Affirmative Action

Jean Miller
American Heritage 100
7:00 am - 7:50 am
M, W, F
Brother J. Baker
Affirmative Action

Affirmative action is a growing argument among our society. It is multifaceted and very often defined vaguely. Some can define affirmative action as the ability to strive for equality and inclusiveness. Others might see it as a quota-based system for different minority groups. “Affirmative action was originally designed to help minorities” (Gross, 1996). Is affirmative action fair? Are minority groups on equal footing? Is gaining employment for minorities difficult? Is education easily obtained for the minority groups of people? Affirmative action endeavors to answer all these questions, while allowing society to believe harmony exists.
“Affirmative action was originally designed to help minorities, but women, especially white women, have made the greatest gains as a result of these programs” (Boston, 1996). Is affirmative action fair? In 1974, a woman named Rose was turned down for a supervisory job in favor of a male. She was told that she was the most qualified person, but the position was going to be filled by a man, because he had a family to support. Five years before that, when Rose was about to fill an entry-level position in banking, a personnel officer outlined the woman’s pay scale, which was $25 to $50 a month less than what men were being paid in the same position. Rose was furious because she felt this was discriminating to her. She confronted the personnel officer and he saw nothing wrong with it. In 1977, a woman working for a company as a clerk was informed that she should be at home raising a family. She allowed the comments to persist until she was given two weeks notice that her position was no longer available. Upon leaving the position she learned the company had given the clerk position to a man because he had a family to support. Thanks to affirmative action, situations like the ones mentioned are becoming less frequent and employers are correcting these situations quickly and efficiently.
Affirmative action has definitely helped women and minorities in their careers, but it has yet to succeed in the goal of equality in the business world for women and minorities. As more and more women are faced with discrimination in large firms, more have decided to strike out on their own. “Observers argue that women have made huge strides with the help of affirmative action. They now hold 40 percent of all corporate middle-management jobs, and the number of women-owned businesses has grown by 57 percent since 1982” (Dundul, 1995).
“Affirmative action was designed to give qualified minorities a chance to compete on equal footing with Whites” (Chappell, 1995). Equal opportunities for the African Americans, for the most part, has remained more wishful-thinking than fact. African American students are continuing to struggle for an education. In society today, many educational institutions offer scholarships for minorities. Ethnic minority students can further their education from the elementary level to the Ph.D level. However, for a minority student, all the financial assistance in the world, is not going to pay for the racial discrimination that they may receive, while attending a white educational facility. In 1982 a young African American man had been accepted into an Ivy league institution. His family were proud of his achievements and his ability to become someone great. As time progressed, our African American student dressed like a black, walked like a black, looked like a black, but to keep well with his professors talked, and acted like his white counterparts.
Equal opportunities for African Americans continue to be hard work and wishful-thinking. African American business owners are still competing against their White counterparts. Society labels and stereotypes certain ethic people. For example, when a person enters an electronic store and the owner is white, the person shopping continues to look at the items on the shelf. When an individual walks into an electronic store owned by an African American, the shopper may believe some of the items are stolen. Affirmative action is a written law requesting that minorities have equal opportunities however, society dictates how the opportunities will be given. African American workers are experiencing an unemployment rate twice that of Whites.The low rate of unemployment is due to