Affirmative Action Essay Research Paper Few social

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Affirmative Action Essay, Research Paper Few social policy issues have served as a better gauge of racial and ethnic divisions among the American people than affirmative action. Affirmative action is a term referring to laws and social policies intended to alleviate discrimination that limits opportunities for a variety of groups in various social institutions. Supporters and opponents of affirmative action are passionate about their beliefs, and attack the opposing viewpoints relentlessly. Advocates believe it overcomes discrimination, gives qualified minorities a chance to compete on equal footing with whites, and provides them with the same opportunities. Opponents charge that affirmative action places unskilled minorities in positions they are not qualified for and

violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Since its inception, the definition of affirmative action has been ever-changing. Prohibiting discrimination in hiring, expanding the applicant pool to include more minorities, compensating for past grievances, and setting quotas have all been part of the definition. In theory affirmative action helps integrate minorities better into society and puts them on equal footing with whites; however, in reality affirmative action is widening the racial gap in America and therefore should be discontinued. When the Civil Rights Law passed, minorities, especially African-Americans, believed that they should receive retribution for the years of discrimination that they endured. The government responded by passing laws to aide them in attaining better

employment as reprieve for the previous two hundred years of suffering. To many, these laws made sense. After all, the white race was partly responsible for their enslavement. However, the individual white male is not. It is just as unfair and suppressive to hold many white males responsible for past persecution now as it was to discriminate against many African-Americans in the generations before. Roger Wilkins, a member of the editorial board at The Nation, concedes, “Affirmative action, as I understand it, was not designed to punish anyone” (Wilkins 330). It is also unrealistic to believe that giving preferential job treatment to African Americans compensates them for the years of oppression their race has had to endure. In a article about affirmative action, Shelby

Steele, a English professor at San Jose State University, stated, “The concept of historic reparation grows out of man‘s need to impose on the world a degree of justice that simply does not exist. Suffering can be endured and overcome, it cannot be repaid” (Steele 326). One of the main goals of affirmative action was to help minorities improve their social standing. To some extent, affirmative action has succeeded in this endeavor. Today African- Americans and other minorities hold more high paying jobs and positions of power than when affirmative action went into affect. However, a number of recent studies and numerous experts on the subject point out that affirmative action is more detrimental to blacks than helpful. Shelby Steele, a expert on the friction between whites

and blacks, states in a essay, “After 20 years of implementation I think that affirmative action has shown itself to be more bad than good” (Steele 223). The original intent of affirmative action was to put minorities on equal footing with whites; however, today there is a larger gap between whites and blacks than ever before. Despite the best efforts of affirmative action to shrink the economical gap, recent studies conclude, “…only 26 to 28 percent of blacks graduate from college. The fact is that after 20 years of racial preferences the gap between median incomes of black and white families is greater than it was in the 1970’s” (Steele 325). Affirmative action has been successful in giving the minority population of America the idea that they will receive better