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Affirmative Action


Affirmative Action


In 1964 Congress passed the Civil Rights Act which introduced affirmative action along with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Affirmative Action: Facts and Myths). This was during the time when blacks were emerging from the chains of segregation resulting from slavery. In this time discrimination was common and the problem of discrimination very apparent. In this era anyone that was not a white male was discriminated against on a regular basis. The solution to this problem at the time was affirmative action and the EEOC. Affirmative action is defined as a policy or a program that seeks to redress past discrimination through active measures to ensure equal opportunity, as in education and employment, which brings me to my point. The idea of affirmative action was suitable in the time period in which it was written, but times have changed and the law needs to change in cooperation. I strongly believe in the idea that affirmative action proposes, but at the same time many people are being cheated out of career and educational opportunities because of the abuse of the plan. The way it is interpreted now, affirmative action gives minorities an unfair advantage over whites. The founders of the plan developed it in an attempt to distribute opportunity equally among all of America’s residents. Now companies have quotas set on diversity in the office, and will hire a less qualified minority just to meet them. The Supreme Court’s Bakke decision in 1978 ruled numerical goals and quotas regarding ethnicity and gender illegal . In 1995 the Congressional Research Service turned up 160 laws and regulations one third of which are still enforced laws setting numerical goals and quotas. In 1994 the Los Angeles Fire Department refused five thousand white men from taking their qualifying test because the department had not yet met its minority and gender hiring goals . If a house or a building is on fire, the firefighters’ gender or ethnic background should not play a role in comparison with their ability to save people’s lives. The Los Angeles Fire Department is going to be short of able firefighters because they have not met their quota on diversity. In such cases, affirmative action is not working for the good of the public like it was meant to. Educational benefits can also be suffered which can, in turn, have long term effects. At the University of Texas Law School a minority admissions program is set aside for blacks and Mexican-Americans. When a white applicant with a 3.8 college grade point average was refused admission, school officials openly stated that she probably would have been admitted had she been one of the recognized minorities. It is not fair to qualify someone due to the color of his or her skin, ethnic background, or gender. Positions should be reserved for applicants who have the qualities to complete their duty to the best of their ability. People are not entitled to a position because of the color of their skin but rather because of the hard work they have put into working their way to the top. Another problem with the affirmative action plan is that when it was designed the founding fathers never dreamed that there would be so many people considered minorities in America. There are many immigrants that are not even American citizens taking full advantage of the plan to get jobs over American citizens. This in effect not only hurts the white citizens, but also any United States born minorities. The purpose is to correct the wrong that happened in the past, and as a result many foreigners are reaping the benefits as if they shared a history of discrimination with the blacks and other minorities. This practice continues because affirmative action is keyed towards race and ethnicity without regard to United States citizenship, which allows foreign citizens to routinely get special consideration. Stanford University sponsored a program to reward its departments for hiring more minority faculty. After suspicions grew, they performed an audit and discovered that more than half of their minority faculty were actually non-citizens. In another case James Robb states,“ The use of foreign citizens to fill minority slots may be most prevalent in university faculties and in hi-tech fields. Of all U.S. science doctorates awarded in 1993, 46 percent went to foreigners. There were 10 science Ph.D.s awarded to non-citizen Asians to every one awarded a U.S. Asian.” This shows that the intentions of affirmative action have actually been reversed and are now hurting those that it was intended for. While I do believe something needs to be done, I do not think affirmative action should be expunged all together, but instead revised to get back to its original intentions. Proposition 209 is a very good start for solving the problem with affirmative action. Proposition 209 was added to the California Constitution to solve the problem and is a perfect example of what needs to happen on a national level. The first part states that the state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to anyone based on ethnicity, race, or gender. As was stated, affirmative action was designed in consideration of the blacks after slavery had ended and segregation was still prevalent. It was designed to make right what white Americans had done wrong for so many years, and to bring the women and minorities to the equal power in which they were entitled. I believe that with a revision of the plan, the original intention can be restored, protecting the rights of those who deserve it without upsetting the balance. The revised plan for affirmative action should include the following additions: I. No person shall receive special pension because of their ethnicity, gender, or race. II. All advancements, admittances, and hirings will be based solely upon the applicant’s skill III. Only citizens of the United States of America shall benefit from the laws of affirmative action. With these revisions to the original plan, I believe that the people affirmative action was intended for will receive the protection they deserve. This will also help to prevent people from abusing the powers of the plan while eliminating the threat of unintended use. The revisal of the affirmative action plan will put an end to the dispute over whether it is hurting or helping the intended. The first revisal will ensure that no person will receive special attention because of their ethnic background or gender, which will help end disputes over who it is really benefiting. This will also help bring affirmative action back to its roots of bringing everyone up to equal opportunity. The second revisal will ensure that admittance and advancements will be subject to ability rather than race or gender. The applicant with the best ability to do the job should be the one to get hired. Also admittance into schools will be based upon the students academic profile as opposed to race and gender. The third addition will also help regulate the beneficiaries using the plan so that no more immigrants could use it to their benefit not even being citizens of the United States. Affirmative action is the right of some people in the United States, but without regulating the use of it too many people can abuse its powers and unrightfully steal other’s well earned positions. It is a great plan, and I strongly believe that everyone should have equal opportunity, but this plan was not intended for the way it is being used in today’s time. With cooperation and negotiation, together we can fix this problem that has persisted in America for so long.






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