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Affirmative Action Essay, Research Paper

Color of skin in not relevant in public affairs.

In recent times, virtually every great political leader has recognized the truth of affirmative action. But, what is affirmative action one might ask? According to Merriam-Webster s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition: an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women. In the United States, these minority groups include African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Alaskan Natives, and immigrants. In general, affirmative action is intended to benefit groups that are thought to have suffered from discrimination. However, critics argue that some groups benefit from affirmative action because of their political influence. In this essay, I will show that quotas and mandatory preferences not only violate our rights as individual citizens, but also are unnecessary, and why they should be abolished.

The term affirmative action was first used in an order issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 that required businesses with U.S. government contracts to treat their employees without regard to race, ethnic origin, religion, or gender. However, later on the government asked the businesses to consider the race and gender of their employees to ensure that the mix of people on their staffs reflected the mix in the local work force. In addition, a fixed share of federal contracts were set aside for businesses owned by women or minorities. Many state and local governments, as well as numerous businesses and schools, created their own affirmative-action programs. Since the 1970’s, controversy over affirmative action has developed. People disaccord about how to achieve the goal of nondiscrimination. Even though, some claim temporary preferences are necessary to achieve equality, others believe quotas, mandatory preferences, and other affirmative action policies unfairly affect the right of individuals to be treated according to their abilities. People also disagree about which groups are entitled to affirmative action and for how long (LaNoue).

The reasons used by proponents like redressing past injustice and educational diversity are not proper and they harm the society instead of helping it to prosper (Puddington 70-83). Affirmative action in the United States is meant to provide jobs for blacks in formerly closed fields. Correcting a past injustice is admirable, but requiring an employer to provide black faces in order to fill a quota is unfair both to employers and to employees. It puts productivity at risk, as well as the self-esteem and potential for personal growth for those who are being helped (Almasi 4). Proponents also consider that educational diversity is an important reason behind affirmative action and giving preferences to minority students in schools is a way of achieving it. But the preferences remove from bad schools any incentive to improve, since their students are guaranteed places in good colleges irrespective of their own standards (O Sullivan 22). In fact, to bring onto college campuses students whose academic abilities have been severely damaged by the conditions in which they have been forced to learn would be a recipe for failure (Carter 438). All these students need is a training to be successful in the real world and not just a push, favor, or preference that will force them into being a failure later on.

The proponents suggest changing the race-based affirmative action into the class-based affirmative action that would not arouse any hostility. But it makes very little sense in an area of admission to colleges, universities, and professional schools. We already have a huge and expensive system of federal loans to make it possible for those without parental or their own income to get higher education. One can imagine covering all costs for higher education for everyone, it would be immense. The only effect of preference on ground of class could be to increase the number of poor whites and Asians in institutions of higher education, and to reduce the number of blacks (Glazer 444-45). Class-based program would only serve the most disadvantaged Americans. But this solution is not as simple as it may sound. A form of reverse discrimination would still occur, and there would be victims who are passed over regardless of how well they qualified for the school or job (Guernsey 95). Therefore, class-based affirmative action would not help all the minorities in achieving a higher education.

As one climbs toward professional success, at some point the preferences must fall away entirely. When the student has shown what he or she can do, the rationale for a preference at the next level is slimmer. So, an even slighter affirmative action preference for professional school admission, while possibly justified on similar grounds, is less important, and a little bit harder to defend, than a program at the college level (Carter 440). Also, a person who has good college achievement does not need to depend on any favor in order to be successful in future.

affirmative action has always been what might be called iconographic public policy policy that ostensibly exists to solve a social problem but actually, functions as an icon for the self-image people hope to gain by supporting the policy (Steele 441).

In the quote, Steele means that affirmative action appears to solve the inequality, but instead it makes people see how unequal they actually are. The deleteriousness of an iconographic social policy is that one cannot be against it without appearing to be against what it intends to represent. The white man who opposes affirmative action looks like a racist and the black looks like an Uncle Tom. This kind of policies cause to last indefinitely by hiding behind what they represent.(442).

