In Defense of Affirmative Action

Essay by MehmoodUniversity, Bachelor'sA, April 2007

download word file, 11 pages 2.0

Affirmative action is defined as a "policy that gives a preference to individuals based upon their belonging to designated groups who are underrepresented not only in the most desirable occupational classes, but also in school admissions and government contracts." Those who are underrepresented thus can be referred to as disadvantaged groups, seeing as they do not have a powerful representative voice to speak for their rights. The policy of affirmative action serves as a blessing for the disadvantaged groups for this reason, by not only adding extra points to the credit of the members of disadvantaged groups when performance evaluation is called for, but also by allocating extra funds to recruit such members of the community. The affirmative action policy may further allow for special training or counseling to benefit members of a disadvantaged group, who may use the extra education to compete effectively with members of the advantaged group.

Whereas the opponents of affirmative action claim that it is injustice to favor a group just because it is considered "disadvantaged," proponents of the policy assert that affirmative action is necessary to right the wrongs of the past with respect to discrimination and/or racism (Boylan, 2002). In other words, in the absence of affirmative action, discrimination and/or racism may very well continue in almost any if not all spheres of life.

The theories of distributive justice known as aristocracy and kraterism would never allow for affirmative action. The theory of aristocracy calls for the distribution of resources based on one's superiority or inferiority in terms of "inherited station," even though there is no scientific evidence that members of advantaged groups always turn out to be better performers in every imaginable field. The theory of kraterism is similarly poised to oppose affirmative action, seeing as this theory calls for the distribution...