Affirmative Action and Hosea Martin
Hosea Martin's article on affirmative action aims to defend the practice of hiring
people not just on their qualifications but by their race as well. He does so by using his
own experience in the work place along with some personal, unsupported opinions of his
own regarding hiring practices and education. Martin also attempts to defend affirmative
action programs as being fair and non-discriminatory by emphasizing that "every single
one of us...had been hired for reasons beyond our being able to do our jobs." (Martin qtd.
in Hicks, 219).
Martin begins by trying to explain how no one is actually hired on their
qualifications in this "meritocracy". Everyone has an unfair advantage in some way. This
is his own personal opinion on how and why certain people are hired. His mediocre
attempt to justify the hiring of a person of race over that of a truly qualified person is
based on his perception that "just about everybody...got special consideration for one
reason or another"(220). He also makes reference to the "right" schools. If the "right"
school means picking a white-Anglo Harvard graduate with a Ph. D. over an African-
American University of Florida graduate holding the same degree then the distinction
between the two candidates is obvious. People who want to succeed at the highest levels
in our society work hard their entire lives to get into the "right"schools. This gives them
an advantage over others not because of the color of their skin, but because they have
shown the willingness and aptitude to get ahead. They have already proven their worth.
Martin uses, as a means to support his argument of unfair advantages, his
experience in the Army as a clerk wherein he typed a series of application letters for an
officer who was being discharged. He asserted that the officer did not receive a job on the
basis of his qualifications but on the fact that he belonged to a certain fraternity. The
implication here is that there was something wrong or even laughable about hiring him
because "...he was a member of Phi-something fraternity."(220). Many people join
fraternities and sororities not to engage in keg parties every Friday night, but to be able to
"network" after graduating from college. There are also many fraternities that are
academically based such a Phi Theta Kappa here at BCC, of which I am a member.
Organizations such as this look good on a transcript and sometimes are even the deciding
factor in admission to graduate school. To compare a persons race or circumstance of
birth to being an active and...