The central idea of compensation behind the affirmative action is no longer justifiable. Many people have realized that even though affirmative action has been successful and beneficiary in the past, but today it has completely lost it purpose to compensate the hurt ones and instead has raised racial tensions. It had many adverse affects on the society over last few decades and people have seen enough of them to finally raise their voice against it. One example of this could be the public poll in which 54 percent of the respondents favored the affirmative action as being good for the country. But when affirmative action was outlined as mandatory preferences, 75 percent of them resisted it. The reason behind this reaction is that people consider quotas as an infringement of the ideal that people should be judged as individuals, not as members of a group (Rottenberg 435).

In 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a federal program requiring preference based on a person’s race is unconstitutional unless the preference is designed to make up for specific instances of past discrimination. This meant that affirmative action could no longer be used to counteract racial discrimination by society as a whole, but must be aimed at eliminating specific problems. In 1989, the court had made a similar decision regarding state and local programs. In addition, a federal court in March 1996 ruled against a race-based admissions policy at the University of Texas Law School (LaNoue).

Undoubtedly, through different court decisions and public outrage one can see why preference is wrong, intrinsically unjust, ethically confuse. It is moreover socially counterproductive: damaging to those who practice it, injurious to the society in which it breeds, and above all cruelly hurtful to the minorities who were to have helped by it (Cohen 459). No sound principles, constitutional or moral justify discriminating by race or sex to achieve some predetermined numerical distribution of goods. The defense of preferences fails because it contradicts the equal treatment of individual persons that fair process demand (457). Time has come for us to take a good look at the notion of affirmative action. We can stop it from increasing racial tensions, barriers, unconstitutional favors, and hostility or we can wait, not take action against it and suffer its destructive consequences in future. It is a choice we have to make right now before it is too late.

Affirmative action. Merriam-Webster s Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. 1995.

Almasi, David. For Our Children’s Future, Replace Affirmative Action. The

Jacksonville Free Press. 30 June 1999: 4.

Carter, Stephen L. Racial Justice on the Cheap. Elements of Argument. Annette T. Rottenberg.

Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s, 2000. 436-41.

Cohen, Carl. Testimony before a Congressional Committee. Elements of Argument. Annette

T. Rottenberg. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s, 2000. 455-59.

Glazer, Nathan. Race, Not Class. Elements of Argument. Annette T. Rottenberg.

Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s, 2000. 443-46.

Guernsey, JoAnn Bren. Affirmative Action: A Problem or a Remedy? Minneapolis: Lerner,

Jones, Lee. Universities Need to Take a Stand and Defend Affirmative Action. Black Issues in

Higher Education April 2000: 42.

LaNoue, George R. Affirmative Action. World Book Millennium 2000. CD-ROM. IVID:

O Sullivan, John. Preferences for (Almost) All. National Review July 2000: 22-24.

Puddington, Arch. Affirmative Action Should Be Eliminated. Affirmative Action. Ed. A. E.

Sadler. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1996. 70-83.

Rottenberg, Annette T. Elements of Argument. Minneapolis: Lerner, Boston: Bedford/St.

Martin s, 2000. 435-36.

Steele, Shelby. Affirmative Action Must Go. Elements of Argument. Annette T. Rottenberg.

Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s, 2000. 441-43.

Affirmative Action Essay, Research Paper Affirmative Action? Affirmative

Affirmative Action Essay, Research Paper

Affirmative action was orginally designed to help minorities, but women-especially white

women-have made the greatest gains as a result of these programs?(Gross, 1996). Affirmative action is a

growing argument among our society. It is multifaceted and very often defined vaguely. Many people

define affirmative action as the ability to strive for equality and inclusiveness. Others might see it

as a quote-based system for different minority groups. I agree and support affirmative actions in that

individual?s should be treated equally. I feel affirmative action as an assurance that the best

qualified person will receive the job.

Is affirmative action fair? In 1974, a woman named Rose was truned down for a supervisory job in

favor of a male. She was told that she was the most qualified person, but the position was going to be

filled by a man, because he had a family to support. Five years before that, when Rose was about to fill

an entry-level position in banking, a personnel officer outlined the woman?s pay scale, which was $25 to

$50 month less than what men were being payed for the same position. Rose was furious because she felt

this was descriminating to her. She confronted the personnel officer and he saw nothing wrong with it.

Thanks to affirmative action today things like these situations are becoming more rare and/or corrected

more quickly. Affirmative action has definately helped women and minorities in their careers, but it has

yet to succed in the goal of equality to the fullest for the business world to woment and minorities.

