Respect for human rights and equality among members of the society has always been the center stage of many leaders throughout leaders. There is every need for citizens of a nation to have equal rights which have to be respected and protected by the central governing law. History has witnessed several laws being passed and amended to ensure the rights of people are observed, promoted and protected. Martin Luther King is highly remembered for his role in fighting for equal rights in the American society together with other activists who did everything at their disposal to realize their target of seeing every human being. Apart from having equal rights, many laws in America and in other parts of the world were formulated to cover particular groups which were considered weak and disadvantaged in competing for natural resources and other opportunities. Should physically handicapped people be given equal job opportunities like the other members of the society? Do women deserve special jobs reserved for them because they are considered inferior to men? Should black and white students be given equal admission chances and preferences in American colleges? Although all human beings are created equal, it is clear that due to some reasons, some find themselves vulnerable to exploitation and unable to favorably compete in the society. As a result, many leaders and human rights have always pushed for laws which recognize and protect the interests of these groups like women, disabled people and black people in America. These laws and policies which aim at promoting the welfare of disadvantaged group are collectively referred to as affirmative action. This research focuses on the benefits of adopting affirmative action in the society in promoting equality among human beings. Although affirmative active has its limitations, these research findings indicate that there is every need for organizations and governments to adopt it.
What is affirmative action? This question has posed in many forums even before the existence of famous human rights activists like Martin Luther King, mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi among others. From George Washington to Barrack Obama and Nelson Mandela in South Africa, protection of human rights has always been at the heart of almost every sober leader who upholds integrity and respects humanity. The history of America reveals that very there many organizations and movements which have existed in for the purpose of promoting human rights. However, no single discussion on human rights ends without the mention of affirmative action. There have been misconceptions and myths surrounding this topic with many people who claim to know what having the wrong information. Many people associate affirmative action with favors leading to hiring of incompetent personnel in various organizations leaving out qualified candidates. Other people assume that affirmative action aims at identifying people using race and not basing on fundamental aspects of nature. With other people arguing that affirmative action is simply a symbol of inequity, this research refutes such claims. Affirmative action does not promote discrimination neither is it a channel of racism and social injustices (Jet Magazine 9).
Affirmative action allows minorities to have a say in a society which completely assumes these groups. Will discrimination ever end in the world? The answer to this argumentative question is that millions of people will continue being discriminated and denied their rights throughout the history of man. Many will be denied job opportunities because of their disabilities; others will be undermined because they are women as others will miss admission in universities and in colleges because of their race, skin color and originality (Nelson). All these are focal points upon which affirmative action bases its functioning.
Statement of problem
According to this research, there have been numerous myths and misconceptions about Affirmative action and the role it plays in promoting the rights of minorities in the society. This has however been augmented by lack of knowledge resourceful evidences exploring the benefits of this action. As a result, the research intensively explores the advantages of affirmative action and the need for every person to embrace its spirit.
- What is the history of affirmative action?
- What are the benefits of affirmative action?
Affirmative action as a debate topic has received massive coverage throughout the world. Many people including experts and researchers have devoted their time and resources in unraveling the truth behind affirmative action as a positive way of promoting human rights and lowering discrimination rates in the society. Most of these researchers have gone a mile a head author books most of which exclusively explore the need for affirmative actions to be emphasized in the society. Even as the world continues to deal with issues related to discrimination, these authored materials have remained resourceful serving as references for research institutions and academic institutions. This research utilized academically recommended sources in comprehensively addressing the issue of affirmative action in the society. Online books, journals and websites were the most consulted sources consulted in ensuring maintaining the credibility of the research information gathered.
History of Affirmative Action
According research findings, the former U.S President John F. Kennedy was the first person to use the term “affirmative action” in a discriminatory context in 1961. The president noted that there was need for federal contractors in the United States to take affirmative action to ensure that federal employees were treated fairly. He also pointed out the fact that all prospective job applicants who were looking for jobs needed to be treated with total equality without considering their skin color, race or their nationality. What came out clearly was the fact that the president was much concerned with the manner in which minority groups like back people or Indians were being treated by federal employers in America. He was therefore asserting nothing more than equal treatment of every individual in America. It is worth noting that President Kennedy’s philosophy was never left to die. It was mirrored in subsequent legislation with many leaders calling for racial equality. It was in 1965 that the affirmative action received a political boost when President Lyndon Johnson a policy that was aimed to define affirmative action. During his speeches, President Johnson emphasized the need for going a step further beyond creation of anti-discrimination laws. He retaliated that companies were to go further and ensure that women and minority people were equally treated especially in regard to treatment at work place and in consideration during recruitment time. Notably, the president never said that minorities be favored but double outlined the need of nurturing equal rights among all Americans without gender and racial definition (Fischer 6).
