Thursday, May 28, 2009

Affirmative Action (Chris)

Affirmative Action in America
Affirmative action from the beginning has had two purposes: 1) to increase diversity in society and 2) to redress disadvantages for minorities from previous discrimination. To this day affirmative action has been an extremely controversial issue.
Supporters argue that it promotes diversity and that it offers opportunity to those who were previously shunned due to both institutionalized and unconscious discrimination. They believe that those receiving the benefits from affirmative action programs have withstood and still withstand prejudice and therefore this results in institutionalized limitations.
Opponents claim that affirmative action is an insult to our system. They suggest that it offers breaks to minorities and that it chooses people based on their social group, ethnicity, race, gender, or sexual orientation, but not on specific qualifications. They further argue that this devalues the workplace, because it means that the “best” is not being represented. They also believe that the “wrongs,” various programs attempt to right, are merely made worse, because they see affirmative action as another form of discrimination. They note the achievements of minorities and believe that said achievements are diluted when minority groups identity themselves as “disadvantaged,” even sometimes when they’re not.
There have been many Supreme Court cases addressing the issue of affirmative action in the United States over the years. Most notably in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, in which the court ruled that affirmative action was constitutional, but having a specific quota for race was unconstitutional. In other words, an institution cannot choose a candidate based solely on their race, there must be other factors included.

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