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Affirmative Action 2 Essay, Research Paper

Affirmative Action Discriminates

Who would have thought that the laws passed by the government to ensure

equality and to eliminate discrimination would indeed accomplish the opposite? While

there are those who are within power and choose to be ignorant by supporting and

enforcing this failed concept, there are many others who become victims everyday at the

hands of discrimination, the very problem that affirmative action is supposed to eliminate.

Affirmative action does not reward those who have the skills, the experience, or who have

worked their way up to a particular job. In actuality, affirmative action hurts everyone in

some form or another. First, it hurts those who possess the qualifications for a particular

job, yet are denied a job because of the rules of affirmative action. Second, it hurts females

who do not possess the same qualifications as males, yet are still given a job for the simple

reason that they are a minority. Affirmative action causes certain institutions to lower the

standards for a particular position, and has therefore committed a disservice towards

minorities by giving them a certain status without having to earn it. In essence, this is

called charity. Third, because affirmative action lowers the standards for a particular

position, it hurts everyone who relies on certain institutions to provide excellent service or


The idea of affirmative action and the actual use of the policy have become

completely contradictory. The simple reason why affirmative action was created was to

eliminate the discrimination of minorities. Unfortunately, the topic of affirmative action

has become much more complex because certain people, especially the government, have

lost sight of the way discrimination should be handled. It seems that the only way the

government can eliminate the discrimination of minorities is by giving a

free ride to those who are undeserving, and by discriminating against the majority

instead. In the mean time, many people, specifically white males who have worked their

way through school or through a job up to a certain position, are being told they do not

possess the qualifications for that certain position that they worked so hard for. In truth,

white males do not possess the skin color or gender to fulfill the required quota laid out by

the government. Is this not discrimination? According to the dictionary s definition of

discrimination, it is. An example of this discrimination is outlined in an essay by Wendy

McElroy, who explains that her friend, who was a white male, was passed over for a

promotion at an ivy-league school even though he had been teaching there for seven years,

was immensely popular with the students and staff, and had written a book and several

journal articles (1). Obviously, his qualifications were in good order, but the department

head had told him that the department needed more visible women and minorities

(McElroy 1). It did not matter that the person hired was less experienced and had fewer


Donald M. Stewart, president of the college board, recently wrote a memo to

members of the college board outlining an issue with affirmative action and the SAT. He

explained that some universities are under immense pressure to ax the SAT as an

admission requirement (1). For example, in Washington, the center for Individual Rights

has sued the University of Michigan on behalf of white students who allege that they were

denied admission while African-American and Hispanic students with lower test scores

and grades were admitted (Stewart 1). This goes back to the definition of discrimination,

where non-whites were accepted even though they were less qualified for admission. What

is the reason for studying and doing well in school, when in the end it all comes down to

your skin color? The University of California is considering dropping the requirement of

the SAT because of the recommendation from the Latino Eligibility Task Force, which has

a desire to see more Hispanic students eligible for admission (Stewart 2). This is where

charity comes into play.

The brief definition of charity is the giving of alms. Generally, in charity, the rich

give to the poor. The question is, does the black male who received the job as supervisor

of the packaging line want his job because he earned it, or because it was given to him out

of pity? I believe the answer to that question should be obvious. Of course, not all

minorities are poor. Then again, isn t affirmative action implying that minorities do not

have the same opportunities as majorities because they come from less fortunate

backgrounds, and require special attention? I agree that some minorities require special

attention. That attention however, should not be the taking of jobs from one race and

giving them to another. The attention should be focused on the origin of the problem,

which would be lack of opportunity for minorities. The reason there are less Hispanic

students admitted into the University of California is not because the SAT is

discriminatory, but rather because of the lack of educational opportunity, poor academic

preparation, and socioeconomic factors which do not provide the same opportunities for

Hispanics as whites (Stewart 2). You should not fix that problem by giving away other

people s jobs but rather by educating minorities and urging them to work their way up to

the jobs they want. This, of course, is a general solution, which could be discussed in great

length in another paper.

Then what about women? Women are minorities in the workforce as well. This is

true, but the solution should not be to take away jobs from men and give them to women

who are less qualified. The idea of affirmative action was to stop the deliberate

discrimination of women and to give them the same opportunities as men. Instead, women

are now being hired for jobs because they are women, not because they are qualified. I

now ask, is there a solution to this problem? Is there a problem? I believe in two solutions.

The first being if the woman is more qualified for the job than the man, then she should get

the job. I also believe if an institution requires female representation to better serve the

public, then the woman should be hired. An example of this would be in law enforcement.

Women police officers can provide a different perspective on certain situations when male

police officers may not be able to; because males and females are different sometimes

mentally and physically, a combination of these differences may prove helpful in certain

situations. Many of these situations may deal with other women, in which case a woman

police officer may react better than a male. However, hiring women just because they are

women and not because they qualify for a job, makes no sense and could prove costly in

the end.

Affirmative action is a form of charity that hurts the workforce and the economy.

It punishes people who have worked for what they have and gives other people

opportunities they have not earned. The reasons for why minorities do not have the same

qualifications as the majority is a separate issue and should not be confused with the issue

at hand, which is the discrimination against those who have the qualifications for a

placement in an institution. Unfortunately, our own leaders, who make the laws and in

whom we place all our trust, have made the mistake of confusing these two separate

issues. The question now is, can we open up our minds and try to fix what is becoming a

serious problem in this country and is really only a matter of ignorance? My short term

answer is that I hope so. Unfortunately, the immediate solution to the problem lies in the

very hands of the government which has confused the issues in the first place.

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