The Necessity of Affirmative Action in the United States Today
Debate Rounds (5)
However, before the reasons of why affirmative action should be upheld, a few statistics must be considered of the position economically that minorities hold. [For the purposes of making this position clear, only African-American and Hispanics will be evaluated].
According to the Bureau of Labor, African-Americans are unemployed at a 6% higher rate than whites, while Hispanics are unemployed at a 3.5% higher rate than whites . Even after employed, African Americans make only $0.75 to each white dollar, while Hispanics earn even less: $0.72 to each white dollar . After considering these statistics, it is quite apparent that minorities earn less money than whites, and as such it is necessary to help them into an equal position.
This disparity comes from past wrongs committed against these ethnicitys that have hampered these minorities to grow economically such as whites have. Citing Supreme Court Justice Sandra O"Connor after the Grutter v. Bollinger case, "The Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today."  However as of now affirmative action is still necessary, and should be upheld in American policy such that equal rights guaranteed by the 14th amendment may be observed, namely, the right to having the same opportunities regardless of race and ethnicity. This is a reality that the United States must continue to work towards.
Affirmative action should not be maintained because it bases the opportunity on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, rather than qualification. In the Richmond v. Croson (1989) case, the court state that "a Nation of equal citizens in a society where race is irrelevant to personal opportunity and achievement" is created by the disapproval of affirmative action (Walpin). This statement shows how affirmative action can result in allowing unqualified individuals to obtain certain positions.
Based on the facts that affirmative action does not follow the constitution"s equal protection and it promotes unqualified individuals, the policy should not be supported.
"At Issue: Affirmative Action." ProQuest. 2013: SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 16 October 2013.
Walpin, Gerald. "Race and the Law at the Supreme Court." Wall Street Journal. 5 October 2013: A.13. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 October 2013.
The fourteenth amendment states that no state shall "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws" (US Constitution). The fourteenth amendment guarantees that every person will be given equal protection from discrimination under the laws. This is intended to ensure that minorities can have the same rights as whites, which currently they unfortunately do not have. In a legal sense, minorities may have the same rights as whites, however, as is later discussed, minorities are still being discriminated against in the work force.
To counter such discrimination, Section V of the Fourteenth Amendment allows for congress to "have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article" (US Constitution). Simply put, this provision allows for further legislation such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In this Act, it is made clear how the government will make the "Equal protection of the Law" available to all persons. Under Title VII, section 701, subsection "b" the act states that "it shall be the policy of the United States to insure equal employment opportunities for " employees without discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin and the President shall utilize his existing authority to effectuate this policy" ("Transcript of Civil Rights Act (1964)").
Affirmative action is in fact a legal way enforced by both the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure that people of all ethnicities, sexes, and national origins will have equal opportunities in the work force.
In my opponent"s second point, she fails to consider the shocking reality that discrimination in the work force based on race is still occurring today.
In a study conducted in 2009, African-Americans, Latinos, and African-Americans with the exact same qualifications attempted to get jobs. According to the study, white subjects were 4.4 times more likely to get a call back than blacks, and they were 1.3 times more likely than Latinos to get the job (Pager).
This study, conducted by members of Harvard and Princeton with the support of the National Institute of Justice, speaks volumes to the predicament that minorities are currently in, and they show that employers, for some reason, hold some sort of discrimination against minorities, thus creating a need for affirmative action to overcome this subliminal discrimination.
Again, these workers are people of minorities with the same qualifications as white workers who are not getting the same job opportunities. The results of this study clearly prove that discrimination still exists in the workplace, and further argues why affirmative action must be kept: so that all citizens can enjoy equal opportunities.
Pager, Devah, Bruce Western, and Bart Bonikowski. "Discrimination in a Low-Wage Labor Market: A Field Experiment." National Institute of Health Public Access. US National Library of Medicine, 1 Oct. 2009. Web. 18 Oct. 2013. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...;.
"Transcript of Civil Rights Act (1964)" OurDocuments.gov. National Archives. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.
However, affirmative action has led to an unfair discrimination. After the requirement in 1968 and 1973 was enforced, the program has promoted the hiring of less qualified applicants. This has created an uprising of reverse discrimination. In 1978, the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case brought this issue upon the U.S. Supreme Court. A white man, Allan Bakke, was rejected two times by the medical school that accepted less qualified minority applicants over him. The school"s affirmative action program required 16 of the 100 spots to be held specifically for minorities. This allowed for less qualified individuals to be admitted. This case outlined the effects of the affirmative action program. It denied qualified individuals to receive admittance because of their race. This goes against the purpose of affirmative action.
The rising issue led to the 1997 enactment of Proposition 209 in California. This banned all forms of affirmative action in the state. Federal courts ruled that race can count for one factor in hiring but it cannot be a fixed amount. This is the best solution to the issue because affirmative action programs promote unqualified individuals acceptance and reverse discrimination.
"Affirmative Action: Timeline." Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.
Stewart, Chuck. "Affirmative Action: Overview." Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.
This case involved a quota system for having minorities entered into the medical school, however the results of the inquiry were inconclusive as to whether or not Bakke would have gotten into the school. At the time, "friends" of the University filled many spots, and it was not at all clear whether or not he would have had a spot even if there were no quota system ("Regents of the University of California v. Bakke").
In any case, although the court ruled against a quota system, it deemed that race should be considered in admissions for institutions of higher learning, thus enforcing affirmative action ("Bakke Decision (law Case)").
This decision enforced the idea that although there may be more "qualified" individuals contending for a spot, there is a certain value in having a diversified student body in a place of higher education, because it allows for a better academic experience, since in the professional world one must deal with persons of all different races and ethnicities.
To counter my opponent's next point on the enactment of proposition 209, one need look no further than the aftermath of this proposition.
The removal of affirmative action resulted in a drop in minorities" enrollment. Two years after the 1996 California initiative barred race in admissions for college the number of African American, Latino and Native American freshmen state schools had fallen by more than 50%, and the rates at which minority students applied and enrolled had declined at every UC campus (Bollinger). Obviously, the removal of the affirmative action policies in California have broader implications that suggest that should affirmative action be removed the educational division between minorities and Caucasians would deepen. However, should one wonder why such a division occurs, one must look no further than Bollinger"s later point. Bollinger makes the point it is very important to have openness and diversity lest the element we know to be essential for the academic experience be taken (Bollinger).
To understand the importance of Affirmative Action, one must look beyond the limited view of our own perspectives. According to a Caucasian perspective, one would think that Affirmative Action, as my opponent claims, allows for less qualified people to take "Caucasian" jobs. However, according to the perspective of minorities, it allows for minorities to better their families with an education and a job that they would not be able to have without the aid of Affirmative Action. They would not have been able to do so, because they were put in a position by their parents where they do not have enough money to get a reasonable job to have the luxuries that others take for granted.
Affirmative Action helps to break this cycle that has started a long time ago when they were put down by past generations.
"Bakke Decision (law Case)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.
Bollinger, Lee C. "Race Matters." Los Angeles Times. 09 Oct 2012: A.11. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 21 Oct 2013.
"Regents of the University of California v. Bakke." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.
That is why it is evident that people should be chosen or accepted into a job based on merit not by race or gender. The main purpose of affirmative action is to help women and minorities gain entry into institutions. However, these groups of people are not benefiting from the program, rather, citizens with privileged backgrounds are ("Arguments for and against Affirmative Action"). This shows how affirmative action has proven to take the wrong effect on the nation.
"Perspective 2." Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 23 Oct. 2013.
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