Affirmative Action The Term 'Affirmative Action' Collectively Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Race Type: Essay Paper: #9898809 Related Topics: Title Vii, College Application, College Admission, Pro And Con
Excerpt from Essay :

Affirmative Action

The term 'affirmative action' collectively refers to the positive steps that have been taken to increase the representation of minority groups in business, employment, and college admissions by according them preferential treatment in a bid to make up for the injustices committed against them in the past (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2001). Its contestation, defense, and development often proceeds along two paths -- administrative and legal (in the form of executive orders or court rulings requiring organizations to practice affirmative action) and public debate (in the form of literature showing the pros and cons of such preferential treatment). A notable case of the former was witnessed a few years back, when the Supreme Court ruled against three white students from the University of Michigan who had challenged the university's selection policy, which gave students from minority groups higher points, on grounds that it encouraged race-based discrimination (Messerli, 2012). The school's argument then was that the policy presented opportunities for achieving true diversity; an argument that has been approved by most of the proponents of affirmative action. Skeptics have, however, questioned its rationale, with some arguing that it has already served its purpose and is no longer necessary, unless the nation plans to make up for past injustices for its entire existence. This text analyses the arguments presented by both the opposing and the proposing factions in a bid to determine whether affirmative action supports an ethical rationale for diversity and inclusion.

Before embarking on the main discussion, however, it would be prudent to first present several examples of situations and court cases with affirmative action in


United Steelworkers of America (1979): in this case, a white employee brought suit against a Louisiana steel manufacturing plant, arguing that its in-plant training program, which distributed positions on a 50-50 basis between white and black employees, was in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (The Leadership Conference, 2015). The argument was that by setting aside a standard number of spots for black and white employees, the program infringed on the rights of white employees as it allowed the promotion of junior blacks ahead of some senior whites, just so the numbers for each group would add up (The Leadership Conference, 2015). The court ruled that private entities had the right to implement their own affirmative action programs to make up for the racial injustices of the past.

U.S. v. Paradise (1987): in this case, a petitioner brought suit against the Alabama Department of Public Safety challenging the legality of its one-black-for-one-white promotion scheme, which required a qualified black to be promoted for every white candidate promoted (The Leadership Conference, 2015). The court ruled in favor of the Department, arguing that the affirmative action program provided a unique opportunity for the state to make up for the racial injustices committed against the black American community in the past (The Leadership Conference, 2015).

These examples stir up three fundamental ethical questions:

i) Is it ethical to show preference for one group over another on the basis of demographics?

ii) To what extent should these preferences be allowed to overshadow other qualities such as merit and candidate's qualification or experience?

iii) Is affirmative action an effective way of eliminating discrimination against minorities?

Proponents and opponents of affirmative action have differed in their responses to the above questions. The next subsection presents and weighs the arguments presented both for and against affirmative action.

Arguments for Affirmative Action

The most fundamental argument for affirmative action is that it provides avenues for organizations to increase their degree of diversity, and to consequently reap the benefits that come…

Sources Used in Documents:


Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2001). Affirmative Action. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 6 March 2015 from

The Leadership Conference. (2015). Affirmative Action. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Retrieved 6 March 2015 from

Tomasson, R.F., Crosby, F.J. & Herzberger, S.D. (2001). Affirmative Action: The Pros and Cons of Policy and Practice. Lanham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield

Cite this Document:

"Affirmative Action The Term 'Affirmative Action' Collectively" (2015, March 09) Retrieved January 20, 2022, from

"Affirmative Action The Term 'Affirmative Action' Collectively" 09 March 2015. Web.20 January. 2022. <>

"Affirmative Action The Term 'Affirmative Action' Collectively", 09 March 2015, Accessed.20 January. 2022,

Related Documents
Elements, Features, and Controversies Surrounding Affirmative Action...
Words: 1380 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Race Paper #: 31473338

Affirmative Action: Elements, Features, And Controversies 'Affirmative action', as we know it today, was first utilized by President Kennedy in an executive order directing contractors engaged by the federal government to see to it that applicants and employees were treated with no reference to their national origin, color, creed, or race (Nebraska Advisory Committee, 1979). Affirmative action collectively refers to those policies and actions meant to cushion historically-excluded and underrepresented groups

Validity of Data America Considers
Words: 15529 Length: 56 Pages Topic: Race Paper #: 27742090

Instead of pretending that racism and its effects no longer exist, we need to strengthen affirmative action and devise a new set of policies that directly tackle the racial gap in wealth." (Derrity, 1). That, in a nutshell, is the position of this paper. America has not given affirmative action enough time to act. Moving forward, we should continue our affirmative action policies, but with an end in mind. Economists

Equal Protection the Supreme Court
Words: 4130 Length: 10 Pages Topic: American History Paper #: 69991310

The true spirit and meaning of the amendments, as we said in the Slaughter-House Cases (16 Wall. 36), cannot be understood without keeping in view the history of the times when they were adopted, and the general objects they plainly sought to accomplish. At the time when they were incorporated into the Constitution, it required little knowledge of human nature to anticipate that those who had long been regarded

Namely, Evaluating the Structure of
Words: 580 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Teaching Paper #: 81028076

E., combination classes or multi-grade and single grade classes). Further, operationalizing the terms context and composition would have greatly aided the reader in interpreting the study's results. Study Purpose. Burns and Mason (2002) did follow best fit research practice protocol by stating the purpose of the study as that being to study student achievement with respect to the effects of class composition. However, this reviewer would have like to see more

Picasso's Las Meninas After Velazquez Baudelaire, in
Words: 2400 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Art  (general) Paper #: 61194115

Picasso's Las Meninas (After Velazquez) Baudelaire, in The Painter of Modern Life, approached the modern element in modern painting by reminding us that everything old-fashioned was necessarily once in fashion: "every old master has had his own modernity; the great majority of fine portraits that have come down to use from former generations are clothed in the costume of their own period…If for the necessary and inevitable costume of the age

Collective Bargaining Agreements Refer to a Document
Words: 1182 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Careers Paper #: 83709290

Collective bargaining agreements refer to a document of agreement signed between the management of a firm and its employees prepared by representative labor union that specifies terms of employment such as duration, wages, work conditions etc. In nursing profession, CBA are not something new and while some may oppose it, most still believe that these agreements are for the benefit of nurses and hence must be signed as they offer