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Changing Affirmative Action Laws
The Need to Change Affirmative Action Laws
The affirmative action laws have been around since the 1960s, but now there is a need to change them due to the changes that have been seen in society. The laws were designed for a very specific time in history, and at that time they were what was needed in order to make sure people who had been discriminated against were no longer treated unfairly based on traits such as skin color (Should, 2012). Unfortunately, most people do not spend much time thinking about affirmative action unless they are directly affected by it. That can come through getting a job because they are a member of a protected class, or being overlooked for a job because they are not a member of a protected class. In either instance, affirmative action comes into play and affects the people who can be hired for specific jobs (Wood, 1998). That means that better candidates may be passed over, and society has changed so much since the 1960s that the concept behind affirmative action and fair treatment is no longer the same. In order to keep up with changing times and a global society, affirmative action laws must be adjusted in order to remain effective.
Since the 1960s, society has changed in many ways. One of the most drastic changes is through the use of the internet. Companies now hire many people as contractors instead of employees, and those people may work in the same town or across the world, and everywhere in between. With that in mind, it becomes harder to "control" who is hired and what criteria they have to meet. Affirmative action does not work well in these areas, because it is not required to be used on these types of workers. When a company uses contractors (who are not technically employees) and when it outsources work to other countries, there are no affirmative action requirements. Of course, that was not something that was an issue in the 1960s, so there was nothing in the language of the law addressing such issues. Now that times are different, the laws must be changed to take in that difference if the design of the law is still to ensure that everyone is being treated equally.
The first problem that needs to be addressed is social. When affirmative action was created, people were more dedicated to remaining in specific groups. In other words, there was less mixing of social classes, races, and ethnicities (Who, 2013; Rosado, 1997). Sexual orientation was kept very private, and most people did not talk about discrimination issues (Rosado, 1997). Social isolation was common in the sense that people kept to their "groups." When the law was enacted, employers were suddenly forced to hire people based on characteristics that were not to be discriminated against, so they could make quotas and appear as though they were not discriminating against anyone (Dontigney, 2013). That led to social upset and confusion, and led to company owners becoming angry with the way they were forced to hire people who might not have been the best for the job but who met other criteria that were required (Crawford, 1992).
The social interaction between the races and ethnicities has changed a great deal since the 1960s. That is also true of interactions between the genders, and people's openness about various aspects of their lives. Because of the differences seen today as compared to when the law was enacted, there are social issues that have to be taken into account. That does not mean that the basic tenets of the law are no longer valid or that they are not important, but only that there are many other facets that have to be considered and many ways in which society is different now (Dontigney, 2013). It is still very important that people get treated equally, but that equality has to be handled differently than it was before in order to make sure it is being addressed in a broader social context and not just because of an old law that no longer has the same degree of relevance today (Who, 2013).
The second important problem with this law is political in nature. It was originally enacted to protect people, and was done as a political move in many ways. If it was now suggested that the law be repealed, the politician who suggested that would likely be taken to task because he or she would be seen as insensitive. However, the issue is not about getting rid of a law so that people are not required to be treated equally, but about changing a law so that true equality is reached more easily (Dontigney, 2013). Anyone who wants to be completely equal knows that there are a lot of facets that go into equality. He or she also knows that complete equality is not really possible, but there are ways in which equality can become closer. Those ways are very important to consider, but with politics in the way problems often happen (Dontigney, 2013). Politics is often about which party "wins" and gets its laws passed, which is not always good for the people. When the law was passed in the 1960s it was designed to make things more equal, but trying to change it now would stir up questions of a political nature. That could make it difficult for the politician who decides to try to make changes, but those difficulties would eventually die down.
The third issue with the affirmative action law is ethical/moral. Whether it is ethical to single people out based on traits they cannot control is a serious question, whether one is trying to help them or not. By making a law that says one cannot discriminate based on particular traits, the law actually calls attention to those particular traits (Should, 2012). While it may protect some people who would not have gotten hired because of those traits, it was also a reminder that there were "protected classes" and that those classes were comprised of people who were different from others (Should, 2012). Being made aware of that difference is not necessarily a good thing, especially when it no longer really has much relevance in society today. Now it just serves as a reminder of a time in history when there was very little equality and the government had to step in and force that equality on business owners so they would hire people who had specific traits (Rosado, 1997; Wood, 1998).
While it may not be ethical or moral to consider people based on uncontrollable traits, the argument could be made that it is also not ethical or moral to force companies to hire people based on those same traits. Now that more companies are hiring contractors and outsourcing their work to people in other countries, the ethical and moral implications of affirmative action are changing. It is still important to be ethical and to treat people equally, especially based off of traits they cannot control, such as gender, age, and skin color. However, there is also a moral obligation to focus on making sure that equality is actually equal, and not just something to which companies are paying lip service by conforming to outdated laws and ideas that no longer serve their purpose in modern society. Morality has very little to do with companies being required to hire certain people, and much more to do with companies choosing to hire certain people because those are the best people for the job, regardless of other traits they may have (Crawford, 1992).
There are serious problems with the affirmative action law as it is, because it no longer works socially, politically, or ethically/morally in society today. Instead, it must be…[continue]
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