Exploring the Layers of Affirmative Action: Necessity and Controversy
Unpacking Affirmative Action: Goals and Foundations
Affirmative action policies attempt to dismantle the informal cultural norms and systems of group-based disadvantage and the inequalities historically resulting from them and attempt to promote an ideal of inclusive community, as in ideals of democracy, integration, and pluralism (multiculturalism), by means that classify people according to their identities (race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.)
Affirmative action seeks to compensate people for the discrimination and its effects in the past. The past discrimination is the current disadvantage; affirmative action gives its victims an advantage to compensate for their injuries. The discrimination of its blocking aims to block away the current discrimination mechanism by imposing a countervailing force in the opposite direction. It doesn’t remove the factors — prejudice, stereotypes, stigma, intergroup anxiety — that cause discrimination; it just tries to block their discriminatory effects. Integrative affirmative action aims to dismantle the current causes of race-based disadvantage — segregation, stigmatization, and discrimination — by promoting racial integration.
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Historical Leaders and Their Stances on Affirmative Action
“Affirmative action” is to ensure people regardless of their race, creed, color, or national origin.” “To Fulfill These Rights” speech at Howard University, saying, “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate them, bring him up to the starting line of a race and say, “‘You are now free to compete with all the others,” and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.” It’s saying that nobody should take a person for who they are by discriminating against them by chaining them from their freedom and liberating them. He has the right to be like others regardless of skin color, religion, or nationality of any origin. Nobody should justify the self-appearance of a person.
For example, Richard Nixon was racist. He believed that moral objections to abortion aside, the practice was justified in the case of mixed-race pregnancies. When Nixon was given instructions by the aide Nixon, he was scheduled for his appointments, and Nixon responded to the Oval Office, “Just enough blacks to show that we care” — a precedent for Republican racial engagement that stands to this date. But for me, I believe that Nixon wasn’t just racist in the sense of thinking blacks were inferior; he was racist in the sense that he subscribed to an actual taxonomy and hierarchy of race — the idea that different groups possess inherent qualities. Nixon may been racist, but he was also a pragmatist. With America’s cities beset by riots, he knew he had to take steps “not to have the goddamn country blow up.”
He also mentioned that” Blacks needed jobs. And as someone who had grown up poor, Nixon did believe in the basic principle of what he called a man’s “right to earn.” Everyone, black or white, had a right to earn a decent living for his family. Nixon just had a limited opinion of what blacks were capable of earning.” The affirmative action was implemented speaks volumes about the motivations behind it. Nixon’s first task upon taking office was to resolve the impasse between civil rights leaders and skilled labor unions.
Debating Affirmative Action: The Balance between Fairness and Diversity
Affirmative action is necessary to ensure racial and gender diversity in education and employment. Critics state that it is unfair and causes reverse discrimination. Racial quotas are considered unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. The action we must take of our race, creed, color, or national origin shouldn’t be justified but needs to be put into consideration in order to benefit the underrepresented of our society.
- Anderson, E. (2010). The Imperative of Integration. Princeton University Press.
- Johnson, L. B. (1965). “To Fulfill These Rights” speech. Howard University.
- Perlman, D. (2008). Nixon’s Darkest Secrets: The Inside Story of America’s Most Troubled President. Random House.