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President Kennedy And Affirmative Action Essay

1686 words - 7 pages

It is an undeniable fact that many groups in the world are of a disadvantaged nature. Over the course of history, unfairness has spread far and wide in the forms of slavery, discrimination, war, and conquest. Unfortunately, rectifying these issues in a modern age is no easy task. Although in present day American society we have abolished slavery, given all races and genders the opportunity to vote, and eliminated restrictions on who can receive an education, it is extremely difficult for some to generationally climb out of the pit of injustice. As a result of this historical discrimination, many human beings are placed in a disadvantaged state economically. At the same time; however, there ...view middle of the document...

It is rare that one will find an individual that denies the validity of that statement. Even I heavily considered it in the opening to this essay. So why, one might ask, would I seek to deny the children and grandchildren of those underprivileged ancestors the compensation that their ancestors deserved? It is because it is much too difficult to determine how many individuals within that group would have actually done better in life if discriminatory social policies had not been in place. The decision to award a position to an individual based on the fact that they may have been more successful otherwise is completely and utterly arbitrary. Particular questions arise: Which underprivileged group has suffered the most? All of these people cannot possibly be compensated even if attempts are made to do so. The argument for compensation always requires an arbitrary decision on the degree of suffering to be made; a decision that is far from black and white. In this way, attempting to compensate individuals through affirmative action does treat them as ends, but “rather than as means to social ends” (Pojman). For affirmative action to be a successful social policy, one would have to be able to distinguish those who have suffered from past discrimination from those who haven’t without error, a task that cannot be done when race, religion, or gender is considered without class.
The next common argument for affirmative action, the argument for diversity, states that affirmative action creates a required sense of diversity within school and work communities. Proponents of affirmative action argue that diversity promotes trust, understanding, and respect for all cultures within a classroom or workplace. This can certainly be considered true by most if not all to be an extremely important aspect of developing a successful work or school environment. At the same time; however, I am not going to suggest that the merit of many hard working individuals needs to be sacrificed to develop this sense of diversity. The competence of many well qualified applicants needs not to be disregarded in order to create a diverse environment. To do so would be to neglect an efficient and stable workplace in favor of one that simply has the alluring appearance of seeming fair. When it comes to creating the most competent and successful workforce or classroom, one does not need to arbitrarily make the proper smorgasbord of diversity. Diversity should be able to manifest itself naturally in these areas, as it is known to be true in the modern world that people of all race, gender, and creed are capable of succeeding. Positive discrimination should not be required to create diversity as it should be able to manifest itself on its own. To say otherwise is counterintuitive to the concept of affirmative action itself, as stating that affirmative action is necessary for a diverse workforce indirectly states that some groups are less capable than others solely based on their color,...

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