Affirmative Action Defined Affirmative Action Thesis

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Sociology
  • Type: Thesis
  • Paper: #15644035

Excerpt from Thesis :

Hence, it is important for the proper application of the AA idea that those who make the anti-discrimination and AA policies understand both sides of the story and both the discriminator's and the victim's perspectives. So, in essence those groups of people who disagree on certain ideas or approaches towards justice must try to adopt an unbiased approach to understanding the reason behind the existence of the differences and resolve them through negotiation. This particular approach will allow the phenomenon of AA to be ethically acceptable in the long run (Katznelson, 2006).

There are many researchers who also support the use of the distributive format of justice for maintaining equality instead of the compensatory format of justice. This is so because many of these researchers believe that compensatory justice does not have an impact on the discriminatory act instead it mainly compensates ad tries to make up for the harm that was done because of the act. On the contrary, distributive justice mainly concentrates on balancing the benefits and advantages that are available for the different segments of the society so as to take sure that watch gets what they deserve and what is equal regardless of ethnicity or gender or class (Katznelson, 2006).

Other studies have supported that the use of distributive justice is far more useful then contemporary justice because the reimbursements and recognition that the individuals receive under distributive justice is based in merit and not tainted by their religion or cast or gender. Through the use of distributive justice, one can not only make sure that the minorities are represented accurately and justly buts one can also make sure that the most deserving individuals from the majority population are also represented rightfully and are chosen on merit. So while the use of distributive justice in an AA program does guarantee minorities or women fair representation it also guarantees that the majorities or males would not be misrepresented program and would be ethically and fairly treated as well (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2001).

Affirmative Action and Managerial Justice

Affirmative action in the workplace is growing to be a very important tool to eradicate discrimination within different organizations. The unfair and humiliating approaches within organizations need to be removed, that fact is not contested; how they need to be removed, however, is where the intricacy lies. All forms of discrimination whether they are based on gender, creed, race, color, etc. are simply a medium whereby one can treat an individual in an unjust manner and expect to get away with it. The act is a much of a crime now as any other crime that has demanded justice in the past. This is so because discrimination can be distracting, damaging, discouraging, can create disharmony and misunderstanding and conflict within organizations which champers their overall performance within their respective industry.

If one talks about morale as well, discrimination can tend to be very harmful especially if it's something that an individual deals with everyday at his workplace. Some of the most common morale concerns that are raised directly or indirectly because of discrimination include anxiety and frustration at the workplace, frustration at the government or administration and policy makers as well as constant reservation towards angry responses and resignation of humiliation as part of one's personality (Sander, 2004).

Many researchers explain that discrimination can be of different levels and it's usually the very simple and everyday formats of discrimination that exist on a large basis and cause the most long-term damage. These smaller or "subtle" discriminatory acts grow and become more aggravated with the passage of time, causing the response to be aggravated as well and creating social borders or lines within the staff that become more and more concrete and impersonal with the passage of time. This simply means that if a discriminatory act towards a black man started due to a personal vendetta, it could end up in the shunning of all black employees or staff within an organization. These subtle acts of discrimination could include a cold shoulder towards a race or gender, resistance to support or work with a certain race, an unwelcome approach towards the norms or tradition of the organizations, or the omnipresence or dominance of one particular class or race dominated over others through acts of power or authority (Sander, 2004).

Even the hiring and firing policies and processes within a company can be discriminating and biased. Most studies that have concentrated on the hiring and firing processes alongside the phenomenon of affirmative action have mainly highlighted the discrimination that is obvious in the numerical representation of women or minorities within organizations.

The fact still remains that while numerous AA studies have highlighted that women and minorities are not being hired based on the incompetence but other factors, there is still very little that the AA policies have been able to do to impact the overall hiring processes of the organization because most AA studies have been stand-alone studies and haven't been really designed to be applied within the organizational structures or policies or hiring (Sander, 2004). Also most AA studies highlight that even if the women or minorities are hired because of their potential. The discrimination still exists in various forms whether they are generalized reimbursements, or peer behavior/acceptance, or minimal recognition of accomplishments, or highlighting of mistakes made as examples (Sander, 2004).

There is also the concept of "reverse discrimination" that was referred earlier in the paper. The concept of reverse discrimination mainly encompasses the concept of minorities and women being given undue and undeserved preference over the men or majority (whites and/or any other caste). Hence, many studies have also focused on the approach that AA would have towards reverse discrimination and the conclusion is the same: it is unacceptable and needs to be resolved. Many studies explain that reverse discrimination is mainly caused by those individuals who try extra hard to not be discriminatory and usually under pressure make decisions that don't normally support their better judgment and turn out to be unfair towards the majority or the more deserving male candidates (Milem and Hakuta, 2000).


Throughout the paper we have focused on the definition and application of the phenomenon of Affirmative action and how it is linked to the concepts of managerial justice, anti-discrimination law theories and public administration. The main idea behind the phenomenon of affirmative action is to eradicate all forms of discrimination that exist for the women and minorities within the social structure and various organizational structures.

Furthermore, the paper highlights the two sides of the affirmative action equally and highlights how the critics and advocates of either side present all logic based on the ethics and principles that they formulated at a personal and social level. Some of the most common aspects and perceptions that exist about affirmative action and can also be concluded from the above discussion include the following:

Affirmative action has proven to be useful in practical application and must be explored in different scenarios so as to test the real spectrum and se of the concept;

Affirmative action mainly has no impact on the overall discriminatory levels as the one who are being discriminated against are still facing discrimination;

Affirmative action is an obsolete concept because on the modern world, the discrimination levels have diminished to be slim to none; hence discrimination is no linger a burning issue, it is a solved one; and Affirmative action and its theory need to be adjusted and amended with the passing time instead of being completely abandoned.


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Bulman-Pozen, J. (2006). Grutter at Work: A Title VII Critique of Constitutional Affirmative Action. Yale Law Journal, 115

Chambers, D.L., Clydesdale, T.T., Kidder, W.C. And Lempert, R.O. (2005). The Real Impact of Eliminating Affirmative Action in American Law Schools: An Empirical Critique of Richard Sander's Study. Stanford Law Review. 57: 6.

Chronicle of Higher Education. (2001). College enrollment by racial and ethnic group, selected years. Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac. Available:

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Kamalu, J.A. And Kamalu, N.C. (2004). From Bakke to Grutter: The Supreme Court and the Struggle over Affirmative Action in the Era of Globalization. The Western Journal of Black Studies. 28: 4.

Katznelson, I. (2006). When Is Affirmative Action Fair? On Grievous Harms and Public Remedies. Social Research, 73.

Milem, J.F., & Hakuta, K. (2000). The benefits of racial and ethnic diversity in higher education. In Minorities in higher education, 1999-2000. Seventeenth annual status report. Washington: American Council on Education, pp.…

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