Some observers argue that women have made huge strides!

with the help of affirmative action. They now hold 40 percent of all corporate middle-management jobs,

and the number of women-owned businesses has grown by 57 percent since 1982?(Blackwood, 1995).

Affirmative action was desinged to give qualified minorities a chance to compete on equal

footing with Whites? (Chappell, 1995). Equal opportunities for the blacks, for the most part, has

remained more wishful-thinking than fact. Black students are continuing to struggle to seek an

education, black business owners are still competing against their White counterparts, and black workers

are experienceing an unemployment rate twice that of Whites and hold dead-end, labor-intensive,

low-paying jobs. Few can argue that racism is still rampant in awarding craontcts, jobs, and

educational opportunities, eventhough it?s been proven benefical to have peop[le of different races with

different ideas and different experiences working toward the same goal? (Chappell, 1995).

The employment outlook for minorities is grim, but not hopeless. We definaltely need affirmative

action to overcome the disparities of employment that exist int his country. A recent Urban Benchmarks?

study found that of 71 metro areas surveyed nationwide, Pittsburgh had the highest rate of

employment-related problems among non-Hispanic whites between the ages of 25 and 54 and the sixth highest

rate among African Americans in the same age group. We have a lot of problems with basic education here

and if you don?t have basic education, you have no chance of getting a good job because competition is

increasing for everyone. We must make sure that we educate our potential work force, including

minorities, or our competitive edge, if we have one, will continue to decline in golbal markets. Many

jobs today are in the technician and technologist area. Jobs require more than a high-school

diploma,but less than a four-year degree–such as an associate degree or certificate fro!

m a vocational or trade school? (Kovatch, 1996). As more and more women faced discrimination in large

firms, more decided to strike out on their own.

In conclusion, most Americans know that the deck is stacked against poor kids. They also realize

that, because of past discrimination, an extraordinary number of those facing unequal opportunities are

black. So, while 75 percent of Americans oppose racial preferences, according to a 1995 Washington

Post/ABC poll, two-thirds with to ?change? affirmative actionprograms rather than ?do away with them

entirely. But the public also realized that, in real life, the legacy of discrimination is not always

so neat. It is diffuse, and it requires a broader remedy.

Affirmative Action Essay Research Paper Affirmative ActionColor

Affirmative Action Essay Research Paper Affirmative ActionColor

Color of skin in not relevant in public affairs.

In recent times, virtually every great political leader has recognized the truth of affirmative action. But, what is affirmative action one might ask? According to Merriam-Webster s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition: an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women. In the United States, these minority groups include African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, Alaskan Natives, and immigrants. In general, affirmative action is intended to benefit groups that are thought to have suffered from discrimination. However, critics argue that some groups benefit from affirmative action because of their political influence. In this essay, I will show that quotas and mandatory preferences not only violate our rights as individual citizens, but also are unnecessary, and why they should be abolished.

The term affirmative action was first used in an order issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 that required businesses with U.S. government contracts to treat their employees without regard to race, ethnic origin, religion, or gender. However, later on the government asked the businesses to consider the race and gender of their employees to ensure that the mix of people on their staffs reflected the mix in the local work force. In addition, a fixed share of federal contracts were set aside for businesses owned by women or minorities. Many state and local governments, as well as numerous businesses and schools, created their own affirmative-action programs. Since the 1970’s, controversy over affirmative action has developed. People disaccord about how to achieve the goal of nondiscrimination. Even though, some claim temporary preferences are necessary to achieve equality, others believe quotas, mandatory preferences, and other affirmative action policies unfairly affect the right of individuals to be treated according to their abilities. People also disagree about which groups are entitled to affirmative action and for how long (LaNoue).

The reasons used by proponents like redressing past injustice and educational diversity are not proper and they harm the society instead of helping it to prosper (Puddington 70-83). Affirmative action in the United States is meant to provide jobs for blacks in formerly closed fields. Correcting a past injustice is admirable, but requiring an employer to provide black faces in order to fill a quota is unfair both to employers and to employees. It puts productivity at risk, as well as the self-esteem and potential for personal growth for those who are being helped (Almasi 4). Proponents also consider that educational diversity is an important reason behind affirmative action and giving preferences to minority students in schools is a way of achieving it. But the preferences remove from bad schools any incentive to improve, since their students are guaranteed places in good colleges irrespective of their own standards (O Sullivan 22). In fact, to bring onto college campuses students whose academic abilities have been severely damaged by the conditions in which they have been forced to learn would be a recipe for failure (Carter 438). All these students need is a training to be successful in the real world and not just a push, favor, or preference that will force them into being a failure later on.

