Affirmative Action


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Affirmative action caught in tale of the two cities of Boston, Massachusetts and Denver, Colorado. Since the late 1980s, race and sex-based contracting preference programs in the U.S. cities have faced significant challenges in the courts (Rubin). On February 7th, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced his plan to eliminate a 15 year old program that required bidders on city construction contracts to subcontract 15% of work to minority-owned business enterprises and 5% to women-owned firms (Rubin). That program is being replaced by one that requires bidders to award 20% of subcontracts to local businesses and 20 % to firms with less than 20 employees both categories being race and gender neutral (Robin). While this Mayor announced his new plan, 3 days later on February 10th, the United States court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit went the other direction by overturning a lower court and upholding Denver’s constructions M/WBE program in a decade-long legal challenge by locally based Concrete Works of Colorado Inc. This program initially earmarked 16% of city construction contracts to MBE’s and 12% to WBEs (Robin). In this essay I will tell you my views on the two cities and their programs. Is minority set aside programs morally acceptable, is one of the questions I will be also answering in this essay and will set out the utilitarian and deontological considerations.
One of the most heated areas of affirmative actions is with jobs. I think that Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston, new plan shows that Affirmative action works (Robin). I think that was a really good decision to equal out the subcontracts for local businesses and firms with less than 20 employees and the categories being race and gender neutral.


This plan really lets you know that the program before was discriminating in a lot of ways against minorities and women. After reading this case study I never knew that programs like this even existed. I always thought it was equally distributed across the board. Programs that have been able to give only 5 % of there subcontracts to women owned business is wrong in every kind of way. The changing of the program by the Boston Mayor, will give a lot of minority and female business owners hope for the future. Are minority set aside programs morally acceptable?

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Affirmative action programs have been set up in the best interest of minorities. This subject always comes with controversy. Set aside programs were established as an attempt to bring equality of opportunity for all to reach their dream. The minority set aside programs are morally acceptable if designed with specific rules and regulations. These rules have to be set aside not only for minorities but also for the non-minority people. People shouldn’t be judged based on the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Racism is something that I believe will never end because of the society we live in. It is better but it’s far from being over. The old school traditionally beliefs is that a woman is suppose to be in the house taking care of the kids and cleaning the house, and handling her husbands needs. As for African Americans, we are to violent, lack education, are lazy people when it comes to work, most likely to be a criminal if you are a male. These are some of the silly stereotypes that non-minority and Major Corporation and businesses have. This is the reason why there isn’t a strong presence of women and African Americans in the businesses, because this is what people believe. To me, minority set

aside programs are unacceptable, I believe that everyone should be treated equally and have the same opportunity as the next man or woman, no matter what there race, religion and color of their skin is. Minorities also have their own set aside programs. Are they morally acceptable if the programs only include minorities? Same goes for women, are all women programs that only deals with women morally acceptable? I don’t think the world will ever be at a point where the late Dr. King dream talked about.
From the utilitarian view, a well-balanced set-aside program has positive results to all members of society by giving the opportunity to reach the "American dream", thus lowering discrimination on a group that might cause a burden to its members. According to deontologist perspectives, the most qualified person has a right to the job at hand, regardless of the end consequences. As a result, discrimination against such individuals is morally unacceptable, and thus, affirmative action programs provide the steps to ensure this duty, to provide the right for employment if one is qualified, is a morally acceptable action.
In conclusion, America still has a ways to go when it comes to equality of all people. Some judges are starting to rule in the favor of the minorities and women to make programs equal to everyone and then there at the states that will not change the way they conduct their contracts like in Denver. By reading this essay I hope you got an idea how subcontracts are divided up in some American states and why I think minority set aside programs are morally unacceptable.


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