, and it adversely affects the professionaland academic outlook of minorities; it has come down to forcefully invokingsocial and legal procedures to bring about change.A frequentmisconception about affirmative action is that it sanctions quotas todisadvantaged category such as race or gender.

Although this is true in India,quotas do not exist in the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court attested thisin 1978. In the case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, it wasdetermined that having racial quotas in college admissions were unlawfulaccording to the equal protection clause stated in the Fourteenth Amendment, theonly exception being if quotas were used to rectify a history ofdiscrimination, if the college had one. In this case, Allan Bakke, who waswhite and a prospective medical student, disputed that he was denied admissionto the University of California Davis Medical School solely because the programmaintained quotas during application reviews, and therefore a specific numberof spots were reserved for minority students. In its highly unsettlingdecision, the Supreme Court ruled that Bakke’s application was indeed rejectedbecause of the quota and ruled quotas against the law.

Confusing the issue furtherwas a diversity rationale in spite of the majority decision. The diversityrationale concluded that ethnicity and race can be one of the many admissionsfactors for acquiring a heterogeneous student body in higher education. Thus,even though Bakke overturned direct quotas, the case compelled the governmentto pay attention to the issues regarding diversity in education.Affirmative actionpolicies mandate that companies must regularly perform an analysis of minorityemployment, design objectives to fulfill a demographically representative employeecomposition, and generate procedures for the recruitment of minority employees.Affirmative action is effective in companies in which the practice extends beyondhiring practices to encompass a commitment to maintaining diversity,evaluations of the program from time to time, teaching the employees toproductively take action in matters concerning affirmative action, and pursuingoffice surroundings and managing principles that uphold equal opportunity in allterms and conditions of employment. Many of the biggest companies in the UnitedStates today have departments and legal staff s dedicated entirely to ensuringdiversity in the workplace.Many problemscomplicate or hinder the administration of affirmative action.

The majority ofthese obstacles are stereotypes, habits surrounding common practices in the modernbusiness world, and employee preferences. These problems are very hard toscrutinize and most often than not lead to serious issues, such as sexualrelations in the workplace or termination of employment, that make the problemeven more difficult.In the present day, amassive dilemma that U.S. companies encounter is how they should deal withaffirmative action with regard to downsizing. How should the management decidewho is expendable? It is too tedious to plan lay-offs and also think aboutaffirmative action while completing daily business tasks. Just like hiring,there are many factors to consider when downsizing also. These factors includerank, seniority, tenure and personal relationships, as well encompassing raceand gender.

There is not one prescribed method of dealing with downsizingbecause it depends on the employer and the situation. Juggling these factorswhile considering the accomplishments of each employee now competing for his orher can become stressful and complicated.Since its inception, affirmativeaction has been the subject of harsh criticism throughout the years by thosewho want to see a change it the policy or its elimination entirely. Criticsassert that affirmative action ironically creates discriminatory hiringpractices, is not practical, unethical when lose their jobs because of it, andis even biased to towards who gain employment that they may not be ready for. Contraryto the popular opinion, people who are against affirmative action are notlimited to conservative white men. A large number of minorities, even democrats,are also opposed to affirmative action either as a concept or the way it iscarried out in America.Undoubtedly, the mostubiquitous rationale downgrading affirmative action till date is that it isnothing other than reverse discrimination. This goes back to what is clearlystated in Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which was devised to enddifferentiation based on race, religion, creed, class, gender, and ethnicityduring the hiring process.

Now white men are the victims of discrimination dueto their race and sex. Instead of ending discrimination altogether, it seems asthough the goal of affirmative action is to punish hard-working white men, thebiggest sufferers. Title VII cannot simply be an extension of Title VI withoutthe victimization of innocent white men.For the past 50years, society has been persistent culturally and judicially that civil citizenshould be given civil rights, the prominent catalyst for this sociologicaldevelopment being the civil rights movement taking place in the 1950s and1960s, hence producing vast gains in the public sphere for colored people. TheCivil Rights Act of 1964 was one of these gains; it outlawed segregation inschools, residences, and employment. Before this act was passed, many Americansagreed that the treatment African American faced was cruel and immoral. Withthe creation of Civil Rights Act of 1964, many citizens’ apprehension was thatPresident Lyndon B. Johnson has established an equal playing ground for AfricanAmericans.

To these Americans, the addition of affirmative action went beyondthe mechanism and objective of the Civil Rights Act and was unnecessary andexcessive since discrimination was now outlawed by the federal government,minorities would now be on equal footing with whites.Another argument thataffirmative action is unfair is that the white majority who must unwillinglytake the hit and the minority groups who benefit from it are neitherparticipants nor victims of the historical oppression that caused inequalitiesin the past. The current generation of whites should not be paying for thediscriminatory attitudes of their ancestors.

