What are the pros and cons of Affirmative action and what is the debate all about? Affirmative action is a contentious issue. It is a series of voluntary and mandatory guidelines for businesses, government departments, and schools designed to encourage diversity and reduce discrimination based on ethnic background and skin color.
Affirmative action policies were originally put in place to try and counteract many decades of racial discrimination, but although they have proved to be very successful over the years, critics of the system now believe that modern society is sufficiently diverse and affirmative action policies are increasingly unnecessary. So what are the pros and cons of affirmative action and are such policies necessary in today’s increasingly diverse modern society, or do they cause more problems than they cure?
What are the Pros of Affirmative Action?
1. Despite the success of affirmative action policies, racial discrimination still exists in schools, higher education institutions, and the workplace, and should affirmative action policies be phased out, it is very likely that discrimination against ethnic minorities will increase once again and cases of racial prejudice will begin to rear their ugly heads.
2. Diversity in schools and the workplace is always desirable and needs to be encouraged by all means possible as it may not happen by chance.
3. Students from ethnic minority backgrounds need a helping hand to enjoy the kind of privileges taken for granted by white kids and affirmative action policies encourage disadvantaged students to enter the higher educational system.
4. Affirmative action is fair compensation for centuries of racial oppression and slavery.
5. Affirmative action in the workplace is the best way to ensure candidates from ethnic minorities are given a chance to prove they are every bit as capable as white candidates.
What are the Cons of Affirmative Action?
1. Once an affirmative action policy has been put in place, it can be difficult to remove, even when the discrimination it sought to erase is not longer an issue.
2. Affirmative action is a twisted kind of reverse discrimination whereby ethnic minorities are given unfair advantages because of the colour of their skin.
3. Adoption of affirmative action policies in institutes of higher education lowers the standards expected of students from minority backgrounds applying for entry, which means they are less likely to push themselves.
4. Students who enter higher education because of affirmative action policies are also less likely to cope with the demands of the school.
5. Success achieved because of affirmative action policies is less of an achievement than success gained through sheer hard work and persistence.
6. Affirmative action policies in the workplace can lead to ludicrous decisions being made: a perfectly suitable white candidate is overlooked in favor of a less suitable candidate from an ethnic minority, simply to fill a quota.
7. Questions relating to the color of your skin and your ethnic background should be removed from application forms, but until affirmative action policies are outmoded, this is never likely to happen.