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Affirmative Action Taken

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Imagine a person has hopes of landing their dream job and is applying for a position at a very successful company. They have more than enough qualifications but for some reason do not get the job simply because the company had to hire a woman or minority to satisfy its policy. What policy you may ask, born to the civil rights movement three decades ago, affirmative action calls for minorities and women to be given special consideration in employment and education. Affirmative action is one of the many problems with today’s society and should not be allowed to be used in any situation. This policy is intended to give both parties an equal opportunity to be a successful individual and make it in today’s society. It is morally wrong because the battle for equal rights has been won and favoring members in one group over another is totally unfair. Others see it as the only opportunity for minorities and women to rise up and obtain the same education and career opportunity as everyone else.

Before writing this paper I had not known a lot about what affirmative action meant, but now I can say I strongly disagree with its meaning. I myself had a run in with affirmative action just recently in this past month. One of my close friends received an acceptance letter from the University of Michigan and I couldn’t believe she got in because her score on the ACT test was very low. She also didn’t have very exceptional grades in high school, which meant she could have only gotten in because she was of Hispanic origin. Giving someone more rights and opportunities than others just because of a personal trait is not only unfair but totally defies everything that was fought for in the civil rights movement. Would giving someone an advantage in a situation such as education influence them not to try as hard if they were to have the same opportunity as everyone else? Robin Kelly stated: “Sadly, I run into many young people who do not have a sense of what is possible, a visi on of what this country could become. Rather, they accept the current arrangements as an immutable given and figure how best to survive within them”(80). Kelly suggests that today’s youth have no intentions of changing the world and only intend to live in it how it is. No changes will occur if we continue to live the way we are now and equal rights will grow more and more extinct if affirmative action is not brought down.

Many supporters of affirmative action see it as a gateway to increase diversity in a fair way that will not hurt anyone in the long run. It is viewed not only as fair, but it also makes up for hundreds of years that benefited whites and males. The most common misconception about affirmative action is that it offers unfair advantages to minorities and women. Many people believe that everyone has an equal opportunity, but supporters say that the playing field is not yet equal and it will not be equal until others realize it is not. In his article Roger Wilkins says: “Our national history on this subject is shot through with denials, the two most prominent of which are: first, that the treatment of blacks in this country hasn't been all that bad and, second, that the medicine required to cure it, therefore, need only be medium strong and administered over a fairly short period of time”(41). He means even though these special circumstances give more females and minorities jobs each year, they still are receiving lower paying jobs and receive discrimination in work and other places. If there were fair opportunities out there today, then this policy known as affirmative action would cease to exist.

A case that revolved around affirmative action recently occurred at the University of Michigan campus last year. Barbara Grutter, a white woman whose Michigan application was rejected, was very disgruntled when she heard the news of her rejection. She then hired a lawyer to present a case to the Supreme Court against the University’s admission policy. Many people declared that the University’s admissions policy, which uses affirmative action to select its students, is unconstitutional. Soon enough, many protests were brought about by supporters and non- supporters, which heated the issue even further. A bitterly divided federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 5 to 4 in favor of the school's race-conscious admissions policy. The lawyers of Barbara Grutter are already working on her appeal against the university, which will bring the issue even more controversy.

Politics have split this issue down the middle and it has been debated over countless times. President George W. Bush is just one of the strong political figures who strongly opposes the affirmative action plan. He recently said his administration would back a legal fight against the system at the University of Michigan, where applicants with dark skin get extra points on their admissions criteria.

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