The Debate over Affirmative Action

The Debate Over Affirmative Action: Is Affirmative Action justified?

Affirmative Action had its origin in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but an extreme discussion whether minorities should receive special treatments in society has emerged in recent decades. Affirmative Action more narrowly refers to preferential selection based on race, gender, or ethnicity. This paper will argue that Affirmative Action reinforces stereotypes and permanently embeds them into the country’s system. Therefore, Affirmative Action is not legitimized and it even reinforces racism, which still remains a major issue in our society.

This paper has three parts. In the first, I will argue why Affirmative Action has to be seen as a reinforcement of stereotypes and racism. The second part of the paper will discuss an important objection to my argument I am presenting and offer an alternative response. In the third, I will present another important objection to my argument and offer an alternative response.

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AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AS AN REINFORCEMENT OF STEREOTYPES AND RACISM                     

Minorities, who are given a position only dependent on the policy of Affirmative Action, usually do not meet all requirements for it, and the idea of Affirmative Action that all individuals under that race are mostly not qualified and therefore need special treatment to accomplish the position is called racism. Affirmative Action states that all individuals of a similar race are from a lower class and require extra help since it is assumed that they would not have the capacity to accomplish it on their own. By giving minorities a special treatment depending on this policy it seems like saying that they are unable to accomplish it by themselves. It puts minorities in the perspective that they can not accomplish their goals with their own capacities or diligent work. This supports stereotypes and racism and even inserts it permanently into the country’s system. A race-based policy brings an undesirable stigma and minorities need to work considerably harder to prove that they have earned their position. The way how individuals are placed into boxes and separated depending on their appearance is humiliating, noxious, and simply just wrong and even worse to make it a law. Race and sex segregation remain a critical issue in our nation, yet Affirmative Action ought to be about class and helping the lower class citizen, and not about race. This society still has to master many challenges and obstacles to become a nation in which each and every individual is treated equally and with the same respect, but putting Affirmative Action permanently into the country’s system goes into the wrong direction. In Steels opinion Affirmative Action causes more harm than good for minorities and underlines their inferiority. This supports that white people feel superior and reinforces racism. He states that it has the effect of “stigmatizing the already stigmatized” and legitimize it by the policy of affirmative action. There is no need for a policy, which demonstrates that minorities have the same abilities to reach specific positions and only reinforces stereotypes and therefore underlines racism. Policies and laws should not be based in racial categories and rather on class categories.

FIRST OBJECTION

Proponents claim that affirmative action is necessary to earn and sustain diversity. According to the Diversity Justification Affirmative Action is a means to increase the racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity. By exposing individuals to different believes and cultures they are becoming more open-minded and liberal. Therefore, it is important to promote diversity in workplaces and schools to reduce stereotypes and racism. Typically people, who live very separated and only surround themselves with people from their own race, base their opinion of other races and minorities on stereotypes. Proponents believe that diversity and interaction with people from different races further their understanding that everyone is equal and more or less just like themselves, which reduces stereotypes and racism. Intergroup interaction and diversity reduces prejudice under the right conditions.

However, it is ignorant to only focus on the diversity of races and skin colors like Affirmative Action does without promoting real diversity. The right conditions are not achieved and people of the same race do not automatically hold the same opinion and think alike. Real diversity is found in different interests and perspectives of unique individuals and Affirmative Action complete fails to reach that goal. Real diversity can only be achieved by letting schools and company naturally select their participants. Even though it takes time and patience, it will be more efficient in the long run.

SECOND OBJECTION

Proponents see Affirmative Action as reverse discrimination and according to the Compensation For Past Wrongs Justification as a way of re-paying minorities for past wrongs. Affirmative Action is seen as countering the wrongs of the past as an compensation for victims of racism.

However, Affirmative Action is not reverse discrimination and instead it is discrimination against non-minorities. Past discrimination against minority groups does not justify present discrimination against non-minority groups. All people should remain equal under the law and should be treated accordingly. Even Anderson claims that the burdens of unjust discrimination should not fall on anybody. The consequences of Affirmative Action affect non-minorities career paths, which results in hate against minority groups and racism.

Now I will review the course of this paper and offer a concluding thought. This paper argues that affirmative action reinforces stereotypes and therefore racism. People might think that it ensures diversity, which helps to overcome stereotypes. The diversity that affirmative action achieves is not real diversity and only focuses on skin colors instead of unique individuals. It also furthers racism by the actual discrimination of majority groups. Other policies need to be adopted, which should not focus on race and rather on class.

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