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Does Affirmative Action Take Effect?

Papers are piling up on top of a desk. People are running around trying to meet their deadlines. Assignments are being pushed back to later dates. Phones are being answered, but put on hold for the next available representatives. The president of the firm puts out a notice of hire. The word is spread throughout the business community through the newspaper and the internet. Resumes are received every business day. The board members of the firm review hundreds of resumes that are received daily. They rate the applications according to qualifications and experiences. The names are disregarded at this point.

A dozen of the applicants are chosen, and notified to setup initial interviews. One applicant meets all the qualifications, and has had numerous experiences in the field. This applicant clearly surpasses all the other applicants. The commitee is very impressed by this young man. He heads home in delight, hoping to hear from the marketing firm again. Unfortunately, he never hears from them again. The main reason why he was not chosen, was because of the color of his skin. Since he is Asian, they could not hire him, because 50% of their employees are Asian. Under the affirmative action, they must employ someone who is underrepresented.

This type of situation happens often. It is not the qualifications, but the color of the skin that employers look for today. Affirmative action is a step backwards. We are back to color and race differences. We are all Americans and should be treated as so, not what ethnicity we are. Affirmative action should be abolished solely because we do not want to make the same mistake our society made in the past — discriminate according to color. Two wrongs do not make a right. Many people say that we should keep affirmative action to render fairness to the minorities because of the wrongs that was once put on to them.

This simply does not make sense. To compensate someone, a person must have gone through an experience. People today did not go through such discrimination, as their past ancestors. How can we punish someone for what they had no control? Our white society today did not commit the wrongs that were committed a generation ago. We should not punish them, but rather treat everyone fairly. We should treat everyone as Americans. As Bakke quotes the Constitution, “… The guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment extend to all persons. It’s language is explicit: “No State shall… deny to any person within its urisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ” It is settled beyond question that the rights created by the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment are, by its terms, guaranteed to the individual. ” (Bakke, p. 485)

In the past, we were fighting to abolish racial separation, but today, we have affirmative action, which still brings about the separation of the different races. We should fight for equality for all. Affirmative action affects everyone, including our children. Under the affirmative action law, our schools are currently recruiting students according to race and color.

According to a critic on affirmative action, “A college board survey, described in Andrew Hacker’s Two Nations, in 1992 the average combined SAT score for black students whose parents earn more than $70,000 a year was 854, which was twenty-five points lower than the average SAT for white students whose parents earn less than $20,000 a year. ” (Rosen, p. 3) In effect, the solution by supporters of affirmative action is to lower the school’s standards so that they can accept a more diverse group of students. This solution is ridiculous, simply because everyone has a chance to do good. It is just a matter of effort.

If a student is spoiled, and does not realize how important an education is, he will not study as hard as someone who has been brought up with education as their number one goal. Family incomes have less to do with SAT scores than the efforts students put into their studies. We should not lower our standards. Instead, all students should raise their own standards in order to improve our society. For example, the University of California in Berkeley has a diverse student body with a majority of Asians. An Asian student coming out of high school with a 4. 0 GPA, and a list of extra curricular ctivities would not be accepted simply because of his ethnicity.

Instead the school would rather accept a Mexican student with a 3. 0 GPA. Why should the student who did not study as hard be rewarded just because of his race? Nobody has the choice of ethnicity when they are born, so we should not deprive anyone when they make the effort. Affirmative action also brings about different standards in grading. The National Merit Scholarship has one standard for African Americans, and one for the rest of the applicants. This type of double standards is absurd, because black students are not graded any differently in the classroom.

This also implies that black students are not capable of handling the same material as the rest of the Americans are. This double standard, in itself, is an insult to the black community. There are many black people who want to be treated equally, without any special assistance. By giving minorities special treatment, we are simultaneously insulting them by implying they are of a lower class. As Judge O’Connor of Richmond county states, “Classifications based on race carry a danger of stigmatic harm. Unless they are strictly reserved for remedial settings, they may in fact promote notions of acial inferiority and lead to a politics of racial hostility. We thus reaffirm the view expressed by the plurality in Wygant that the standard of review under the Equal Protection Clause is not dependent on the race of those burdened or benefited by a particular classification. ” (O’Connor, p. 500) We do not want to cause any more hostility than there already is in our society by imposing special standards. Our goal is to promote unity in our society, not separation. This also affects the efficiency in our workforce. In the work place, people hired under special assistance may slow the process.

If someone was hired over another simply because of the color of his skin, and not by his qualifications, the business loses as well. They must pay someone the same salary they would have paid a more efficient employee. Lowering standards in the workplace, to accommodate a race, is a step back to poorly made products. In the 1980’s, American cars were marked with a distinction of poor quality. Since then, our cars have vastly improved, but the distinction is still planted in many people’s minds. If we lower our standards in the white collar force, we may develop the same distinction in our corporate businesses as we have in our cars.

Another point is that many people say that affirmative action will bring diversity to our workforce. A projection done by the San Jose Tribune suggests that by the year 2000, white males will make up only 10% of new hires. This does not promote diversity, rather reverse discrimination. To have a unified and peaceful society, we must move away from the separation of color lines. We moved forward when we abolished segregation, but we are now moving back by imposing Affirmative action. This is not the way to solve anything. Affirmative action will just cause more hostility between races, which in turn, can lead to hatred.

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