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The Pros and Cons of Affirmative Action – Essay Sample

The Pros and Cons of Affirmative Action – Essay Sample

Affirmative action was originally conceived to support equality amongst different nationalities, races, sexes and other individualizing groups. Though its creation was meant to inspire freedom, opportunity and equality, does affirmative action truly achieve this goal? Arguments have continually been made for and against the installment of affirmative action.

Affirmative action is an overarching term that refers to the way schools and businesses select employees and students. Much of affirmative action involves exterminating discrimination and including a certain amount of individuals from different ethnic groups, genders, cultures, etc. in the business, school or other program. Affirmative action is more of an ethical and moral policy, as opposed to a set system – like a ‘quota’ system.

There are many benefits to affirmative action that have supported it in being the fundamental national policy it is today. Some positive aspects of affirmative action include:

  • Diversity. By encouraging affirmative action, schools and businesses will have a more diverse, multi-capable staff. This encourages acceptance and cross-cultural learning, often strengthening the business or school as a result. It also allows for the breakdown of mistaken ideas that certain ethnicities perform more capably than others.
  • Opportunity. Individuals born into minority backgrounds may not always have the same opportunities as others, due to financial or social constraints. Affirmative action allows these individuals to have the same access to education and employment as those with more resources.

Despite its positive effects, there are still a number of negative consequences associated with affirmative action. Some cons to the policy include:

  • Ongoing discrimination. Affirmative action may not always be employed, and since it is a general rule without set guidelines, it is often hard to catch individuals denying affirmative action. Affirmative action also has not eradicated discrimination; racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination still exist today.
  • Unfair advantage. It is often believed that affirmative action actually gives minority groups more of an unearned advantage over others. Some individuals are even shuffled into jobs or schools they are not suited for simply to fulfill affirmative action requirements – not because they are a good fit for the organization.
  • Affirmative action provides equal opportunity to underprivileged minorities, but it also leads to irrational decision-making based on ethnicity, sex or other unrelated capability factors. There are pros and cons to the policy, though it remains to be seen which side outweighs the other. Most of the time, the effectiveness and appropriateness of affirmative action have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

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