In addition to the role played by President Johnson, President Nixon found it impossible to end his term without strengthening the operation of the affirmative action. After many years since it was featured in the Executive orders, President Nixon established goals guidelines and timetables which were to be followed by companies in order to comply with central laws which were governing affirmative action. It is clear that establishment and expansion of the affirmative action was at the heart of many leaders who believed in equal rights for everyone. It is pleasant to mention that these efforts were not blown in air by moving wind but found a place in the hearts of many other leaders who came to power long after the pioneers of the affirmative action. It has widely expanded to cover everybody who was historically excluded from education and employment (Nelson).
Contrary to the misconceptions of many people, the affirmative action has continued to tear down discrimination and promote equal consideration with emphasis to historically undermined people and women. It further aims at promoting representation traditionally disadvantaged groups like women. According to the policy of affirmative action, ending discrimination would not treat the wounds of inequality and prejudice propagated man against man (Nelson). As a result of the efforts of ancient leaders, today’s organizations have adopted the affirmative action by expanding applicants’ pool which accommodates everybody regardless of discriminative approach. Working environments have continued to be accommodative allowing equal promotion opportunities. Although there is resistance from some quarters questioning the legality of affirmative action through inverted definition, it is plainly true that these policies have played significant in promoting social justice. Their benefits can not be undermined in human history.
Benefits of Affirmative Action
According to Samuel and Leiter, affirmative action is one of the most controversial debate topics in the world. In their 2002 research, they note that historical discrimination of black people during the 20th century significantly contributed to the establishment of affirmative action which have turned out to be essential in work place. As stated in their book, black people were considered less human and were vulnerable to various social injustices in the society with minimal attention being given to their identity. They were less appreciated and looked down by their colleagues. They further argue that affirmative action was as a result of civil rights reform which was at its peak in mid 20th century (Samuel & Leiter 41).
In addition, the two authors argue that many people found it hard to secure jobs in America because many administrators and employers used racial and ethnic background information to employ people locking out black people with required qualifications. The affirmative action however realized the need of every American to enjoy all the privileges and available freedom which were being taken away by employers for their own benefits. After the establishment of these policies companies and other employers were expected to comply by having a recruitment scheme which recognized both black and white and training programs aimed at instilling relevant skills among those who lacked enough education to be promoted.
In the same line of thought, Johan Rabe notes that there are several advantages of affirmative action especially at workplace. She argues that affirmative action does not only benefit the person form minority group but goes a step further to benefit the entire. When a person gets employed he is able to support those people surrounding as he contributes to the growth of economy. She further adds that affirmative action completely deals with the issues of both conscious and unconscious discrimination and racism which assumes the qualifications of people who hail from disadvantaged groups. These discrimination usually have no use other than underutilizing the talents and gifting of the less advantaged in the society (Rabe 349).
As further described by Johan Rabe, consideration of people form minority groups promotes nurturing of role models in the society. Equal representation of minority people boosts their morale in the sense that they see the need of working hard and excelling like other members of the society. This morale also promotes self esteem of many people who feel disconnected from the reality because of their disadvantaged status. The author further notes that affirmative action plays a role in breaking negative stereotype among many people who may have lost hope due to discrimination and social injustices. What many people fail to understand is the fact that competence does not depend on ones skin color or country of origin. By adopting affirmative action policies, organizations and even governments are able to increase their domain of available talents. As noted by Johan Rabe, many people from minority groups are usually denied education and training skills thus making them uncompetitive and prone to social injustices and manipulation. She reckons that affirmative action is an economic necessity for any society that wishes to grow. This is because the policies make good utilization of human resources instead of increasing the burden of underclass people (Rabe 350). This however depends on the manner in which the affirmative action is implemented aiming at transforming the mind of both black and white people and not merely empty sharing of jobs.
Correspondingly, Katharina Fischer identifies affirmative action as key elements of social justices. Katharina affirms that affirmative action was mainly at enabling the minorities like women and gay to have equal working rights with their counterparts (Fischer 6). In her 2010 research, Fischer acknowledges the fact that affirmative action promotes diversity in manner in education. Students are allowed to interact with their friends from other races with similar difficulties and challenges. As a result, many students begin to see others as equal. It is through such approach that students from disadvantaged groups develop confidence in themselves by breaking negative stereotypes.
Similarly, Tomasson, Crosby and. Herzbeger believe that affirmative action played a significant role in the lives of Americans with many organizations registering considerable better performance especially after the implementation of its policies. It offers a broad consideration of employee choices thus allowing organizations to hire forgotten talents. It stabilizes a country and ensures peaceful coexistence as people see one another as a people with a common identity (Tomasson, Crosby and. Herzbeger 89).
Generally, affirmative action encompasses implementation of policies which are aimed at allowing people from disadvantaged groups to equally compete for with their counterparts who view themselves as superior. Common minority groups include black Americans, the poor, women, gay and the disabled among others. Affirmative action has more than enough advantages which have been realized since its introduction in the American history. These benefits mainly included social benefits like cohesion, end of discrimination and economic balance. It is however important to implement the affirmative action cautiously to avoid it turning into reverse discrimination. It has to be emphasized that affirmative action is not about favor but equality especially with inclusion of poor people. Based on the findings of this research, affirmative action comes to play significantly when it is genuinely needed.