The proponents suggest changing the race-based affirmative action into the class-based affirmative action that would not arouse any hostility. But it makes very little sense in an area of admission to colleges, universities, and professional schools. We already have a huge and expensive system of federal loans to make it possible for those without parental or their own income to get higher education. One can imagine covering all costs for higher education for everyone, it would be immense. The only effect of preference on ground of class could be to increase the number of poor whites and Asians in institutions of higher education, and to reduce the number of blacks (Glazer 444-45). Class-based program would only serve the most disadvantaged Americans. But this solution is not as simple as it may sound. A form of reverse discrimination would still occur, and there would be victims who are passed over regardless of how well they qualified for the school or job (Guernsey 95). Therefore, class-based affirmative action would not help all the minorities in achieving a higher education.

As one climbs toward professional success, at some point the preferences must fall away entirely. When the student has shown what he or she can do, the rationale for a preference at the next level is slimmer. So, an even slighter affirmative action preference for professional school admission, while possibly justified on similar grounds, is less important, and a little bit harder to defend, than a

program at the college level (Carter 440). Also, a person who has good college achievement does not need to depend on any favor in order to be successful in future.

affirmative action has always been what might be called iconographic public policy policy that ostensibly exists to solve a social problem but actually, functions as an icon for the self-image people hope to gain by supporting the policy (Steele 441).

In the quote, Steele means that affirmative action appears to solve the inequality, but instead it makes people see how unequal they actually are. The deleteriousness of an iconographic social policy is that one cannot be against it without appearing to be against what it intends to represent. The white man who opposes affirmative action looks like a racist and the black looks like an Uncle Tom. This kind of policies cause to last indefinitely by hiding behind what they represent.(442).

The central idea of compensation behind the affirmative action is no longer justifiable. Many people have realized that even though affirmative action has been successful and beneficiary in the past, but today it has completely lost it purpose to compensate the hurt ones and instead has raised racial tensions. It had many adverse affects on the society over last few decades and people have seen enough of them to finally raise their voice against it. One example of this could be the public poll in which 54 percent of the respondents favored the affirmative action as being good for the country. But when affirmative action was outlined as mandatory preferences, 75 percent of them resisted it. The reason behind this reaction is that people consider quotas as an infringement of the ideal that people should be judged as individuals, not as members of a group (Rottenberg 435).

In 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a federal program requiring preference based on a person’s race is unconstitutional unless the preference is designed to make up for specific instances of past discrimination. This meant that affirmative action could no longer be used to counteract racial discrimination by society as a whole, but must be aimed at eliminating specific problems. In 1989, the court had made a similar decision regarding state and local programs. In addition, a federal court in March 1996 ruled against a race-based admissions policy at the University of Texas Law School (LaNoue).

Undoubtedly, through different court decisions and public outrage one can see why preference is wrong, intrinsically unjust, ethically confuse. It is moreover socially counterproductive: damaging to those who practice it, injurious to the society in which it breeds, and above all cruelly hurtful to the minorities who were to have helped by it (Cohen 459). No sound principles, constitutional or moral justify discriminating by race or sex to achieve some predetermined numerical distribution of goods. The defense of preferences fails because it contradicts the equal treatment of individual persons that fair process demand (457). Time has come for us to take a good look at the notion of affirmative action. We can stop it from increasing racial tensions, barriers, unconstitutional favors, and hostility or we can wait, not take action against it and suffer its destructive consequences in future. It is a choice we have to make right now before it is too late.

Affirmative action. Merriam-Webster s Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. 1995.

Almasi, David. For Our Children’s Future, Replace Affirmative Action. The

Jacksonville Free Press. 30 June 1999: 4.

Carter, Stephen L. Racial Justice on the Cheap. Elements of Argument. Annette T. Rottenberg.

Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s, 2000. 436-41.

