Affirmative Action in America
Affirmative action -- two words that can bring about emotionally charged
debate on the validity of this policy. Is it a fair practice, as proponents
argue, or simply a form o reverse discrimination? It's not always been easy
to decide on this issue -- for the Supreme Court or society. As its
intended, affirmative action means that people from a particular group
should enjoy special consideration or benefits in job placement or college
admissions. Usually, when one speaks of affirmative action, it is in
relation to racial discrimination (although women, as a minority group, are
also included), and some people feel that the government should have
unrestricted freedom in developing plans to make up for past offenses. Other
people argue that enforcing this plan is little more than an obviously
reverse discrimination, and it should not be allowed (McWhirter, 1).
The Supreme Court has placed affirmative action plans into two basic
groups - quota plans and race-plus plans.
Under a quota plan, a state or
local government has to use different criteria when considering someone of a
minority group for a job or admission to a university. There is usually a
quota for the number of people of the particular group who must be granted
benefits, based on percentage of the population. Race-plus uses as its
guidelines the particular racial characteristics of a certain group, and
this is to be considered a `plus' in making the decision on who does or does
not receive the benefits. (McWhirter, 1).
Affirmative action was designed to create an environment that is
nondiscriminatory; it means taking a second look at applicants so that
everyone who applies for a job or admission to college is treated fairly. In
theory, this sounds good.
This 30-plus year old policy was given its impetus...