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HUMAN RESOURCE - Essay Example

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There are some dark pages in the history of our country. It was not that long ago that women and minorities were openly and frequently discriminated against. While the mere prohibition of…
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Affirmative Action Affirmative action is an imperfect solution to a very real and serious problem. There are some dark pages in the history of our country. It was not that long ago that women and minorities were openly and frequently discriminated against. While the mere prohibition of discrimination would have likely wiped out open discrimination, it would not have prevented more subtle forms of discrimination. The only way to challenge deeply ingrained attitudes and beliefs was to do everything possible to end discrimination. The only way to identify and weed out subtle discrimination is to look for equality of results rather than equality of "opportunity". It is far too easy to hide discriminatory practices when subjective measures are used. Affirmative action was certainly needed to right the wrongs committed prior to the Civil Rights Era. Quotas, set-asides, and racial balance can only be justified in this context. In the wake of the Jim Crow Era, the American people did not have the patience to let racism die a slow death over several generations. Allowing subtle forms of racism to persist may have prolonged discriminatory practices indefinitely.
While there are still people that maintain bigoted ways of thinking, I think we have come to a point were affirmative action does more harm than good. However, the only way to know for sure would be to end affirmative action and to monitor the consequences. It is perhaps for this reason that the Supreme Court has chosen to err on the side of caution and allow some affirmative action policies to be maintained for at least the next 25 years. The blatant use of quotas has been struck down, but this hasnt protected corporations and institutions from lawsuits. Just as the prohibition of discrimination has resulted in more subtle forms of discrimination, the prohibition of quotas has resulted in more subtle forms of affirmative action. Quotas will not go away until racial imbalance cannot be used as evidence of discrimination.
The problem with quotas is that racial imbalance is not just the product of discrimination. There are other confounding variables aside from race. It has become apparent that socioeconomic status is a better predictor of academic aptitude. Although there are correlations between socioeconomic status and race, it is not right to perpetuate a system where performance is not rewarded. The initial effect of affirmative action was to challenge bigoted ways of thinking. Now that those deeply ingrained beliefs have been challenged and adjusted to reality, the persistence of affirmative action is beginning to generate a backlash of racial animosity. Affirmative action must be ended before this backlash becomes ingrained in our way of thinking. Whether it happens now or 25 years from now, affirmative action must end at some point in time. When the confounding variables are better predictors of performance than race, racial balance in the result no longer corresponds to racial equality of opportunity. Racial quotas cease to be a means towards the constitutional guarantee of equality when race is no longer the driving force behind inequality.
Despite the thinking of the Supreme Court, I would argue that affirmative action and quotas were unconstitutional to begin with. I would also argue that the initial implementation of affirmative action has done for more good than harm. However, affirmative action must end at some point in time to ensure real equality. I think we have come to a point in time where racial discrimination is no longer the primary cause of inequality. I think the time has come to end affirmative action, but we will have to be careful to make sure we dont slip back into our old ways of doing things. Read More
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