Cohen, Carl. Testimony before a Congressional Committee. Elements of Argument. Annette

T. Rottenberg. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s, 2000. 455-59.

Glazer, Nathan. Race, Not Class. Elements of Argument. Annette T. Rottenberg.

Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s, 2000. 443-46.

Guernsey, JoAnn Bren. Affirmative Action: A Problem or a Remedy? Minneapolis: Lerner,

Jones, Lee. Universities Need to Take a Stand and Defend Affirmative Action. Black Issues in

Higher Education April 2000: 42.

LaNoue, George R. Affirmative Action. World Book Millennium 2000. CD-ROM. IVID:

O Sullivan, John. Preferences for (Almost) All. National Review July 2000: 22-24.

Puddington, Arch. Affirmative Action Should Be Eliminated. Affirmative Action. Ed. A. E.

Sadler. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1996. 70-83.

Rottenberg, Annette T. Elements of Argument. Minneapolis: Lerner, Boston: Bedford/St.

Martin s, 2000. 435-36.

Steele, Shelby. Affirmative Action Must Go. Elements of Argument. Annette T. Rottenberg.

Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s, 2000. 441-43.

Affirmative Action 9 Essay Research Paper Affirmative

Affirmative Action 9 Essay Research Paper Affirmative

Affirmative Action 9 Essay, Research Paper Affirmative action is a growing argument among our society. It is multifaceted and very often defined vaguely. Some can define affirmative action as the ability to strive for equality and inclusiveness. Others might see it as a quota-based system for different minority groups. “Affirmative action was originally designed to help minorities” (Gross, 1996). Is affirmative action fair? Are minority groups on equal footing? Is gaining employment for minorities difficult? Is education easily obtained for the minority groups of people? Affirmative action endeavors to answer all these questions, while allowing society to believe harmony exists. “Affirmative action was originally designed to help minorities, but women, especially white

women, have made the greatest gains as a result of these programs” (Boston, 1996). Is affirmative action fair? In 1974, a woman named Rose was turned down for a supervisory job in favor of a male. She was told that she was the most qualified person, but the position was going to be filled by a man, because he had a family to support. Five years before that, when Rose was about to fill an entry-level position in banking, a personnel officer outlined the woman’s pay scale, which was $25 to $50 a month less than what men were being paid in the same position. Rose was furious because she felt this was discriminating to her. She confronted the personnel officer and he saw nothing wrong with it. In 1977, a woman working for a company as a clerk was informed that she should be at

home raising a family. She allowed the comments to persist until she was given two weeks notice that her position was no longer available. Upon leaving the position she learned the company had given the clerk position to a man because he had a family to support. Thanks to affirmative action, situations like the ones mentioned are becoming less frequent and employers are correcting these situations quickly and efficiently. Affirmative action has definitely helped women and minorities in their careers, but it has yet to succeed in the goal of equality in the business world for women and minorities. As more and more women are faced with discrimination in large firms, more have decided to strike out on their own. “Observers argue that women have made huge strides with the help of

affirmative action. They now hold 40 percent of all corporate middle-management jobs, and the number of women-owned businesses has grown by 57 percent since 1982″ (Dundul, 1995). “Affirmative action was designed to give qualified minorities a chance to compete on equal footing with Whites” (Chappell, 1995). Equal opportunities for the African Americans, for the most part, has remained more wishful-thinking than fact. African American students are continuing to struggle for an education. In society today, many educational institutions offer scholarships for minorities. Ethnic minority students can further their education from the elementary level to the Ph.D level. However, for a minority student, all the financial assistance in the world, is not going to pay for the racial

discrimination that they may receive, while attending a white educational facility. In 1982 a young African American man had been accepted into an Ivy league institution. His family were proud of his achievements and his ability to become someone great. As time progressed, our African American student dressed like a black, walked like a black, looked like a black, but to keep well with his professors talked, and acted like his white counterparts. Equal opportunities for African Americans continue to be hard work and wishful-thinking. African American business owners are still competing against their White counterparts. Society labels and stereotypes certain ethic people. For example, when a person enters an electronic store and the owner is white, the person shopping continues to

Against Affirmative Action Research Paper

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Affirmative Action Research Paper Sample Research Paper on Against Affirmative Action

Abstract
Affirmative action is an important issue inside as well as outside the courts. In general, affirmative action means minorities are preferably admitted to universities or employed in government and businesses (Messerli, 2003). Emphasizing a particular attention on jobs and higher education, affirmative action policies require that proper actions must be taken to ensure that blacks and other minorities along with whites receive the same possibilities for promotions, salary increases, career advancement, school admissions, scholarships, and financial aid (Brunner, n.d.). The policies were also intended to decrease the level of discrimination among disadvantaged minorities. The programs of affirmative action had a success. But now there many debates about the reasonableness of the affirmative action policies and these policies cause more problems then they can decide.

