Affirmative Action: Is It Still Needed?
Affirmative action is a strategy which has been adopted in order to mitigate the effects of white privilege. The American society, at its very core, is based upon the principle of superiority of the White Christian male and this means that any other group is likely to be discriminated, when competing against a representative of this group. Affirmative action was necessary in order to solve the problem of unequal opportunities at the level of the society. For example, Black or Hispanic youth has more chances of being poor and unable to reach their full potential in school. In addition, a disability status may determine people to look down on a person. The Ending affirmative action would mean ignoring the reality of white preference. Affirmative action is necessary for as long as the society is still affected by racism, because this strategy is perceived as equal opportunity (NPR 2012). While it is unlikely that the society will offer equal opportunity for the representatives of all groups in the near future, affirmative action is one strategy which address this problem efficiently, and to create opportunity for the disfavored members of the society.
The intended goal of affirmative action is that of correcting the negative consequences of white male privilege by equaling the balance as much as possible. However, those who are against affirmative action argue that this continues to maintain racial minorities in a state of perceived inferiority, and does not allow them to advance on their own forces (NPR 2012).People who counter the affirmative action policies also argues that this regulation is unfair to white children who may be skilled enough to enter university and yet, they are rejected due to the affirmative action policy. However, this mentality is based on a very narrow set of criteria, whereas affirmative action creates the necessity for universities to include wider sets of criteria when choosing an applicant.
The current arguments for affirmative action continue to reflect the original intentions for which affirmative action was implemented. Unfortunately, minority students, particularly Black and Latina, continue to face the same type of oppression and they are still unable to compete with White male students for places in university and in well-paid positions because of the different circumstances in which they were born and raised. Consequently, returning to a traditional merit system would cause discrimination to be perpetuated at all stages of a minority person’s life, with no possibility of change (Lapenson 27). Affirmative action is needed as long as minority students have more chances of being born in disadvantaged families, of being poor, and of frequenting underfunded schools.
NPR (2012). Intelligence squared U.S: the edited broadcast of the debate (50 min.) Retrieved from: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=16337441&m=16527900
Lapenson, B. (2009). Affirmative action and the meaning of merit. Lanham: University Press of America.