Unfortunatly, this country still very much needs affirmative action and the arguments used to attack affirmative action, both overt and covert, are dead wrong. Several arguments have been used against affirmative action which I will try to list here. One argument is that it is no longer needed, women and minorities have plenty of jobs. Just a quick look at the numbers proves this wrong. More importantly, though, is that women and minorities often make less money then white men working at the same job.
There is a very real wage gap and even as women and minorities have made a great inroads into labor pool, and especially into better paying jobs, the gap persists. Critics of affirmative action often don t have to worry about being pulled over in their car and searched, perhaps roughed up a little in the process, because of the color of their skin. No, but lots of Americans do. Lots of Americans have to face daily the added burdens that they are forced to carry because they are women, African-American, Hispanic or they belong to any other group of people which a great deal of American population still looks down on.
They are instinctively treated as less able, less reliable, more suspicious, more lazy. They tip that silent switch in the back of the interviewers head that makes him think, Well this person is qualified, but let me interview just a few people more…. Woman and minorities continue to be mistreated and so continue to deserve, if not need, the extra help that affirmative action gives them. People may believe that they are successful not on their own merits but because of affirmative action. It seems like a case of low self-esteem turned into national policy. They need people to say, Yes,we believe that you are smart and talented.
And in order to get that, they believe that the stigma will be gone once affirmative action is gone, but the sat truth is that a lot of school admissions and jobs will also be gone. There is, in fact, a potential danger that affirmative action programs can lead to hiring of unqualified people, especially in those programs based on quotas. For that reason, the move for a long time has been away from quota systems. President Clinton, a supporter (if somewhat hesitant) of affirmative action, has made it explicit goverment policy that programs not include quotas.
Opponents argue that there is actually reverse discrimination against white men. They believe that all this society needs to be healthy is to end the discriminatory policies of affirmative action. What will happen is that people will always find scapegoats to blame and those who profit from the status quo will almost always resist changes that may endanger those profits. Affirmative action may not be perfect, but pretending that it is the cause of inequality rather then a part of the cure only does a disservice to this country.