Introduction
In the USA affirmative action policies helped to increase possibilities for minorities to be hired and promoted, to be admitted to colleges and to be awarded by government contracts. “Minorities” means any underrepresented group defined by race, ethnicity, or gender. In general, affirmative action policies has been implemented by governments, businesses, or educational institutions to decrease the level of discrimination against a particular group by a specific entity (eg. a corporation), or by society in the whole.

Up to the middle of the 1960s for many blacks and other racial minorities it was illegal to get many jobs and to enter colleges. Although women were seldom legally forbidden to receive jobs or study in the universities, many educational institutions did not admit them and many employers did not hire them. The first modern legal act that prevent these barriers was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination in public accommodations and employment (Finkelman, 2004). A part of this act known as Title VII banned discrimination in employment and it promoted the further development of affirmative action (Finkelman, 2004). Now affirmative action policy causes many positive and negative debate. The task of this paper is to illustrate the arguments that were put forward against affirmative action and to focus on the major cases against affirmative action which took places in the court.

Affirmative Action
The term affirmative action was first offered by President John F. Kennedy in a 1961 executive order for federal contractors to unite the workforces on projects without regard to race, creed, color or national origin (Finkelman, 2004). It was the first step in creating “color-blind” laws. However, many people did not believe that simply ending a long-standing discrimination policy will work. They considered that affirmative actions must be taken to increase equality among people.

President Richard Nixon was the first to implement federal policies designed to guarantee minority hiring. Responding to continuing racial inequalities in the workforce, in 1969 the Nixon administration developed the Philadelphia Plan, requiring that contractors on federally assisted projects set specific goals for hiring minorities. Federal courts upheld this plan in 1970 and 1971.

So from the 1960s affirmative action in USA has been much controversial issue. Supporters argue that affirmative action policies are the only way to have an integrated society with equal opportunity in jobs, education, and other benefits for all segments of society. They believe that these policies will help to integrate many fields previously inaccessible for women and minorities because of discrimination policy.
Critics are against that affirmative action policy, which give preference to people of the specific group, and they consider that such policy violates the principle that all individuals are legally equal. These critics believe that affirmative action in form of reverse discrimination unfairly discriminates whites and men from being hired or promoted.

So, affirmative action is a very controversial issue and according to the task of this paper the next parts of this essay will be devoted to the consideration of the arguments and cases which were made against affirmative action.

Arguments against Affirmative Action
Today affirmative action is considered to be an attempt to achieve an equal treatment by treating people unequally (“Affirmative Action”, n.d.).

Affirmative Action is a moral and political problem which divides Americans more than it integrates them. On the one hand are those American who consider affirmative action as a program aimed to decrease racism and change the consequenses of past and present discrimination; on the other hand are those American who simply see it as another form of discrimination which gives some privileges to one group in dependence of the skin color (Cline, n.d.).

Probably the most controversial question in this debate lies in the sphere of education and colleges admission because it is right here people start their lives and careers. It is also another situation when you feel that you have been discriminated against when you are denied admission.

There are many arguments against affirmative action and the most important among them are the following (“Arguments Against Affirmative Action”, n.d.):

  1. Affirmative Action deals with racial preference, which is discriminatory. Justice requires to treat people equally, without taking into account race, sex, or national origin.
  2. Affirmative Action admits lower or even no standards of excellence. The only excellence standard under affirmative action is skin color, gender, and ethnicity.
  3. Affirmative Action completely deals with quotas. Liberals argue that “minorities are under-represented group” in colleges, universities, and in other career fields. That is why the playing field should be leveled on the basis of racial or gender quotas. Affirmative Action does not lead to other criterion such as test scores, grades, or experience if they don’t cause diversity. But quotas have been recognized as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  4. Affirmative Action is reverse discrimination, because some believe that only whites are racists since the time they received power, but the others say that it is impossible to discriminate against whites, even if an affirmative action program does not include whites, or shows them as under-represented group. It certainly looks like discrimination.
  5. Discrimination against whites does not forbid discrimination against minorities. It only creates the other form of discrimination. It means that affirmative action is legal discrimination.
    Affirmative Action does not allow to make choice among equal candidates and it is even never discussed.

