Response to Affirmative Action Article

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Vanessa Pralle wrote, “In actuality, minorities have never enjoyed the kind of intrinsic privileges and rights granted to whites, prior and post civil right era.”

While I agree and sympathize with your reasoning on your position of affirmative action, I feel as though it is contrary to the moral goal you are trying to achieve. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is unlawful for employers to “fail or refuse to hire… because of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Furthermore, it is unlawful for employers to “limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities… because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” What law aimed to do was grant minorities the same privlidges and access to opportunities that whites have, regardless of skin color. It was a good and necessary law to help develop an America where all citizens could pursue their own happiness and control their own destiny.

However, affirmative action engages in what some refer to as the “slippery slope of public policy”. Rather than leveling playing field and giving equal access of employment to all citizens, what affirmative action does is allow employers to show prefrential treatment of minorities over their caucasian counterparts, something which is specifically prohibited by the Civl Rights Act of 1964.

One might be inclined to say “Well, it’s in everyone’s best interest to go contrary to this law”, however, the 14th Amendment of the Constitution states that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” What this means is that if a law protects one citizen it must protect all citizens. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 should not just apply to minorities, it should apply to all citizens.

The courts reasoning for allowing these seemingly inconsistencies is that minorities have experienced a ‘manifest imbalance’ in ‘traditionally segregated jobs’. They believed that by allowing “positive discrimination”, two wrongs would eventually be able to make a right.

While there can certainly be no denial that minorities have endured and experienced a manifest imbalance when it comes to employemnt, mandating a system of quotas and preferential treatment seems to be in opposition to the very goal it is trying to alleviate: discrimination. Using discrimination to stop people from discriminating only helps to foster feelings of segregation in both minorities and non-minorities. Instead, the United States should seek to provide all citizens equal protection and opportunity under the law, regardless of skin color– just as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 aimed to do.

Jordan RushieClass of ’05