Affirmative Action Argumentative Essays

Arguments For and Against Affirmative Action

"The difficulty of overcoming the effects of past discrimination is as nothing compared with the difficulty of eradicating from our society the source of those effects, which is the tendency -- fatal to a Nation such as ours -- to classify and judge men and women on the basis of their country of origin or the color of their skin. A solution to the first problem that aggravates the second is no solution at all."
-Justice Scalia's judgement in the case City of Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co.: January 23, 1989


Arguments FOR Affirmative Action:
  • Affirmative action is a way to ensure that diversity is obtained and maintained in schools and in the workplace. In so doing it also helps create tolerant communities because it exposes people to a variety of cultures and ideas that are different from their own.
  • It helps disadvantaged people who come from areas of the country where there are not very many opportunities be able to advance where they otherwise could not. In other words, it gives everyone an equal playing field.
  • Affirmative action is a way to help compensate for the fact that, due to many years of oppression, some races "started late in the race." Again, it helps level the playing field.
A short essay which contains the typical arguments for affirmative action

Arguments AGAINST Affirmative Action:
  • Affirmative action is reverse discrimination. The past discrimination against certain minority groups does not justify present discrimination against non-minorities. All people are equal under the laws of the United States of America and should be treated accordingly.
  • It destroys the idea of a meritocracy and instead puts race as the dominant factor in admissions and hiring procedures. The best people for the position should be put there, regardless of race.
  • Students/workers who are put into a position through affirmative action often are not fully ready for the task. Not only is this not good for the university/company, but it is also not good for these students/workers as well because it lowers self-esteem.
  • Affirmative action reinforces stereotypes and racism because of the previous point. People given a position purely because of affirmative action often are not qualified, and the idea that all people of that race must be "stupid" is perpetuated. Also, it presupposes that all people of the same skin color are from the lower class, and therefore need help. This also reinforces stereotypes and even embeds them permanently into the system.
  • Simply having people of different races or ethnicities in the workplace/university does not necessarily mean diversity of opinion. People with the same skin color are not necessarily the same in opinion or even culture.

A short article containing a typical argument against affirmative action.

The Government:

The Government on the whole, however, has maintained a position somewhere in the middle. On the one hand, the Supreme Court has banned the use of strict quotas in universities. However, affirmative action still remains a policy supported by the Federal Government and legal everywhere except for California and Texas, where other policies have been adopted. Still, the debate continues on how we as an American society can truly embrace diversity.

Arguments for and Against Affirmative Action Essay example

893 Words4 Pages

Every year at the same time, thousands of students face the same difficult decision: What college should I attend? Consider two young men both of the highest intellectual capacity and deserving of admission into the nation's most prestigious institution. Steven, high school All American, student body President, and leader of the debate team, hopes to be admitted to the university of his dreams. Christopher, most valuable player in the high school division and aspiring NBA athlete, wants to attend college with students of the same caliber. Steven's parents are both successful neurosurgeons at the local hospital planning to see to it that their son is awarded recognition for his efforts. Christopher's mother, unemployed and unable to care…show more content…

Over time the goals shifted from equality among the masses to diversity, which brings forth the issue at hand. Many have disputed and a clear point of view is still at bay. Does a systematic process of diversifying the workplace and universities truly bring equality?

One of the strongest arguments against this selective process according to a staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor is that it "violates the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act." It is said that the 14th Amendment does not allow this form of preferential treatment in any case noting that "no person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws."(3) The same individuals wonder after a level playing field has been made, what the purpose is of Affirmative Action. How can a program that is said to foster a more livable community where esteemed professionals do not exist still discriminate against other individuals?

Take for example the story of Allan Bakke. The white student who possessed higher grades and test scores than a great percentage of other applicants. Bakke was denied admission into University of California's medical school simply because the board set aside sixteen positions out of 100, strictly for minorities. After taking the university to court the ruling was that Bakke be admitted into the University, regardless of ethnicity, which brings forth another idea. The programs that have been initiated throughout the United States within

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