The United States has come a long way since the ages of slavery in terms of racism. With the Civil rights movement in the 1960’s and all of the other controversies about minorities the idea of Affirmative Action is often brought to attention. The term Affirmative Action is defined as a technique to remedy the effects of existing and past discrimination and to end such discrimination. (5) The purpose of such a program is for companies to have such programs to end job discrimination against women, minorities, the physically challenged, and Vietnam War veterans. (6) All large companies with government contracts must have an affirmative action program. Companies where women and minorities are not being employed or promoted may also have to form affirmative action programs. (1) There are many arguments about affirmative action. Equality in racial terms requires that people treat each other the same without regards to their race or ethnic background. By using affirmative action as the reason for appointing positions, contradicts the idea of being Color Blind. (2) This is in direct contradiction with idea of being racially equal. How can racial harmony be achieved if we continue to uphold the idea of racial discrimination? Some people who support affirmative action programs believe that to counter the treatment of the past towards minorities benefits should be given to those people who have been oppressed. (5) The idea of a politically supported racism is not exactly what was intended with the introduction of Affirmative Action. (1) Affirmative action may have been necessary when racial discrimination was very high, but now that times have changed and the majority of people are past the racial barriers what is the need for it? Affirmative action served its purpose getting minorities into jobs. Now that it has done what it was supposed to do it is time to abolish such programs. To use race or being a minority as a way to open job opportunities or offer job promotions has an undesirable affect of cutting incentive to attain skills for the people affected by Affirmative Action. (6) This does not benefit the individual or the agency that employs the individual. By allowing this to happen, the individual knows that he or she does not have to educate or better him or herself, to attain a job or a promotion if the idea of Affirmative Action exists. Another result of Affirmative Action is the idea of having to lower standards so minorities can attain a position this is absolutely intolerable! Why should standards by lowered to higher unqualified people to try and make racial harmony? What this does to the individual is that it becomes clear that he or she does not have to try and pursue performance skills that will enhance their performance which would open them up to other opportunities. A Duke University law professor William Van Alstyne made the following comment on Affirmative Action:Getting beyond racism in this fashion is as little likely to succeed as the now discredited idea that in order to ‘get beyond’ organized government, it is first indispensable to organize a virtual dictatorship that, one it extirpates the evils that made organized government necessary, will itself just naturally wither away. We have not seen governments wither by the paradox of assigning them even greater powers. We shall not now see racism disappear by employing its own ways of classifying people and of measuring their rights.Rather, one gets beyond racism by getting beyond it now; by a complete, resolute and credible commitment never to tolerate in one’s own life-or in the life or practice ones government-the differential treatment of other human beings by race. (2)In 1987, a public opinion survey was given in California, one of the United States most culturally diverse states. This poll has consistently found that Californian residents do not prefer discriminatory policies such as Affirmative Action. Less than 30 percent support racial and sexual preferences. Although the Civil rights movement in the 1960’s started Affirmative Action, led by Martin Luther King Jr., Affirmative Action was to mainly support African-Americans. This was often the group that most people affiliated Affirmative Action with, the majority of African-Americans continues to reject Affirmative Action. (3)
The other area where Affirmative Action is now being used is college admissions. By doing this it may be necessary to lower the college admissions standards so that minorities may be admitted to the college. This has been the case in many colleges. It does not hurt the school nearly as much as it may the student. Thomas Sowell describes this idea as “mismatched” his opinion is:”As for the minority students themselves, many . . . of their academic failures throughout the various levels of colleges and universities can be traced to the systematic mismatching resulting from preferential admissions policies”Thomas Sowell was not trying to be discriminatory in anyway. What he is saying however is if the individual is admitted for Affirmative Action purposes, strictly to maintain a quota, you are harming the student by putting he or she in a difficult situation, where they may not have the necessary skills to attain success. (4) In the San Francisco area Affirmative Action is taking its toll on Lowell High School, which is a school for intelligently gifted students. A substantial amount of Chinese students who are very gifted and meet all of the requirements to be admitted to the school are rejected. The reason that they are being denied is they must make room for African-Americans, Hispanics, and even Whites, all of which have lower grades and have lower records than those of the Chinese students. This is not just a one-time ordeal; at the University of California Medical School, African-Americans and Hispanics who are admitted to the school have a lower grade point average in medical school admission test scores, than Vietnamese. The problem is that the Vietnamese are the ones being denied entrance to make room for the African-Americans and the Hispanics. (4) With the idea of Affirmative Action, employers and Colleges believe they do not have to hold minorities up to the normal standards they hold the majority. They tend to create a double standard lowering their standards for minorities and maintaining the standards for the majority. This is done to meet the quota regulated by the national government. By lowering the standards this totally defeats the purpose of Affirmative Action programs, to maintain racial equality. Thus it becomes impossible to achieve racial harmony in our society. The need for Affirmative Action is over. If an individual is ambitious enough he or she can find a job that they may want. The ability to further one’s education is all around there are numerous scholarships all around the country. As long as the individual has the will and drive to attain success then that person will attain their goals. There are so many ways to get a good education, so that the idea of having a certain amount of people from different backgrounds or cultures is over. It would be economically and socially beneficial to see an integration take place in the work force, but by putting one person’s race on top of another is not the way to do so. The U.S. Government is correct in saying all men are created equal, it is just that some people push themselves further to be better than everyone else. That is a statement that needs to be considered next time any person brings up the idea of Affirmative Action. It does not have to mean a specific race or ethnic background, but to improve the employee to qualify for the employment position. The further the individual pursues education, the more knowledgeable that person will have, in turn making that individual seem more pleasing to hire as an employee. With the persistence of always trying to gain knowledge and better one’s self will move up in the work world. The famous saying Once you’re done learning you are done that saying holds ground in the entire Affirmative Action issue.