Once again, the topic if affirmative action is being debated across the country. Some claim that it is absolutely necessary, while others claim that it has outlived its time.
Proponents of affirmative action point out that the groups it currently favors are coming out of "negative" backgrounds, which made it nearly impossible for them to succeed; thus, they deserve a positive advantage when competing for jobs or positions against others who experienced no systemic barriers to success. Without a special opportunity to enter into the system, disadvantaged groups might never be able to overcome the handicap which was forced on them by the exclusive priorities of their culture. Eventually, all should be able to compete equally, but discrimination is too recent to expect underprivileged groups to do so now. In the end, the goal is a free and equal society in which nobody gets a head start to success. There are, however, many people who are skeptical about these claims. These critics of affirmative action point out that selecting someone purely based on their ethnicity or origin actually devalues the person's real accomplishments; they also say that this devaluation ends up hurting the wider ethnic or racial group from which a candidate comes.
Another common criticism is that as a form of reverse discrimination, affirmative action keeps societies aware of the barriers that divide it and actually perpetuates alienation and resentment between ethnically diverse groups, thus increasing rather than reducing racial tension. Another concern is that affirmative action may encourage individuals to misrepresent themselves as members of an underprivileged group so that they can get a job or appointment.Finally, critics claim that racially-based hiring or appointment policies encourage everyone not to perform at their best - the underprivileged, because they may get the position anyway, and the privileged, because they cannot be hired no matter how well they perform. The affirmative action debate is heated; while most Americans favor affirmative action when it is focused on gender and seeks to make sure that enough women are hired, fewer of them claim to support racially-based affirmative action programs.
This week's Blog Topic:
Has affirmative action outlived its time or is it a policy that is still greatly needed? Make sure you can defend your point-of-view.