A concise article describing several key misunderstandings of affirmative action. Many supporters view affirmative action as a milestone, many opponents see it as a millstone, and think before you act essay others regard it as both or neither — as a necessary, but imperfect, remedy for an intractable social disease. My own view is that the case against affirmative action is weak, resting, as it does so heavily, on myth and misunderstanding. Here are some of the most popular myths about affirmative action, along with a brief commentary on each one.
Myth 1: The only way to create a color-blind society is to adopt color-blind policies. Although this statement sounds intuitively plausible, the reality is that color-blind policies often put racial minorities at a disadvantage. Likewise, color-blind college admissions favor White students because of their earlier educational advantages. Unless preexisting inequities are corrected or otherwise taken into account, color-blind policies do not correct racial injustice — they reinforce it. Myth 2: Affirmative action has not succeeded in increasing female and minority representation. For example, according to a report from the U.
Myth 3: Affirmative action may have been necessary 30 years ago, but the playing field is fairly level today. Despite the progress that has been made, the playing field is far from level. This would effectively choke off Black access to top universities and severely restrict progress toward racial equality. Myth 4: The public doesn’t support affirmative action anymore. Americans are in favor of “affirmative action programs to help blacks, women and other minorities get better jobs and education.
What the public opposes are quotas, set-asides, and “reverse discrimination. As these results indicate, most members of the public oppose racial preferences that violate notions of procedural justice — they do not oppose affirmative action. Do you favor or oppose affirmative action programs for minorities and women for job hiring in the workplace? Do you favor or oppose affirmative action programs for minorities and women for admission to colleges and universities? In general, do you think we need to increase, keep the same, or decrease affirmative action programs in this country?
Do you generally favor or oppose affirmative action programs for women and minorities? What’s the best thing to do with affirmative action programs giving preference to some minorities — leave the programs as they are, change the programs, or do away with the programs entirely? Myth 5: A large percentage of White workers will lose out if affirmative action is continued. Government statistics do not support this myth.
Commerce Department, there are 2. Furthermore, affirmative action pertains only to job-qualified applicants, so the actual percentage of affected Whites would be even smaller. Myth 6: If Jewish people and Asian Americans can rapidly advance economically, African Americans should be able to do the same. This comparison ignores the unique history of discrimination against Black people in America. Over the past four centuries, Black history has included nearly 250 years of slavery, 100 years of legalized discrimination, and only 50 years of anything else.
Jews and Asians, on the other hand, are populations that immigrated to North America and included doctors, lawyers, professors, and entrepreneurs among their ranks. Moreover, European Jews are able to function as part of the White majority. To expect Blacks to show the same upward mobility as Jews and Asians is to deny the historical and social reality that Black people face. Myth 7: You can’t cure discrimination with discrimination. The problem with this myth is that it uses the same word — discrimination — to describe two very different things. Job discrimination is grounded in prejudice and exclusion, whereas affirmative action is an effort to overcome prejudicial treatment through inclusion.
The most effective way to cure society of exclusionary practices is to make special efforts at inclusion, which is exactly what affirmative action does. The logic of affirmative action is no different than the logic of treating a nutritional deficiency with vitamin supplements. For a healthy person, high doses of vitamin supplements may be unnecessary or even harmful, but for a person whose system is out of balance, supplements are an efficient way to restore the body’s balance. Myth 8: Affirmative action tends to undermine the self-esteem of women and racial minorities. Indeed, in many cases affirmative action may actually raise the self-esteem of women and minorities by providing them with employment and opportunities for advancement.
Myth 9: Affirmative action is nothing more than an attempt at social engineering by liberal Democrats. In truth, affirmative action programs have spanned a dozen different presidential administrations — seven Republican and five Democratic. Although the originating document of affirmative action was President Lyndon Johnson’s Executive Order 11246, the policy was significantly expanded in 1969 by President Richard Nixon and then Secretary of Labor George Schultz. President George Bush also enthusiastically signed the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which formally endorsed the principle of affirmative action. Thus, affirmative action has traditionally enjoyed the support of Republicans as well as Democrats. Myth 10: Support for affirmative action means support for preferential selection procedures that favor unqualified candidates over qualified candidates.
Actually, most supporters of affirmative action oppose this type of preferential selection. Selection among equally qualified candidates. SAT score of 620 are virtually indistinguishable from predictions based on an SAT score of 630. A still stronger form of affirmative action occurs when qualified female or minority candidates are chosen over candidates whose records are better by a substantial amount.
Selection among qualified and unqualified candidates. The strongest form of preferential selection occurs when unqualified female or minority members are chosen over other candidates who are qualified. White males and conservative voters. And finally, the selection of unqualified candidates is not permitted under federal affirmative action guidelines and should not be equated with legal forms of affirmative action.