Affirmative Action Has Outlived Its Usefulness
The goal of affirmative action is to compensate for past injuries which minorities endured. Affirmative action gives special privileges to minorities based solely on the color of their skin, not on their abilities or their financial situation. The goal of affirmative action is to remedy the injuries caused by discrimination. Yet after analyzing affirmative action one could determine that it seeks to cure discrimination with more discrimination.
According to a study conducted by an economics professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz from 1997 to 2000 the number of African American business owners has increased by 31 percent. This number increased by an even more astounding 50 percent for African American women. Also women of minority decent make up 14.5 percent of America?s private sector workforce, a substantial increase from only a decade earlier. The women in this study were African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American. Members from each group also gained employment as officials and managers. A Census conducted in 2000 showed that African American couples who stay together earned just about as much as white couples. The number of firms owned by minority women has increased 31.5% between 1997 and 2002 that?s more than twice as fast as all women-owned firms, and more than four times the national average. Further, based on recent growth rates, in 2002 there will be 14,116 minority women-owned firms with revenues of $1 million or more, and 111 with 100 or more employees.
Given these statistics it seems obvious that affirmative action is not needed for minorities to succeed in the work place. All that is needed for success is dedication and motivation.
Advocates of Affirmative action claim to support equal opportunity and the elimination of discrimination on the basis of race, gender, ethnic background or any other standard that would deprive a person of opportunities to live and work. One website stated that SAT is a test used as a tool to promote racial segregation and should not be considered when screening potential college applicants. The University Of Michigan?s admission policy is based on a point system. A student can receive a maximum of 150 points. Receiving 100 points usually results in admittance to the school. Students who were African American were automatically awarded 20 points based on race alone. Another factor on this admission policy was the score a student received on their SAT test. A perfect score on one?s SAT test was worth 12 points.
After reviewing these facts it seems that Affirmative Action is promoting discrimination rather than trying to destroy it. A student?s race at The University Of Michigan was worth more than if he or she had achieved a perfect score on their SAT test. Yet supporters of affirmative action were fully supportive of this practice.
That situation in itself is discriminatory. It?s giving special preference to a specific group based on skin color alone and not on one?s own capabilities and talents. By giving special treatment such as this to minority students affirmative action advocates are supporting the very thing they say they are against.
The officials who conducted these screenings at the University Of Michigan make sure that 10-17 percent of its accepted students belong to a particular minority group. This is an example of a racial quota. This system establishes a preconceived idea of who it will and will not admit before even taking into consideration the merits of its applicants. According to John McWhorter, author of “Authentically Black, Essays for the Black Silent Majority,” a law school applicant is 234 times more likely to get accepted if he is black than if he is white. This unjust system is still upheld by the US Supreme Court.
TV?s Judge Mathis while attending a demonstration against racial quotas in Ann Arbor said that he considered himself a beneficiary of racial quotas, he went on to say that it would be terrible if universities chose people based solely on their merit ( what a person deserves based on their abilities). “We’d have a bunch of eggheads running around. We don’t want that!” says Mathis. This man has basically said that we shouldn?t judge people on ability and it would be tragic if the most intellectually capable and qualified were rewarded for their abilities. This is an absurd statement. Logically it would seem obvious that the most qualified and able person for the job should be awarded it rather than someone hired merely on the grounds of a quota.
Some supporters of Affirmative Action claim that it?s a system set up to help those who are less fortunate and disadvantaged. Although the Hoover Institution’s Thomas Sowell has observed that preferences primarily benefit minority applicants from middle- and upper-class backgrounds. At the same time, since admissions are a zero-sum game, preferences hurt poor whites and even many Asians who meet admissions standards in disproportionate numbers. If preferences were truly set up to help those who are disadvantaged they would be given on the basis of one?s disadvantages not on the basis of race.
Affirmative Action has been said to promote equality. Bill O?Reilly says ?that’s what the goal of affirmative action is, equality of opportunity, but they feel that just automatically because the color of your skin is black that you don’t have the same quality of opportunity. I don’t believe that.? I agree with this statement to say that someone doesn?t have the same quality of opportunity simply based on the color of their skin is an insult to that person and their race.
Others theories suggest that Affirmative Action should be used to create a more diverse society. But if diversity were the real goal then preferences would be given on the basis of unique characteristics and personality traits rather than on the basis of race alone. The underlying assumption in this situation is that only minorities can add certain ideas or perspectives. This is offensive not only because it is untrue but also because it implies that all minorities think a certain way.
One woman reported that a white male friend of hers had been denied a job promotion at an ivy-league university simply because a minority quota had not been met. The job that had been promised to the man was given to a woman because the university was forced to comply with a minority quota. Now if this man had been a minority he could sued the university for unfair employment practices under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This section of the Act states that it is unlawful for any employer: “(1) to fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, or privileges of employment because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”
But to bring such a suit, he would have to belong to a class protected by Title VII: that is, he would have to be a minority.
This is yet another example of Affirmative Action?s double standard this man was denied a job based on the color of his skin and was denied protection under the law because he was not of minority decent. This man was a victim of discrimination but because he is not a minority it is viewed by some as just ?tough luck?. The whole idea of Affirmative Action is a double standard. It claims to promote equality when all it really does is create more social gaps and hard feelings between different social groups within our society.
Affirmative Action?s practices contradict its own opinions. It?s trying to justify the theory that two wrongs make a right. Affirmative Action seems to have done more harm than good and merely add to discrimination and conflict rather than solving past problems. While Affirmative Action may have at one time served a useful purpose it seems to no longer be productive and is merely a negative system creating further problems. Affirmative Action has outlived its usefulness.