Affirmative Action Promotes Discrimination In America

1927 words - 8 pages

Success is something that everyone yearns for in life. Whether it is becoming happy, healthy, or wise, there are certain achievements and triumphs that deem a person prosperous. However, in order to obtain success, one must dedicate themselves to what they want out of their journey, working hard to come out on top in the competitive worlds of school and work that dominate our society. All through life, people are taught that overall hard work and moral character will allow one to achieve their goals. This sounds like the ideal situation- both fair and ethical. However, our nation has often ignored these moral teachings of justice and evenhandedness in an effort to give more "equality" to the American population. A program known as Affirmative Action was introduced in 1965 by the federal government under Lyndon B. Johnson and was thought to be a great idea in order to bring more diversity and equal opportunity to the many different races, ethical groups, and certain minorities (Affirmative Action 1980). However, the intentions affirmative action provides have only discriminated members of society further, and segregated individuals in this land of equality.

Affirmative action can be described as a "program for giving preference to individual applicants for positions in educational institutions, or in employment, based on that person's membership in a previously discriminated-against racial, ethnic, or gender minority" (Affirmative Action vs. Equal Rights 2003). Even before America was a nation, our country was regarded as a place of equal opportunity for all. Thomas Jefferson once said, "We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal...," words that have echoed through the centuries and reminded people of the luxuries and freedoms they are able to possess by living in this great land. Although initiated to continue this reputation, affirmative action raises more problems than it mends.

A key reason for having affirmative action in our country today is to aid those who are at a financial disadvantage. However, that is not always the case when it comes to actually dispersing the money, because it is often only assumed that certain minorities fall into this category of limitations. Shelby Steele, an African-American, knows that he could be easily helped by the doings of affirmative action. He understands that this process could land him much financial aid for the college education of his children. However, he does not believe he should receive the assistance because he holds no substantial disadvantage. The aid should be given to those who truly have difficulties, not whose only "disadvantage" is the color of their skin. He sees no reason for black students who are "well removed from the kind of deprivation that would qualify [them] as 'disadvantaged'" to obtain scholarships and government money that has been refused to be given to less fortunate whites.

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