Ending Racial Injustice Through Affirmative Action.
Since President Kennedy first coined the term in 1961, affirmative action has remained one of the most controversial social issues of our time. Aggressive nondiscrimination was the original intention, but it soon became clear that merely promising not to discriminate would have little effect on the deeply seeded racial bias embedded in our society. In turn, legislation was passed to actively ensure fairness among minorities seeking employment. Supporters view affirmative action as a milestone, opponents see it as a millstone, and much of the general public considers it both - a necessary, but imperfect remedy for an obstinate social ill. My own opinion was first formed by my father and influenced by the conservative environment in which I lived. Since then, I have experienced a much broader view of American society. I have heard many different opinions on affirmative action from all aspects of our culture and I have changed my mind. The case against affirmative action rests heavily on myth and misunderstanding and the following illustrates that an absence of affirmative action in today's society will only reinforce racial injustice.
To create a color-blind society, it seems logical to institute color-blind policies. However, studies have shown that color-blind seniority systems protect white workers from job layoffs because senior employees are usually white (Ezorsky, p1). Similarly, color-blind college admissions will favor white students because of their previous educational advantages over most minorities. Instituting these types of policies would only reinforce preferential treatment of the majority. It is therefore necessary to implement affirmative action programs to ensure that members among senior employers are racially diverse. Opponents of affirmative action are quick to argue this point; they object that while 30 years ago this may have been necessary, today the "playing field" is fairly even.