Thus, for minorities there is no any conditions to become truly competitive.

The other arguments agains affirmative action(“Affirmative Action”, n.d.) claim that inequalities must be not essential if other factors such as age, years of experience in workforce, education or cognitive ability are taken into consideration. But it is impossible to decrease inequalities without eliminating freedom and diversity. The other negative side of affirmative action that it benefits from the most advantaged of the particular groups. In turn, it has not big influence on the least advantaged, but it may even negatively effect if to create an underclass by splitting them into groups. Also the costs are paid not by the most privileged, but by the least succeeding. Many people who receive benefits are generally well-off, but those who suffer are not rich.

So, affirmative action policies in reality do not help to their intended beneficiaries. That is why the preferential treatment based on minority status should be eliminated. (Messerli, 2003).

In the further cases the Supreme Court supported the constitutionality of affirmative action, but it restricted its implementation. The Court’s ruling in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) announced that it was unconstitutional to provide a quota system by reserving a definite number of places for minorities in the classes in the medical school of the University of California at Davis (Brunner, n.d.). However, the ruling supported the right of schools to take into account such factors as race, ethnicity, gender, and economic status evaluating applicants. In United Steelworkers v. Weber (1979) the Court took decision that a short-term voluntary training program that gave preference to minorities was constitutional. The Court ruled that this program did not illegally restrict the benefits of whites. In Fullilove v. Klutznick (1980) the Court supported a provision of the Public Works Employment Act of 1977, which provided a 10 percent “set-aside” for hiring minority contractors on federal public projects. The main part of the justices considered that the Congress of the United States has special rights to decresae the level of past and present discrimination in the federal contracts awarding.

Conservative justices appointed to the Supreme Court by Republican presidents in the 1980s and 1990s have tried to restrict the possibilities of affirmative action policy. But the Court rejected a great number of affirmative action programs and recognized them as unfair or too broad. In Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education case (1986) the Court rejected an application to defend minority teachers from layoffs at the expense of white senior teachers. In Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co. Case (1989) the Court struck down a local set-aside program for minority contractors, saying that local government authorities do not have the same right as Congress to order such programs. The Court in Ward’s Cove Packing Company v. Antonio case (1989) revised the standards ratified by the 1971 Griggs decision. The Ward’s Cove decision required that employees working with filing of discrimination processes show that certain hiring practices have led to racial discrimination in the workplace. Even if this could be possible to demonstrate, these hiring practices would be still legal if they served “legitimate employment goals of the employer.” (Finkelman, 2004).

These Court’s rulings were not the last one and they did not show the finish of affirmative action. In Metro Broadcasting v. Federal Communications Commission case (1990) the Court supported federal laws about increase of the number of radio and television stations owned by minority. But at that time Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which supported antidiscrimination laws and much changed the Ward’s Cove decision. In another Court case, Adarand Constructors v. Peña (1995), the majority confirmed that affirmative action programs were constitutional (“Rethinking Equality in the Global Society”, 2002)

In the mid-1990s politicians and some groups began successfully attack affirmative action at the state level. The the University of California system voters in 1995, Washington State voters in 1998 finished all affirmative action in hiring
and admissions of minority students and in minority contracting.

At the same time federal courts began to consider cases from white students that rejected admission to state universities with affirmative action programs. In some cases, the courts have rejected such programs because they promoted reverse racial discrimination.

Similar to California, the cancelation of the school’s affirmative action program caused a decrease in minority enrollment. In Johnson v. University of Georgia (2001) a federal appeals court supported a ruling refusing the freshman admissions policy of this university. To decide whom to admit, the university had awarded a certain numerical bonus to nonwhite applicants.

