Ethics Position Paper on Affirmative Action The term affirmative action refers to policies that take race, ethnicity, physical disabilities, military career, sex, sexual orientation, or a person’s parents’ social class into consideration in an attempt to promote equal opportunity or increase ethnicity or other forms of diversity. The focus of such policies ranges from employment and education to public contracting and health programs.
The impetus towards affirmative action is twofold: to maximize diversity in all levels of society, along with its presumed benefits, and to redress perceived disadvantages due to overt, institutional, or involuntary discrimination. Opponents argue that it promotes reverse discrimination. Affirmative action is a term coined in the United States. Matching procedures in other countries are known as Reservation in India, Positive Discrimination in the United Kingdom and Employment Equity in Canada.
Regardless of the name it still means the same thing and that is that one group of people is seen as higher, or as more important than another group no matter the scenario. I believe that affirmative action used to be right when our country was still dealing with trying to help blacks become equal after slavery, but now that we have a black man in the most powerful position in the world, I believe affirmative action has done its job and should be abolished.
Yes, it has helped blacks already and we Americans should already have it ingrained in our minds, like it is written in our Constitution, the governing papers of our democratic government, that “all men are created equal. ” Men being a termed used lightly as any common person, including women. The mistreatment of minorities has been the norm for years and years, dating back to times before the Americas were even discovered.
Portuguese and Spanish conquerors first sailed along the coast of Africa in the fourteenth century and when landing, discovered natives and trapped them and took them and sold them into slavery to the wealthy people of London, Venice, and other big cities and civilizations of Europe. At the time, Irish and Scottish folk could be considered slaves and thus been sentenced to horrible chores and deeds. Only recently, in the last couple hundreds of years have people even come to think of slavery as wrong.
Our earliest Presidents even owned them. Abraham Lincoln outlawed slavery immediately following the Civil War with the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment but it wasn’t until 100 years after, with the guidance of Martin Luther King Jr. , and John and Robert Kennedy, who helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibited discrimination in public accommodations and employment. Affirmative action began as a government remedy to the effects of long-standing discrimination against such groups [minority groups and women] and has consisted of policies, programs, and procedures that give preferences to minorities and women in job hiring, admission to institutions of higher educations, the awarding of government contracts, and other social benefits. The typical criteria for affirmative action are race, disability, gender, ethnic origin, and age” (Encyclopedia Britannica).
In most recent times, this has also grown to include sexual orientation as gays and lesbians have started to fight for their equality, starting with the military. Being a white male living here in America, I stand as an example of the complete opposite of a potential hire for an Equal Opportunity Employer who is looking to diversify its employment roster. The issue of affirmative action is not going to die or go away any time soon because there is always going to be two sides.
We have to face it, there are a large amount of white males here in America and we are fighting to get into the workplace just as hard, if not harder as some minorities. Truth be told that the majority of poverty stricken areas are those of minorities, though it should not be put on the shoulders of white males to fix that problem. It should be put on the leaders of such poverty stricken areas to try and help alleviate some of the problems that lie in the way of bettering that community.
I am not saying white males can’t help, because surely, any able bodied, healthy individual should make an effort to follow John Stuart Mills’ doctrine of obtaining the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Minorities who are involved in gangs and other dangerous activities such as drug dealing should take a look at themselves and realize the only way they can advance on in the world without having to be looking over their shoulders every two seconds and to make something of themselves.
And living in this capitalist society today, getting an education and moving on to higher education and getting a respectful job is the way to go. Reverse Discrimination has become a slight problem as well with this issue. “ [In 1978]Allan Bakke, a white male, had been rejected two years in a row by a medical school that had accepted less qualified minority applicants-the school has a separate admissions policy for minorities and reserved 16 out of 100 places for minority students (Brunner).
Eventually the Supreme Court declared the quota system outlawed for all affirmative action programs but also upheld the legality of affirmative action, per se. Affirmative action was not created to help unqualified minority workers to get hired, the main purpose is to get qualified minorities more exposure to be hired more frequently but that is not the case most often. In the episode, The Two Bartlets, of a TV show called The West Wing, the Press Secretary character named C. J.
