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Affirmative Action Should Continue!
Audiences: U.S. citizens who think that affirmative action should be suspended.
Affirmative action was established to practice equal employment opportunity. Moreover, in general, it is a catchall phrase that refers to laws, customs, and social policies. It intends to ease the discrimination between majorities and minorities by giving more opportunities for diverse demographic groups in various social organizations. Also, it refers to both voluntary and mandatory efforts practiced by federal, state, local governments, private employers, and schools to overcome discrimination and to urge equal opportunity into the educational system and working environments (Stephanopoulos and Edley 1995). On the other hand, it is criticized and discussed since it was established due to its has very broad influences in America society. It is not simply a legal issue, but also an issue that affects every American s way of life. However, it s just like other laws and regulations, none of them can please all kinds of people.
I am a supporter of the affirmative action. Some may say that this is because I am a student, and I need affirmative action to protect my opportunity of finding jobs in the future; unfortunately, they have the wrong thought. I am Taiwanese, and I will find my job in Taiwan where there is no regulation like affirmative action. Therefore, I am standing at a very objective position to discuss this topic with you. Of course, you can always keep you opinions in minds, but please open your minds to look at what I am going to tell you.
I. The historical changes of affirmative action
Affirmative action was first seen at 1961. President John F. Kennedy referred to his executive order that asked all federal contractors treat the applicants and their employees without regard to their race, creed, color or national origin (Pasour 1989). In 1964, affirmative action expanded its scope to prohibit employment discrimination by large employers, having over 15 employees, whether they have government contracts or not. In addition, from 1965 to 1967, affirmative action was expanded to require all government contractors and subcontractors to take it to expand job opportunities for women and minorities. Then, from 1970 to 1973, legislators evaluated and compared the affirmative action this program and status quo and made this program have more flexible goals and timetables for every organization to achieve it.
II. I-200 & Proposition 209 V.S. Affirmative Action
When I heard that Washington and California have passed Initiative 200 (I-200) and Proposition 209, which are regulations that against affirmative action, I think the residents of these two states may not clearly realize what the affirmative action really is. These regulations were passed because the supporters believe affirmative action has gone too far to protect minorities and women. Furthermore, the affirmative action causes reverse discriminations, preferential treatments, and privileges at not only work places but also schools. Proponents of I-200 and California s proposition 209 also argue that affirmative action has led American colleges and universities to use racial and ethnic as criteria to select a significant fraction of their entering classes. They also argue that because of affirmative action, companies may hire less qualified minorities or women instead of best-qualified white males.
I cannot agree! If those are true, why are most of the top level managers white males? Besides, why are women getting lesser pay than men have when taking charge of the same duties? According to the report of the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission in March 1995, a large proportion of minorities and women are locked into low-wage, low-prestige, and dead-end jobs (Murrell and Jones). The Glass Ceiling Commission reported that 97 percent of senior managers at the Fortune 1,000 corporations were white males (Morin and Warden A01). Also, in 1998, women were earning 75% of men s salaries base on the same kind of job, said by Jim Hose, a Human Resource Professor of Eastern Washington University. The general pattern of male-female relations continues in modern societies. An example like Home Depot Inc., it was suited by EEOC in 1997 because it hired women into low-level jobs, such as cashier, with little chance for advancement into sales or management positions (Lerner D3). The evidence shows that affirmative action is still needed due to society s unequal status. Most importantly, opponents argue that affirmative action causes reverse discrimination, and that is not true. A statistic shows that fewer than 100 out of 3000 discrimination cases filed actually involved reverse discrimination and only six out of 100 cases were true (Wilson 1995). When the U.S. government stars to practice affirmative action, it creates broader opportunities for all populations instead of only for white men. At this point, white males may have some impact on them, but the affirmative action is still needed when you consider society as a whole.
Another issue has been brought out by advocators of I-200 and Proposition 209, that affirmative action leads schools to select candidates unfairly. However, universities do not just look for racial and ethnic diversity when composing a class. Universities may reject some white students, but the reasons are absolutely not simply about racial and ethnic issues. According to the date, which is based on 1996 applications for ten public Virginia universities, show those universities selected applicants would consider about race, sex, SAT scores, class rank, and high school grade point averages (Mcqueen A13). Affirmative action is the regulation that ensures everyone in America has fair chances in every organization.
III. Discrimination still exists
Why did legislators established affirmative action? Is it because of historical discrimination of white people against African Americans? This notion gives those opponents a very big chance to criticize affirmative action. They argue that discrimination between blacks and whites has become history; therefore, we should not have affirmative action to deepen prejudice or recall everybody s attention to racialism. Has our society become equal without discrimination? I don t believe that someone is so na ve to think so. Perhaps those critics just don t want to face the truth of the status quo. There was an example on ABC news, which filmed two men that have the same education, age, appearance, and other qualities, However, one is African American and another is white. While the white got full service in shoes store, got a lower price and better financing plan for buying a car, the African American got opposite treatments. Thus, when you think that affirmative action is enough, please consider what the real world is. The truth is that there is pervasive racism in all areas of U.S. society.
