Whom would you support: programs designed to rectify racism and reverse the effects of past and present discrimination, or taking steps that consider affirmative action as a mere form of discrimination, giving one group advantages of enjoying a superior status based on their skin color? While affirmative action has made immense progress in uplifting the material status of the underprivileged in society, many people have objections regarding affirmative action. Affirmative action simply means taking appropriate steps or measures to increase the representation of women and minorities in the fields of employment, education, and business, from which they have been excluded since time immemorial. While some see affirmative action as the ability to strive for equality and inclusiveness, others consider it to be a quota-based system for different minority groups. Whether it is fair or not is one of the intensely debated issues in politics over the last decade. Let us find out about the benefits and downfalls of affirmative action by browsing through the following lines.
Advantages Of Affirmative Action
For centuries, blacks and minority groups were enslaved and oppressed. The upper-class groups enjoyed all the benefits and took a large share of the cake. These minorities worked for centuries without labor wages, were subjected to brutal punishments, their lands were snatched from them, and most of them were denied most of the fundamental rights provided by the Constitution. Affirmative action emphasizes on providing compensation to the descendants for the wrongs and ill treatments done to their ancestors.
Serves As A Booster
Minority students, on a general note, start off at a disadvantageous level in college or job application process. They belong to lower income families and hence, have fewer opportunities to study in good private schools as opposed to other high-class students. Though they are equally capable of working hard and proving themselves, they are left behind due to their caste and class. Affirmative action balances these differences out.
Exposure To Varied Fields
Through affirmative action, men and women are exposed to areas of study or fields of work that they may not have otherwise considered trying their hands on. With the designing of affirmative action, men are brought into nursing, while women are familiarized to technology fields. The more the stereotypes are changed today, the less affirmative action we will require in the future.
Disadvantages Of Affirmative Action
This is probably the most significant advantage of introducing affirmative action. It tends to put an end to discrimination and unfair treatment to students/employees on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, or national origin, while in reality, the opposite takes place. Whites work harder and are more qualified than blacks. As a result, they are strictly passed over the blacks in all fields of education and employment. With the introduction of affirmative action, a poor white is overlooked by a rich minority student, simply because of these measures.
Lower Standards Of Accountability
If a minority student is able to get himself admitted to Harvard University with a 3.2 grade average, why should he put in extra efforts to get a 4.0? Such is the attitude of minority students who enjoy these benefits. There are students and employee who can push up to achieve excellent grades, but by setting low standards for admission or hiring, the accountability levels get lowered. Hard work, discipline, and achievement should be rewarded equally and not partially to people who simply belong to certain race or group.
True Minority Achievement Is Demeaned
If you hear an underprivileged person describing his achievements as a result of hard work and talent, not all will be wrong to assume that his success is due to affirmative action. Considering major professional fields, such as doctors, lawyers, business leaders, and so on, most minority people are demeaned and humiliated assuming that they achieved success on their preferential treatment. Thus, minorities are forced to work twice as hard to earn true respect and recognition.