Cregg discusses the issue of affirmative action and how affirmative action helped both her and her co-worker’s fathers get jobs when they came back from fighting in the Korean and Vietnam wars but nowadays it doesn’t help because every time her “father was up for a promotion, there was a less qualified black woman in the way so instead of retiring as Superintendant of the Greater Ohio Valley School District, he retired as the head of the math department at James Polk Junior High School. I do not and will not ever condemn affirmative action, but I believe it has served its purpose but I also admit that it is not going anywhere until the whole world is equal, which will never happen. There are always going to be people who are more dedicated, have more desire, strive for more than the bare minimum who wish to make their lives as safe as possible. And then there are going to be people who want to go through live doing the bare minimum and expecting what they don’t deserve and that is exactly what I think a majority of minorities or anyone for that matter in poverty stricken areas, stay there.
Now, affirmative action does not require companies to hire minorities, it urges them to and by doing so; the government supplies tax breaks and bonuses for those companies with a close to equal ratio of minorities and non-minorities. To deem affirmative action ethical or unethical is a fine line and can not be done. If you look at it from Ayn Rand’s point of view with ethical egoism, she would be completely against it. If you don’t earn your job, you don’t deserve it and should not be granted it. “The affirmative action ruling undermines the principle of individualism.
It asserts that people have special rights because they are members of a racial minority, thus elevating primitive tribalism over individualism. The claim that racial ‘diversity’ is a proper goal of an institution is wrong” (Locke). Depending on the situation and the intentions behind hiring a minority, affirmative action could very well pass the Aquinas’ doctrine of double effect, “…the social programme of affirmative action, though controversial, can be supported by the doctrine of double effect in that, according to the doctrine, responsibility falls on the side of intended consequences and not on that of unintended consequences” (Jordan).
It is difficult, as always, to try and predict what a dead person would say on an issue of modern times but with his doctrine and maxims, Aquinas would take a fence straddling position, much like Sandra Day O’Connor did, and base his decision and judgment on the issue on details of each individual circumstance after long consideration. Now Peter Singer? He could be seen as on board with affirmative action. He desires that perfect equality in the world that is so far from being attainable at the moment.
Singer wishes to have the utopian society as described by Sir Thomas More in his book, Of the Best State of a Republic, and of the New Island Utopia, which in turn was largely based off of Plato’s Republic, so by extension, Aristotle could be grouped into the group of being in favor of affirmative action but there are issues of his teacher’s that Aristotle disputed and affirmative action could fall under that category. In Aristotle’s view, when a person acts in accordance with his nature and realizes his full potential, he will do well and be content.
Being automatically awarded with a job opportunity would not help to gain full potential. Singer actually wrote specifically about affirmative action in his book Practical Ethics. He strictly sticks to equality as he brings up an argument that a minority, who took the same test as a member of the majority, could have been at a disadvantage all their life and not had the same exposure to information as a member of the majority. Affirmative action is more or less here to stay, as long as there is a race or sex or orientation that both parties see as superior.
No matter what way you think about it, if you are using this action as a way to get even, you are viewing yourself as inferior. At this current period in America, white males are seen as the dominant gender and race. Worldwide, men are seen as dominant. As long as there are differences in appearance, there will be a reason to try and use affirmative action to make everything equal. Works Cited “affirmative action. ” Encyclop? dia Britannica. 2010. Encyclop? dia Britannica Online. 01 Apr. 2010 .
Brunner, Borgna, “A History and Timeline of Affirmative Action” Affirmative Action History, n. d. 31 Mar. 2010 http://www. infoplease. com/spot/affirmative1. html Jordan, Jeff, “The Doctrine of Double Effect and Affirmative Action” Journal of Applied Philosophy Vol 7 Ise. 2, 18 Feb 2008, 31 Mar. 2010 Locke, Edwin A. , “Supreme Court Wong on Affirmative Action,” San Francisco Examiner 25 Jun 2003, Providence Journal 27 Jun 2003; 31 Mar 2010, http://www. ayrand. org/site/News2? page=NewsArticle&id=7520&news_jv_ctrl=1223