Affirmative Action is defined as the taking of proactive steps to ensure that minorities and women are adequately (and therefore, from a historical perspective, increasingly) represented in today's economy. This, in today's world, is a controversial topic; because, the presumption is if a sub-section of society is given preferential treatment then certainly it introduces biases into that system. This essay will be an opinion against affirmative action. This essayist will also attempt to address the assigned readings for this essay. All three readings are supportive of affirmative action.
Affirmative action is premised on aiding a section of society to ensure an artifice -- representation or to redress perceived historical loss. During the civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties, in the United State, leaders fought for equal rights. The Civil Rights movement was justified because one group (Caucasians) was given preferential treatment. Under- representation of African-Americans was generally (and unfairly) considered acceptable.
In recent times, one of the cases which came under scrutiny was that of Michigan School Admissions at for undergraduates and law school. (Cornell 2003) the Supreme Court struck down the affirmative action law for undergraduate admissions; but, the law school admissions lawsuit was struck down in favor of affirmative action. The Michigan Law School example is used by Stephen Steinberg to criticize conservative commentator and opponent of affirmative action Nathan Glazer. (Steinberg 2003) Steinberg believes that affirmative action should be universal. Steinberg uses ad hominem attacks against Glazer (about his education and his religion), and accuses him of believing in affirmative action for Jews, but not supporting extending these to African-Americans. Steinberg starts out with the premise that affirmative action is CORRECT, but does nothing to support his claims convincingly.
In another article, Steinberg brings up the idea of affirmative action being just rewards for many years of slavery and the years of civil ostracizing of blacks from society through the 19th and 20th century history, at the expense of jobs for immigrants from Asia, Europe and Latin America. (Steinberg 1999) William Darity, writing in "The State of Black America 1999," espouses this view, believing that affirmative action is acceptable because, though it might not be a proper solution, it serves to balance out racial inequality. (Darity 1999) Darity has provided proof that when trained actors went to look for jobs, the blacks among them were rejected. Affirmative Action helps foster wealth equality, which according to Darity, sees a significant gap between whites and blacks. Darity makes an important point that white people believed that the problems of civil equality had been solved after the civil rights movement, but the bigotry and inequalities continue. To this, this essayist responds that though raising the standards of one subsection of society is a noble cause, set asides is not the way to go about it, certainly reverse discrimination isn't. Even if affirmative action was widely accepted, Darity does not provide a date by which wealth-parity would be established. Certainly, Professor Darity does not wish to have affirmative action go on indefinitely, considering he believes that it is not the best solution.
Another reading is titled "Economic Costs of Affirmative Action." (Badgett et al. 1995) Four authors here explore costs of affirmative action, the negative stereotyping that goes with affirmatives action, and how productivity is impacted through affirmative action. At no point in this work do they demonstrate that affirmative action is an economic success or brings about the goals it envisions. They explore the possible losses to businesses mainly due to the costs of regulations and compliance and believe that these losses are acceptable for the supposed greater good. What these four commentators, who are writing about economy, don't seem to grasp is the simple economic concept that employers create wealth in collusion with employees that are best qualified for their positions -- irrespective of race or gender. Asking employers to comply with laws that cost them significant overheads reduces profits. This loss is borne by employees, shareholders and gets passed…