However, not all attempts to attack affirmative action have succeeded. For example, In Smith v. University of Washington (2000) a federal appeals court supported an affirmative action program at the University of Washington Law School, deciding that diversity in education was a state interest (but by the time this program had been ended). Federal courts achieved the same result in Gratz v. Bollinger (2000) and Grutter v. Bollinger cases(2002), supporting affirmative action policies for undergraduate and law school admissions at the University of Michigan on June 23, 2003 (McElroy, 2004).

In Grutter v. Bollinger case the Court decided that the affirmative action program of the law school was constitutional, like it was in the Bakke case and the state had an interest in racial diversity (“GRUTTER v. BOLLINGER..”, 2003) In the 5 to 4 decision accepted by majority Justice Sandra Day O’Connor outlined: “In order to cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary that the path to leadership be visibly open to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity.” (Finkelman, 2004).

However in Gratz v. Bollinger case the Court rejected the affirmative action program used in the university’s undergraduate program. This undergraduate program had such a point system which compared applicants with minority applicants who received a large points number. The Court decided that this method was too “mechanistic” and amounted to a quota system. The Court explained that “the law school program was allowable because it evaluated each applicant individually and used race as one of many factors in deciding whom to admit” (Finkelman, 2004). Civil rights organizations were glad to see such decision because it again confirmed the affirmative action programs.

Opponents of affirmative action declared that they would continue to fight. O’Connor wrote: “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.” (Sidebar “Grutter v. Bollinger.”)

In turn, President Bush was strongly against affirmative action in college admissions. He said that the White House would appeal to the Supreme Court and argue that the University of Michigan unconstitutionally preferred African-American, Latino, and Native American applicants (“President Bush Says Affirmative Action is Divisive, Unfair and Unconstitutional..”, 2003). Bush noted that Michigan’s policy was unfair and unconstitutional. Now the Michigan court case is considered to be the most important affirmative action case in USA.

Conclusion
Affirmative action is still a source of legal, political and social discussions and a special attention is focused on higher education. Since the time when Justice Powell stated in the Supreme Court’s 1978 ruling in Regents of the Univ. of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978), “that a university could take race into account as one among a number of factors in student admissions for the purpose of achieving student body diversity”, there were a large diversity of affirmative action programs in student admissions, financial aid and in faculty employment (Springer, 2004). But in last years affirmative action programs were challenged and especially in cases at many universities of Michigan, Texas, Georgia and Washington. In 2003 the Supreme Court again appealed to the issue of affirmative action in the University of Michigan. The Court took decision to acknowledge diversity in higher education as a reasonable action for affirmative action in admissions. However, this decision as an outstanding event within many years of debate on the issue of diversity, will not help to stop end the controversy. It is expected that in the next decade legal and political challenges to affirmative action will take place again, because many colleges and universities work towards realization of the Court’s decision, and in turn, affirmative action opponents focus more attention on their legal and political attacks.

1. Springer,A.(2004, April) Update on Affirmative Action in Higher Education: A Current Legal Overview. American Association of University Professors.Retrieved August 1, 2004

2. Affirmative Action. (n.d.) Retrieved August 1, 2004

3. Arguments Against Affirmative Action.(n.d.) Retrieved August 1, 2004

4. Brunner, B. (n.d.) Bakke and Beyond. A History and Timeline of Affirmative Action. Retrieved August 1, 2004

5. Cline, A. Affirmative Action & Ethics. Index of Arguments Against Affirmative Action. Retrieved August 1, 2004

6. Finkelman, P. Affirmative Action. Microsoft® Encarta® On-line Encyclopedia 2004. Retrieved August 1, 2004

7. GRUTTER v. BOLLINGER et al. Argued April 1, 2003 – Decided June 23, 2003. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES. No. 02—241. Retrieved August 1, 2004

8. McElroy, W. (2004, June 28). Affirmative action on decline. Retrieved August 1, 2004

9. Messerli, J. (2003, October 2). Should affirmative action policies, which give preferential treatment based on minority status, be eliminated? Retrieved August 1, 2004

10. President Bush Says Affirmative Action is Divisive, Unfair and Unconstitutional: White House Plans to File a Supreme Court Brief in the University of Michigan Case. (2003, January 16) Retrieved August 1, 2004

11. Rethinking Equality in the Global Society. (2002, April 22). Washington University, St. Louis. Retrieved August 1, 2004

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