Similarly, minorities, specificallyAfrican Americans were never forced into socioeconomic subordination like theirancestors, so why should they be compensated for someone else’s suffering?Basically, whites are not at fault discrimination that happened before theywere born, and African Americans today shouldn’t be profiting from hardshipthey had never experienced. The best way to fix wrongdoings of humans is tocreate awareness and never repeat it, not to do the same exact thing toinnocent contemporaries and call it a solution.One more logicalargument against affirmative action is that beneficiaries are viewed as victimsand some people try to take advantage of this “victim” status. What was once agenerous policy to help underprivileged people thrive has become to thesepeople something that the government owes them. This is not at all progressbecause they are living on a cloud that alienates them from the rest ofsociety. Their attitude has become that of laziness and entitlement, which isthe opposite of what affirmative action purports­–having the confidence to workhard.Still another aspectof the argument against affirmative action is that it taints the image ofminorities. When minorities are selected for highly competitive positions,people automatically assume that they were only hired because of affirmativeaction.

This is detrimental to minorities because their individualaccomplishments are virtually impossible to recognize because of thepresumptive atmosphere of affirmative action. This type of attitude only leadsto begrudging assumptions that every minority in the workplace is there onlydue to her color of his or her skin and could very well have stolen the job ofa more qualified white man. This leads to belittling of minorities in aprofessional setting and also causes inefficiency of the work being done.Consideringall of the valid arguments against affirmative action, it is important to notethat that are made through the lens of the various socioeconomic, political,and ethnic groups.

These opposing views are numerous and versatile withclashing opinions among the allies themselves.Thearguments in support of affirmative action are wavering and have changeddrastically over the years. Even then, advocates have rose up to the challengeof protesters and provided answers to the age-old questions..                                                   Littleneeds to be said about the historical roots of the argument supportingaffirmative action. Throughout American history, white men have consistentlymonopolized almost every tier of the social ladder.

Affirmative action was conceivedto better serve minorities in finding opportunities in association with anadvancement of civil rights. The scope of arguments in favor of affirmativeaction are largely to demystify myths and point out facts that challenge theethical standpoint, misconceptions, and stated problems of those against itThefirst and foremost argument that advocates object to is the concept of reversediscrimination and that the whites are unfairly losing jobs. Advocates neverfail to raise the point that although minorities have achieved overwhelmingsuccess with affirmative action, they are not yet proportionally represented inthe professional world, especially in high-level positions. For instance, thereis a high volume of blacks and Mexicans working in labor but the coloreddoctor, lawyer, college professor, and scientist are rarely seen.

Supportersdispute that this does not equate to equal opportunity. A better solution tothis is equal access to early childhood education. The top schools are reservedfor rich neighborhoods, but if everyone had an equal right to attend the schoolof their choosing, the foundation for achieving these top jobs will reacheveryone. Affirmative action is not the answer. Inrelation to the previous argument, advocates also argue that the Civil RightsAct of 1964 did nothing to solve the issues regarding discrimination, in factit was thrown into the shadows.

From when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 waspassed until today African Americans and Latinos are significantly more poor thantheir white counterparts. The Act opened up great opportunities within society,but it did not provide a good framework for financial and economic success andstability. This argument is illogical because it’s basically saying it’s notenough to give minorities and edge in competition, but they should also begiven money they didn’t earn. Nothing will ever be enough for people who can’tappreciate what they already have.Supportersalso lay out the positive aspects of increased diversity to society as a whole.Diversity can be expanded to more aspects of American life through employingand promoting minorities so they can advance economically. Diversity has becomethe norm and people are much more accustomed to it.

This increases awarenessand misconceptions about other groups are erased. Diversity helps American’sbecome knowledgable and open-minded. Discrimination is illegal, and diversityis not only accepted but it is also encouraged as people start to understandeach other.

It helps people broaden their horizons, and see past theirtraditional ideas. As wonderful as diversity is, it’s still not a reason togive an advantage during competition. The United States has naturally adopteddiversity, and no longer needs affirmative action.

Backersof affirmative action defend that role models have risen from minoritiesbecause of affirmative action Their emersion has led to the enlightenment ofthe common man about issues regarding rape, immigration, drugs, and poverty thatminorities face on a daily basis. These atrocities were previously invisible tosociety. However, the best role model setting a good example is one who hasearned his recognition through no help from anyone, not someone who becamefamous via a given advantage.Peoplein support of affirmative action will never stop believing in its necessity. Theyconsistently declare that minorities are still where they started andaffirmative action has done nothing to help them. They insist that affirmativeaction should be increased even more and quotas should be put into place. Thisis just preposterous because quotas just enforce the differences between peopleinstead of Americans unifying as one.

Affirmativeaction was once a generous policy to erase the devastating consequences ofdiscrimination, but it is now being taken advantage of by people having thesebenefits. Since reservations have been made for them, they assume they don’thave to work as hard to be rewarded the same position as their whitecounterpart. For this same reason, affirmative action undermines meritocracyand reinforces stereotypes. It lowers the accountability of authorities whenthe best person for the job comes out defeated by his less competent peer.

Advocates will continue to argue that affirmative action is essential toimprove the lives of minorities. Unfortunately, this debate will not see an endanytime soon.

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