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Affirmative Action: A Permanent Approach Essay

3061 words - 12 pages

Affirmative Action: a Permanent Approach

One of the hottest debates in recent history has been the validity of a Civil Rights policy called affirmative action. The policy proposes “preferential treatment” to certain groups based on their minority status, giving them an advantage in job employment and some areas of education. The question asked most often is whether it is constitutional to give advantages to certain groups, excluding some, based solely on their race or ethnicity. It is up to our legal system to use “strict scrutiny,” or consideration from every standpoint, to assess the issue, which is “a cost-benefit test measuring whether a law that falls (according to the Court itself) squarely within the prohibition of the equal protection guarantee is justified by the [e]specially important social gains that it will achieve” (Rubenfeld, 1997.) Some claim that it will achieve justice, while others think that it promotes forms of discrimination and further separates our society into racial groups. I intend to outline a compromise between the opposing sides, the main goal of which is to utilize justice and equality in coming to a solution that includes every point of view. I feel that this is necessary because minorities in America are underprivileged, and for that reason some measures need to be taken, specifically in education, to induce social equalization.

On one side of the controversy, many groups feel that affirmative action “may be the first instance in our jurisprudence of a constitutional doctrine unconstitutional under itself,” or that affirmative action is a constitutional document that is unconstitutional because it discriminates against a certain group of people, namely white males. These groups claim that affirmative action does not promote “color blindness” in our society, but instead “color consciousness,” giving unfair advantages to certain groups and further segregating our society. One argument is that affirmative action will reduce the quality of employees, thus harming our economy by employing workers who only get the job because of their ethnicity, not because of skill or qualifications. Libertarian opponents of affirmative action say that its policies are inconsistent with the liberal individualism since they require giving benefits to individuals based on membership to a group. In past Supreme Court cases, Justices who have decided against affirmative action have done so because they think that it will encourage racial thinking and alienate minorities. As a matter of policy, the degree to which affirmative action does unintentionally encourage racial thinking is of great importance, but it has no constitutional significance. What is brought into constitutional questionability is whether the rights of the white population are being violated by the affirmative action policy. The question that should now be asked is whether the unemployment of whites due to the loss of their employment to minority...

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