Pros/Cons of Affirmative Action

Essay by tangerinepeelCollege, UndergraduateA, May 2010

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Faiths and Values - Paper #1

March 4, 2010

Affirmative action was introduced in 1965 as a method of addressing the discrimination of minorities that continued to happen in the United States. This discrimination continued to take place regardless of the civil laws and constitutional promises to prevent it. Affirmative action was established to ensure that minorities have the same opportunities and options in college admission, financial aid, grants, and scholarships when it came to furthering their education. It was also initiated in the work place to promote fairness for minorities in job placement, salary increase, and advancement of their careers (Brunner, 2001). The issue of affirmative action continues to be a hotly debated issue in the college selection process and higher education. While there are a great number of arguments for both sides of this issue, for this paper I have selected a few of the most prominent ones.

The main issue that affirmative action was to address is the issue of discrimination among minorities. Advocates of affirmative action believe the only way to offset the disadvantages that minorities have faced both historically and otherwise, is to even out the playing field so to speak. They believe that the discrimination these minorities have faced have placed a psychological toll on them and their descendants. As Joe Messerli states, "Minorities gave decades of unpaid labor, had land taken from them, were subject to brutal punishments, and were denied most of the fundamental rights provided by our Constitution." Some bring to question because of this discrimination, whether or not minorities really have a fair shot at equality when it comes to higher education and employment. They believe that affirmative action is needed to counteract these negative effects (Timmons, 2009).

However, individuals against affirmative action which is the viewpoint I tend to...