Free Affirmative Action Essays - Quotas are Outdated


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Affirmative Action Quotas are Outdated

 

        Affirmative action legislation has helped in the fight for equality

for minorities and women in the American society; however, time has come

for new legislation to replace or abolish affirmative action as we know it.

In affirmative action's beginning, the government needed laws to help aid

the blending of minorities and women in American economics and culture.  In

a world economy that grows more competitive with every passing day, our

quota system is a dead weight to the American businesses that are trying to

survive. Not only is advancement based on race and gender but also it is

costly and time consuming.  American's attitude toward minorities and women

is "so steep a decline that it almost certainly reflects some change from

the blatantly racist and nearly universal hostile white prejudices of  the

recent past" (Feagin & Feagin, 1978, pp. 6-7).  If America's economy is to

continue to survive it will most definitely have to hire on merit alone,

and not be bothered by trivial laws that are outda ted.

 

        The origination of Affirmative Action is from the Civil Rights Act

of 1964, Title  VI and VII.  Title VI states "no person in the United

States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or natural origin, be excluded

from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to

discrimination under programs or activities receiving financial assistance."

 Title VII states that "[i]t shall be unlawful for an employer to: fail or

refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate

against any individual with respect  to his compensation, terms, conditions,

or privileges of employment , because of such individuals race, color,

religion, sex, or natural origin"(Civil Rights Act Title VII).  These laws

can be justified by our constitutional principle that all men are created

equal, and should remain a part of our laws and thought process.  However,

penalizing  a business or school because they haven't hired or accepted the

number of minorities required by law is injustice.

 

        According to Roberts (1995), a Gallup Poll taken in July of 1995

shows that Americans agree that quotas are no longer useful.  Our fellow "

Americans reject employment quotas by a margin of 63% to 35%," and in the

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black community  "68% opposed and 22%" favored quotas" (Roberts, 1995, p.

23).  Americans today disagree with quotas because when they were implented

they were meant "as temporary bootstrap measures to help blacks advance

faster" (Roberts & Stratton, 1995, p. 41).  Quotas have done what they were

designed to do; therefore, they  should no longer be looked to as an

equalizing method.

 

        Quotas are not only unfair, but extremely expensive for our economy.

 The State Department is finding out how unfair and complicated quotas can

be.  It has tried, in recent years, to help equalize their work force  by

hiring more minorities and lowering its original standards.  In an effort

to recruit black males, the State Department "established a 'near pass'

category for blacks" (Gedda, 1996, p. A25).  This policy allowed blacks who

did not pass their written examinations to be chosen over whites who had

higher percentages on their test.  From this policy imposed by the State

Department has come a lawsuit by a white male on the basis of reverse

discrimination.

 

        While the State Department continues its troubles with quotas, our

economy also suffers.  A 1993 article in the National Review stated that "

in 1991 the direct and indirect cost of quotas...amounted to between $112

and $115 billion.  While the 'opportunity cost'...amounted to at least 4

percent of 1991 GNP (Counting Cost, 1993, p. 18).  Another example of

expensive Affirmative Action is being felt by the government itself (which,

in essence, is the tax payer).  Congress examined student loan defaults

across the nation.  Their answer to the problem was to cut federal loans to

"colleges whose students tended to default.  However, 'historically black

colleges and universities are exempted,'...creating a minority right to

default" (Roberts & Stratton, 1995, p. 44).  Who gets to pay for the

defaulted loans by the black colleges?  The American tax payer-both black

and white.

 

        Affirmative action programs have helped many minorities gain access

to jobs they otherwise would not have a chance at.  Many believe that if

these programs were abolished  the gains that minorities have made in past

decades would be reversed.  Even though reverse discrimination is the cry

from the white male, it is not that wide spread.  Minorities are wondering

how different life would be without affirmative action programs on their

side.  An article in

                                                            Quotas 5

        Business Week by Catherine Yang gives reason that affirmative

action programs are all but gone.  Yang states that "the U.S. market and

labor pool is increasingly diverse-so a company's workforce must reflect

that diversity to succeed" (1996, p. 51).

 

        To keep affirmative action programs (quotas) is simply a detriment

to everyone involved.  How do you suppose a black man feels about getting a

new job simply on the basis of his color instead of his qualifications?

The system is simply outdated for the qualified man who is passed over,

regardless.  The system is a slap in the face for the minority hired simply

because he/she is a minority.  The best affirmative action program is none

at all.  Companies across the United States should adopt the hiring methods

of the State Department.  The job openings, according to Warren

Christopher(Secretary of State), will be met "without regard to race,

gender, religion, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation or

national origin" (Gedda, 1996, p. A25).

 

        Instead of affirmative action programs, the government should put

more of an emphasis on equalizing opportunities for minorities from

disadvantaged backgrounds.  This could be done by providing more money for

education, more incentives to get off of welfare, and better law

enforcement for problem neighborhoods often associated with minorities.

While this solution may not end discrimination, it is one step closer to

equalizing the majority from the minority than the present quota system.

According to Gary S. Becker, "the best affirmative-action schemes do not

bring unprepared minorities up to the level of the students and workers who

gain their positions on merit alone" (1995, p. 16)   Affirmative action is

meeting great opposition by white males and by minorities as well.  These

programs have long since been due for termination.  The money that is spent

on affirmative action programs could be used in a more useful way by

helping bring minorities into the work force.  Men or women should not be

hi red because of their race-they should earn the position they want.  Just

the same, men or women should not be discriminated against because of their

race.  While discrimination in the workforce exist, affirmative action and

quotas are not the answer to the problem.

 


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