In the dictionary, an affirmative Action is said to be an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups or women. Affirmative action has been the subject of increasing debate and tension in American society. It is an attempt by the United States to amend a long history of racial and sexual discrimination. But these days it seems to incite a nations internal division. Opponents of affirmative action say that the battle for equal rights is over, and that requiring quotas that favor one group over another is unpatriotic. The people that defend it say that providing advantages for minorities and women is fair considering the discrimination those groups tolerated for years. The debate has been more emotional than intellectual and has generated more tension. Affirmative action promotes equality in the workplace in such areas as hiring, training or promotion.
[...] Affirmative action is also needed to help black women to compete in today's corporate world. Black women in corporate America are still scarce: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic's report for 1984, among the classification "executive, administrative, managerial, and professional, specialty," there were only 1,474,000 black women of the total, as opposed to 22,250,000 white women of the total number of working women in this category. Another area affirmative action addresses is preferential hiring programs. Many times people of colour have been excluded from hiring pools, overtly discriminated against, unfairly eliminated because of inappropriate qualification standards, or have been rendered unqualified because of discrimination in education and housing. [...]
[...] Opponents of affirmative action want to see the "most qualified" people be hired, regardless of sex, race, age, etc. However, a person's experience should be taken into consideration during the hiring process and if certain groups are blocked from competing, when they are finally allowed to compete they may have every other qualification, but will lack what they were blocked at competing in the first place. It is estimated that 85% of the 26 million net new American workers in this decade will consist of women, minorities, and immigrants. [...]
[...] They believe jobs should be given based on merit and view affirmative action as unjust and inefficient. It's interesting to see that Martin Luther King, said that man should be judged by the content of his character rather than the colour of his skin." Many supporters of affirmative action policies may argue that if these policies were not in effect, that the job market would still be prejudiced against women and minorities. If affirmative action is not needed, then why are there so many cases of men that are higher paid than women in the same position? [...]
[...] Affirmative action frequently causes qualified employees to be looked down upon because some believe them to be "affirmative action hires". Affirmative action is a successful plan in theory, but hiring a certain percentage of minorities--qualified or unqualified--has turned into a larger problem than what already existed. Today, the hiring requirements of affirmative action have caused the white male to become a minority because they cannot be hired unless the required percentage of minorities are already employed. A certain percentage of the work force is hired based entirely on their race or gender, not their qualifications. [...]
[...] In 1961 John F.Kennedy issued an executive order calling for Affirmative Action to promote equal opportunity for racial minorities, in hiring by federal contractors. This was the first official use of the term by the Federal Government. Eight years later Nixon intensifies the affirmative actions by creating the Employment Opportunity Commission. Such efforts have expanded opportunities for Afro-Americans. However they have also involved complaints from many whites that Afro- Americans are benefiting from reverse discrimination. Under the equal opportunity act of 1972 all state and government institutions (including universities) must initiate plans to increase the proportions of their female and minority employees. [...]
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