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Affirmaitve Action Essay, Research Paper

Affirmative Action

On March 6, 1961 President John F. Kennedy started Affirmative Action by an order of anti-discrimination. This was created to ensure that employees were treated the same regardless of their race, creed, color or national origin during their employment. Later on, in the 1970’s the order was revised to include discrimination because of gender or sexual orientation. Today, Affirmative Action is a topic of debate in our society. It was created for us to have a society and a future free of discrimination. However, it hasn’t reached its purpose yet.

Affirmative Action was originally designed by the president John F. Kennedy with the intended purpose to help people who were once discriminated against in school and in the work place, so that they get the fair treatment that they deserved. On the other hand, some people have other definitions that they have given to the Affirmative Action law. For example, one man explains that Affirmative Action is a program that helps to prevent discrimination in the future or it helps to promote diversity. He also compares the rights with the Affirmative Action. He recognized that it is a right of every American not to be “discriminated”, so while nondiscrimination is a right, Affirmative Action is a policy to go along with that right but in itself does not necessarily do that.

Affirmative Action had a purpose. There was a big number of unemployment among black teenagers, because discrimination was still a significant factor. The unemployment rate for black people who had attended college, was 27.2% and those who had graduated from high school was 23.6%. It was higher than the unemployment rate for white high school dropout s, which was 22.3%. It was obvious that the black students were being discriminated, because the white students that didn t even finished high school were getting more jobs opportunities than blacks. With the Affirmative Action program there was a dramatic increase in college attendance among blacks. According to one college professor, the figures for enrollment in the year of 1976-77 were 50% of the black undergraduate students were enrolled in two years colleges. However the unemployment rate for blacks was still double that of whites. In 1975, the overall black unemployment rate was 1.8 times higher than the white unemployment. Affirmative Action not only helps blacks it also helps women. In 1977 the percentage of full time female faculty was 10.6 percent, and it has grow to 21.7 percent in 1987. The present percentage of law school appointments that are women has reached 40 percent. In the political science by the 1980’s it has increase over 25 percent.

Even with Affirmative Action we can see that discrimination still exist. Statistics present that while one in every seven white children under the age of six lives below poverty level, one of every two black children does. According to the 1990 census, only 2.4 percent of the nation’s businesses are owned by blacks, and less than 3 percent of college graduates are in unemployment (1993). Whites are almost twice as likely as blacks to have a college degree. There have been many arguments about Affirmative Action, Is it fair or not? Is it being discriminating towards whites? Barbara Ehrenveich, a graduated psychiatrist, agreed that discrimination is an ugly thing no matters who’s at the receiving end, and that it may be worth reviewing Affirmative Action. Competent white males should be hired over less competent women or minorities. Another article written by Richard Harwood indicates that Affirmative Action is creating a debate among white students that feel that they are being discriminated for being white, and because the school choose less competent students over them just for being black. The truth is that with or without Affirmative Action almost any high school graduate, who is able to read, write and do the multiplication tables, can go to college today. In another article by E.J. Dionner Jr., Clinton’s opinion about Affirmative Action is reveal. Clinton realizes the debate about Affirmative Action is regarding to college admissions. One of the hottest topics is the SAT scores. Clinton said that the SAT is a good prediction of success in college, but they in fact are not perfects predictions. The debate about Affirmative Action is because the law is not applied fairly. Like on the case of Debra Williams, a black teacher from the Pittston school district who was hired over a white teacher. The only reason why she kept her job was for the sake of diversity. Debra Williams realizes that she was not being judge by her qualifications, but instead by her skin color. This shows that there is still discrimination. If Affirmative Action would not exist, she would not have a job. They are not looking at her person, they are looking at her skin color. Everybody has his or her own opinion on this topic. In an interview with Dr. Saltzer, a psychology teacher at Penn State University, he gave two points of view on this debate. His opinion is that Affirmative Action does not work, and it only leads to more discrimination of minorities and whites. He gives an example where a couple years ago three minority students got accepted in Penn State University with paid tuition and they were not successful during the whole semester. Now this was a waist of money that other students could have used for their tuition. Another point that he talks about is that he knows that there is still a lot of discrimination towards blacks. A lot of times when a black person is hired for a job, it is just to fulfill the Affirmative Action plan, not because of the qualification of this person. In the other hand, an interview with Mary Blazofsky a social psychology teacher at Penn State University was quite different from what Dr. Saltzer said. She believes that there is still a lot of discrimination in this society that we live today, specially towards blacks and Latinos. It is still very hard for them to get a good jobs even with Affirmative Action, imagine what it would be like with out it.

A lot of people want to see Affirmative Action over, but what would the country look like without Affirmative Action? Nicholas Lemann a writer from the New York Times magazine, gives an idea of how America would be without Affirmative Action. Black students that go to Harvard law school would go to Michigan instead, black students that go to Michigan would go to Louisiana State and so on. The other possibility is that there would be an enormous decrease in black representation everywhere. America would have a big noticeable depressive effect on black income, employment, homeownership and education levels. Every child that is born in America doesn t get the opportunity to go to good schools and doesn t have parents who encourage them to study. Many blacks go to the worst schools and live in the worst family circumstances. So, for people to say that all blacks had a fair chance to make something of themselves, considering how unfairly the education systems have been, and based on that, to deny them jobs is absurd. It constitutes not just a denial of opportunity to individuals but a denial of talent to the society. Black America is still an extremely separate world. Blacks are by far the most residentially segregated ethnic group and the least likely to inter marry. Without Affirmative Action the gap would become even more of a problem. Many American s today believe this to be true. I feel that Affirmative Action is a program that was designed to help minorities. However, I don t believe it is being used properly, I don t think that it works to create more problems either. When Affirmative Action was created it was so we could have a fair future, without discrimination. At that time what the future was, is what today has turned into. Even though there has been many improvements in what discrimination is and how we should deal with it, there is still a lot to get done and I don t think it is going to change without Affirmative Action.


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