Affirmative Action
Affirmative action policies are those in which an institution or organization actively engages in efforts to improve opportunities for historically excluded groups in American society. Affirmative action policies often focus on employment and education. In institutions of higher education, affirmative action refers to admission policies that provide equal access to education for those groups that have been historically excluded or underrepresented, such as women and minorities. Many Americans feel that the time for affirmative action is over. Opportunities for women and people of color have expanded, and many believe that the unequal conditions that once justified affirmative action no longer exist. Sadly, this is just not true. Millions of Americans continue to experience race and gender barriers in education, and employment. People who agree and disagree with affirmative action in the long run can see the same bigger picture, "Supporters and opponents of affirmative action are often characterized as debating about a single, consensually understood type of affirmative action. However, supporters and opponents instead may have different types of policies in mind when thinking about affirmative action and may actually agree on specific manifestations of affirmative action policies more than is commonly believed, (Reyna 667)".
There are many arguments against affirmative action, one being that affirmative action is reverse discrimination. Many people in our history have worked to put an end to this discrimination, "Martin Luther King stood before the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 and cried out that he had a dream that one day his children would live in a country where they would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Now we are approaching being such a country, but for those who insist upon irrationally continuing to define themselves in terms of race. What does a person's race have to do with any assessment of justice, (Goshgarian 346)"? The past discrimination against certain minority groups does not justify present discrimination against non-minorities. All people are equal under the laws of the United States of America and should be treated accordingly. It destroys the idea of a meritocracy and instead puts race as the dominant factor in admissions and hiring procedures. The best people for the position should be put there, regardless of race. Workers who are put into a position through affirmative action often are not fully ready for the task. Not only is this not good for the company, but it is also not good for these workers as well because it lowers self-esteem. Affirmative action reinforces stereotypes and racism because of the previous point. People given a position purely because of affirmative action often are not qualified, and the idea that all people of that race must be "stupid" is perpetuated. Also, it presupposes that all people of the same skin color are from the lower class, and therefore need help. This also reinforces stereotypes, and embeds them permanently into the system. Having people of different races or ethnicities in the workplace/university does not necessarily mean diversity of opinion. People with the same skin color are not necessarily the same in opinion or culture.
When there are people against something there will always be others who are not against something and support it. There are a lot of opinions supporting affirmative action. Affirmative action is a way to ensure that diversity is obtained and maintained in schools and in the workplace. In so doing it also helps create tolerant communities because it exposes people to a variety of cultures and ideas that are different from their own. It helps disadvantaged people who come from areas of the country where there are not very many opportunities be able to advance where they otherwise could not. In other words, it gives everyone an equal playing field. Affirmative action is a way to help compensate for the fact that, due to many years of oppression, some races "started late in the race." There are many situations that call for affirmative action, "Given this persistent racism, we should put an end to the fiction fostered by the Supreme Court for the last several decades that colorblindness is an appropriate response to our racial problems. Along with a growing body of evidence about