Affirmative Action
“Affirmative Action [is] a policy or a program that seeks to redress past discrimination through active measures to ensure equal opportunity, as in education and employment. Initiative 200 aims to give each and every person a fair and equal opportunity, in public employment, public education, and public contracting. Is I-200 the appropriate means of abolishing Affirmative Action? Despite its intentions, there are many people who feel that this initiative will not move the fight against racism forward, but it will move it backwards, back to where it was in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
When President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10952 he became the first President to use the phrase "Affirmative Action". The order created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and directed contractors on projects financed with federal funds to “take Affirmative Action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during their employment, without regard to race, creed, color or national origin.” Kennedy went on to urge Congress to enact a fairly comprehensive civil rights act, to expand educational and employment opportunities for minorities.
The original intent of Affirmative Action was good, but over the past 30 years, people have altered what it is supposed to mean, and what it is supposed to do. In the 90’s the tables have changed, Caucasians, specifically males, have been discriminated against, just to ensure that the government meets its “ethnicity quota.” The state of Washington, and the Federal government, have both wasted our money, and discriminated against white males. A real life example of this is at the University of Washington, where a young, poor, white female, who was raised by a single mother in Seattle, paid for her undergraduate degree by working as a janitor at night. She applied for the University’s law school, and was rejected, even though her admission test scores were in the 95th percentile. Why would someone be rejected with her background? The reason, she checked one little box marked “white” she feels that she was probably passed up for someone more diverse, with lower than average test scores and GPA. In 1994, when she applied, the University of Washington Law School had just finished a diversity program that raised the minority enrollment from 17% in 1989 to well over 40% in 1994 . Even though this is just one example, there are many more throughout Washington, and even more throughout the U.S.
Is this right; is it the right thing to do? No, of course not, there ought not to be a place for you to check on a college application, employment application, or anywhere else, which asks you what your ethnical background is. By doing so, it creates even more prejudices because those people who were passed up, become angry at the system and at the people who could had been admitted, with lower test scores. The only way to end Affirmative Action, and racism, is for everyone to be looked at equally.
Many people define Affirmative Action as the ability to strive for equality and inclusiveness. Is Affirmative Action fair? In 1974, a woman named Rose was turned down for a supervisory job in favor of a male. She was told that she was the most qualified person, but the position was going to be filled by a man, because he had a family to support. Five years before that, when Rose was about to fill an entry-level position in banking, a personnel officer outlined the woman’s pay scale, which was $25 to $50 a month less than what men were being paid for the same position. Rose was furious because she felt this was discriminating to her. She confronted the personnel officer and he saw nothing wrong with it (Skrentny, 1996). Thanks to Affirmative Action today things like these situations are becoming more rare and are corrected more quickly. Affirmative Action has definitely helped women and minorities in their careers, but it has yet to succeed in the goal of equality to the fullest for the business world to women and minorities. “Some observers argue that women have made huge strides, with the help of Affirmative Action. They now hold 40 percent of all corporate middle-management jobs, and the number of women-owned businesses has grown by 57 percent since 1982” (Blackwood,