IV. Four-fifth rule/Quota and Affirmative action
The most common argument about the affirmative action is that many people believe that affirmative action leads organizations to not hire the best-qualified people due to some quota restrictions, such as the four-fifth rule. The four-fifth rule means adverse impact exists if the selection ration for the discriminated-against group is less than four-fifths (or 80 percent) of the selection ration for the majority group (Ledvinka and Scarpello 143). These opponents of affirmative action argue that some affirmative action practices have involved the use of preferential treatment and privilege to achieve workforce diversity that destroyed the purity of assessing candidates. At this point, I am not going to say that there is no company that likes what they have described, but the problems occurred due to misunderstanding of those regulations. What we say about the Four-fifth rule, or simply say quota restriction, is a goal set by government for every organization to follow. So far, there is no company which hires employees base on BFOQ (Bona fide occupational qualification), that has been charged because of not reaching the goal of the Four-fifth rule. True affirmative action does not enshrine preferences or mandate quotas. Nor has any effective affirmative-action program ever been structured to allow unqualified candidates to take jobs over the qualified (Redwood 136). Everyone can have goal. By setting a good goal for yourself, even you can t reach it, you are still going toward right direction. The affirmative action and Four-fifth rule as like.
V. How do you identify the term Best-qualified ?
Can you give the best-qualified a definition? No, I can t. Actually, by using best-qualified, this phrase is usually very subjective. Different employers have different considerations under their best-qualified catalogs. Tom may be the best-qualified candidate for company A, but may not be eligible for company B. Also, Employers have traditionally hired people not only on test scores, but on personal appearance, family and personal connections, school tiles and on race and gender preferences, demonstrating that talent or desirability can be defined in many ways (Kivel 1996). As we know, many job opportunities are heard from informal networks, like friends, family, and neighbors. If there is no affirmative action to ensure that everyone has a fair chance at what is available, the segregation between different groups, such as black and white, men and women, will become more and more serious.
VI. Affirmative Action creates diversity for our environment
Affirmative action helps organizations to find diverse and talented employees. America is a diverse country; therefore, if your company has more diverse employees, your company can get various ideas, information, and knowledge to enhance your competition. Many companies, such as Mountain Bell, have commented that by instituting affirmative action, they not only made their employee population look like American, which is a diverse country, but also found more talented and skilled workers (Pendleton and Douglas 1991). Another example for supporting affirmative action is the Aire Sheet Metal, which its president, Bobby Bramlett, said that affirmative action creates opportunities with contractors who otherwise wouldn t know us, or give us a chance The work comes through relationships, but that first opportunity to build a relationship comes from affirmative action (Spencer 151). Therefore, affirmative action can let companies have various personnel to enrich companies overall human resource and enhance companies competitive capacities.
In conclusion, I just want you to recognize what affirmative action really is. Affirmative action ensures that everyone in America has an equal chance to compete with others. It is a law to minimize the gap between blacks and whites, men and women. Although affirmative action may have some impact to white males, we still need this law to balance our society by considering the society as a whole. Affirmative action is good for overall U.S. society, especially, when people can combine those diverse powers together. Affirmative action is a long-term benefit for the U.S. society. I believe every American should support this regulation.
Kivel, Paul. Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice.
New Society Publishers, 1996.
Ledvinka, James and Scarpello, G. Vida. Federal Regulation of Personnel and Human
Resource Management. Sec. Ed. Wadsworth Publishing Company. Belmont,
Lerner, Gerda. U.S. to Intervene in Suit against Home Depot. Los Angeles Times,
March 25, 1997: D3.
McQueen, Anjetta. Affirmative Action Foes Put Pressure on Colleges/UW Case Among
Showpieces For Group Charging Illegal Use of Racial Preferences. The News
Tribune; Tacoma. Jan 27, 1999: A13.
Morin, Richard and Warden, Sharon. Americans Vent Anger at Affirmative Action.
Washington Post Staff Writers. March 24, 1995: Page A01.
Murrell, A. J., & Jones, R. The paradox of affirmative action: Examining its impact and
future for women and minorities in employment. Manuscript submitted for
Pasour, Ernest. Affirmative Action: A Counter-Productive Policy. The Freeman.
Pendleton, Clarence M. and Douglas, Huron. Equality of Opportunity or Equality of
Results. Human Rights. Fall 1985. Rpt. In Affirmative Action The Reference
Shelf Series. Vol. 63. No.3. New York: HW Wilson, 1991. 7-17.
Redwood, A Rene. I m an affirmative-action baby and proud! Essence; New York.
Jan 1999: 136
Spencer, Susan. On the Front Lines. Black Enterprise. Nov. 1996: 151.
Stephanopoulos, G., & Edley, C., Jr. (1995). Affirmative action review: Report to the
President. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
Wilson, R. Affirmative action: Yesterday, today, and beyond. Report. Washington,
DC: American Council on Education. May, 1995.
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