Affirmative action is a topic that can immediately create a divisive situation. The idea that opportunities and roles should be filled by individuals of specific minority demographics creates a firestorm that many individuals cannot wrap their head around. Even as millennials enter the conversation, there is still an air that sounds as if people want to move away from the practice. With that in mind, perhaps we are in a period for change in which Affirmative Action can be adjusted to what the people want and still serve the greater good.
The first aspect of this conversation is to understand exactly what Affirmative Action is. Affirmative Action is a set of regulations that were brought into the fold during the 1960s. As the Civil Rights movement pushed on, affirmative Action was created as a means to ensure that minorities were receiving the same opportunities as those in the majority. While race is considered part of the equation, it must be understood that gender roles also play a part in the application of Affirmative Action. Women, even white women, receive a positive benefit of Affirmative Action being in place (Zinn, 2015).
What that in mind, changes can come to Affirmative Action as a whole to make sure that it still keeps itself relevant as it has today, while serving more of the greater good of people. These changers include: open policy of its application, direct application in areas in which it is needed most, and time limits in which it can be applied.
The first change is to develop a strategy in which the application of Affirmative Action is relayed to the public when it is in use. This would be a difficult measure, because it is imperative to create an atmosphere in which the beneficiary is not attacked by those that feel they were wronged. Also, it would be important to note who has received help through Affirmative Action because the stigma of only minorities getting help needs to be uncovered. It is clear that Affirmative Action helps more than most believe and this aspect of change would help reveal that information.
The second piece of change that should come into play is the application of Affirmative Action in places where it is directly needed. It is often understood that Affirmative Action is used in places such as education and employment. If there are areas that can be proven through key research that need a larger vein of diversity, these areas should have mandated use of Affirmative Action to improve those areas. Joan Halford presented the importance of conversations across multiple cultures and this is one aspect that would benefit many work and education areas with this change (Halford, 1999). It is vital that Affirmative Action is applied in places in where it is needed and this change would do so.
The third change that should be applied is the use of time limits. What this means is that while Affirmative Action is meant to help improve within a certain organization, this change would make sure that the organization is forced to uphold those changes for a set period of time. Doing so will help ensure that the company is truly doing all they can to make key changes. Authors such as Rosalind Barnett and Caryll Rivers have chronicled the different types of oppression that hamper both racial and gender minorities (Barnett & Rivers, 2004). Ensuring that companies are held to a standard to help them will benefit both of these groups.
Another suggestion on how to change Affirmative action would be to improve the education that surrounds the legal matter at this point in time. As mentioned, most people immediately think that Affirmative action is just for women and not minorities on the whole. However, the history of the United States has shown that women need their equal rights protected just as much as racial minorities (Imbornoni, 2015). The equal treatment of women, especially in the workplace, has become a hot bed topic in the world of politics today. Affirmative action is a regulation that can help solve this problem if it is properly applied. Virginia Woolf wrote about professions for women, however, there is still a myriad of work that needs to be done in order to solidify equal treatment for women in the workplace (Woolf, 2015).
Affirmative Action is an important part of the United States history as a step to help heal the ills of injustice. It is still needed in today’s society and should not be done away with; instead, slight changes will improve its application across the board.
Barnett, R. Rivers, C. (September 3, 2004). “Men are from Earth, and so are Women. It’s Faulty
Research that sets them apart.” The Chronicle Review. Retrieved from: http://www2.psychology.uiowa.edu/faculty/harvey/Men_are_from_Earth.pdf
Imbornoni, A. (2015). “Women’s rights movement in the U.S.” Infoplease. Retrieved from:
Woolf, V. (2015). “Professions for women.” Spachman. Retrieved from:
Zinn, H. (2015). “The Intimately Oppressed.” History is a Weapon. Retrieved from: