Affirmative Action: Views of Opponents and Proponents.
Since the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's, affirmative action has been a popular subject of debate in the United States. Political, economic, and educational institutions have all been pressured to both suppress and conform to the policies of equality among the people within their institutions. Those in favor of affirmative action base much of their argument on the history and statistics of diversity and equality within the United States. Opponents of affirmative action often present arguments about the lowering of standards in the aforementioned organizations. This paper will present the arguments for affirmative action, as well as discuss the lowering of standards within institutions that arise from partaking in affirmative action.
Affirmative action was created as a way for the dominant culture to make amends for the 300 plus years of official discrimination in the United States (Quinn, 2002). Making amends, however, is not an easy task and comes with much criticism. Although, according to Quinn (2002), the criticism is unnecessary because "if done right, affirmative action does not hurt anyone because the job or position goes to the most qualified applicant." It is often perceived that with affirmative action policies in place, minorities have not earned their position, even though all applicants were held to the same standards. .
The objective of affirmative action is the progression toward equality for all. In the United States today, women only account for thirty percent of the workforce even though they account for fifty percent of the population (Quinn, 2002). Furthermore, in the Fortune 500 companies, "95 percent of the holders of top corporate positions are white men, yet they make up only 39 percent of the adult population" (Feagin, 256). This clearly shows that there is not equality for all in the economic institutions of the United States.