Affirmative Action- Is it Time for The End?

July 19, 2011
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In 1961 President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order #10925, or the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity (http://issues.abc-clio.com/Topics/Display/913329?sid=913329
&cid=41&oid=0). It was a monumental achievement in the history of civil rights: legal action taken in favor of African Americans, as opposed to against them. What he didn’t realize is that by signing that one piece of paper he was starting one of the biggest controversies in the history of American politics: Affirmative Action. At the time it seemed the best solution to a very major problem, discrimination in the hiring and employing of African American citizens. Back then, it even appeared to work quite well. Though it was created with good intentions, Affirmative Action is a deteriorating practice with inadvertent discrimination and inequitable advantages. It has become apparent that Affirmative Action needs to end.
The legal efforts in regards to Affirmative Action continued even after J.F.K.’s assassination. President Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded President Kennedy, signed Executive Order #11246, which required government contractors to adopt Affirmative Action policies regarding race (http://issues.abc-clio.com/Topics/Display/913329?sid=913329&cid=41&oid=0). Even government programs were put in place to uphold and regulate Affirmative Action. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs was created and modified Pres. Lyndon’s executive order to include gender (http://issues.abc-clio.com/Topics/Display/913329?sid=
913329&cid=41&oid=0).
When they were created, Affirmative Action policies were badly needed.

Prior to the dynamic government action regarding Affirmative Action, things were not going so well for African Americans. Meeting with unfair discrimination on almost every side, they were treated as inferior to the whites. Then the civil rights movement, which “began the process of removing legal discrimination based on race, gender, and other characteristics,” came along. “But some people thought that much more was needed-” in other words, Affirmative Action (http://issues.abc-clio.com/Topics/Display/913329&cid=41&oid=0&view=print). Lyndon Johnson who greatly supported Affirmative Action, said in a speech at Howard University that you cannot enslave an entire race for centuries then “bring [them] up to the starting line in a race and then say, 'you are free to compete with all the others,' and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.” It is true that the African American race has been very poorly treated (to say the least) by the Anglo-American race; however, terrible as our actions have been, there is no warrant to allow the African Americans to now have the unfair advantage. This is what Affirmative Action can, does, and will cause.

How much has Affirmative Action affected the job transition from male to female? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that men held 892,800 more jobs than women in general in 2003, changing to 979,600 in 2004. In 2005, men had 1,021,600 more jobs than women, and in 2006 the difference ended up being 1,057,700, still men’s favor (The World Almanac 2006, 07, & 08 editions). In other words, Affirmative Action has not affected the job trends significantly at all. In fact, the figures are going in reverse, with the males claiming more jobs than females each year. Since more employers are realizing the negative effects of Affirmative Action, these types of policies are not used as commonly, therefore making them ineffectual.

Reverse discrimination is when Affirmative Action policies, intending to prevent discrimination, end up discriminating. For example, a girl in a Mississippi school district was prevented for running for a class position due to an Affirmative Action policy put in place by the district. School officials specifically told this girl that she could not run because of her race. The policy dictated that blacks and whites could run for class positions on alternating years. It is evident that policies like this can actually be discriminatory without even meaning to, even though they were created with the best intentions. Another example is a well-known legal case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. In this case, Bakke, who was at the time a white male medical student, was rejected two years in a row from a medical school that accepted less qualified, but Affirmative Action-protected, applicants (http://issues.abc-clio.com/Topics
/Display/913329&cid=41&oid=0&view=print). Obviously, any policy that requires any sort of quota or specifically outlines one’s eligibility due to their race is discriminatory, despite its intentions.
Bill Ritter Jr., who was, at the time of this quote, governor of Colorado, argues that “Affirmative Action policies are vital tools for creating opportunity and developing a diverse workforce. We should not end them” (http://discoverer.prod.sirs.com/discoweb/disco/do/article
?urn=urn%3Asirs%3AUS%3BAR). While it is true that a diverse workforce is beneficial, Affirmative Action is not a reliable enough solution to accomplish this end. Gov. Ritter also argues that “as we consider the future of Affirmative Action policies . . . we should not jettison [them] until we have a level playing field for all” (http://discoverer.prod.sirs.com/discoweb/
disco/do/article?urn=urn%3Asirs%3AUS%3BAR). A “level playing field” can only be accomplished by accepting candidates’ eligibility by factors other than race. Therefore, since Affirmative Action policies entirely rely on race, it does not create a level playing field.
In closing, though there is need for equality and consideration of minority groups, Affirmative Action is an ineffective and unviable method of accomplishing these and needs to be discontinued. Affirmative Action, or any other method of equality, would be unnecessary if people would act unbiased in the first place.

Works Cited
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Labor. “Employed Persons in the U.S., by Occupation
and Sex, 2003 and 2004.” World Almanac. 2006. Sarah Janssen. Crawfordsville, IN: RR
Donnelly, 2006. 130. Print.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Labor. “Employed Persons in the U.S., by Occupation
and Sex, 2004 and 2005.” World Almanac. 2007. Sarah Janssen. Crawfordsville, IN: RR Donnelly, 2007. 103. Print.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Labor. “Employed Persons in the U.S., by Occupation
and Sex, 2005 and 2006.” World Almanac. 2008. Sarah Janssen. Crawfordsville, IN: RR Donnelly, 2006. 97. Print.
“Is It Time to End Affirmative Action?” New York Times Upfront 16 February 2009.
“Not So Black and White.” Current Events 20 September 2010: p. 7+. Web.
Stewart, Chuck. "Affirmative Action: Overview." Issues: Understanding Controversy and
Society. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 9 Mar. 2011. Web.





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