Describe affirmative action and provide a short history of the concept.
Affirmative action refers to policy seeking to improve educational or workplace opportunities for underrepresented groups of society. Such a policy considers factors such as a person’s race, color, sex, national origin, and religion (Fereidooni & Massumi, 2017). Thus, affirmative action seeks to level the playing field for the underrepresented groups in society. Affirmative action was introduced in the 1960s as a strategy for overturning systematic historical discrimination against African-Americans as a response to the American Civil Rights Movement. The federal government first introduced affirmative action to remedy the adverse impacts of longstanding discrimination against African-Americans. Notably, while affirmative action was initially devised to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964, over the years, it has increased its scope of target groups by incorporating factors such as disability, gender, age, veterans, et cetera (Fereidooni & Massumi, 2017). In the modern-day, affirmative action aims to increase opportunities for all disadvantaged groups in society.
Explain whether affirmative action, as a public policy, helps to respect the diversity of the public.
As a public policy, affirmative action significantly helps in respecting the diversity of the public. By increasing educational and employment opportunities for the underrepresented groups in society, affirmative action helps promote diversity. Affirmative action through the concept of equal opportunity allows for the inclusion of people from all backgrounds; as a result, promoting diversity in society (Premdas, 2016). Over the years, affirmative action has played its role plausibly. It has transformed the educational and workforce outlook by combating racial, ethnic, age, and sexual prejudices, consequently promoting diversity. Since affirmative action addresses diversity from the education phase of life, it allows individuals who secure employment opportunities through the policy to be qualified and well-competent for the positions (Fereidooni & Massumi, 2017). Whereas affirmative action does not focus on promoting the paradigm shift towards diversity, it is a positive step towards inclusion through helping provide opportunities for the underrepresented. Thus, affirmative action helps to respect the diversity of the public.
Explain whether affirmative action is meeting the alleged positive goals that it is designed to address.
Affirmative action is considerably meeting the positive goals that it was devised to address. Affirmative action was initiated as the remedy to the adverse consequences of longstanding discrimination against the underrepresented. The underrepresented during the late 20th century included people from minority ethnic backgrounds and women. Although the minority-White unemployment gap still exists, it has significantly decreased (Fereidooni & Massumi, 2017). Racial, ethnic, and gender prejudices have considerably reduced in schools and workplaces, as evident through modern-day society’s inclusion level.
Regarding opportunities for women, unlike the 1960s, there are more employed women than unemployed ones today. Additionally, women have almost equal opportunities as men, as evident in schools and workplaces. Through its various policies, procedures, and programs, affirmative action has leveled the playing field for all persons regardless of their background. Today the advantages of affirmative action are beyond education and employment to include other social benefits hence has considerably reversed societal loss (Fereidooni & Massumi, 2017). Thus, although affirmative action has not fully achieved the goals it was designed to address, it has made tremendous strides towards achieving them.
Read also Time to Scrap Affirmative Action
Discuss the shortfalls that exist in affirmative action.
Despite its achievements, affirmative action has several shortfalls. To start with, it promotes reverse discrimination. Policies that use quotas that provide an advantage to the underrepresented can cause discrimination over others who had better qualifications and competence, hence promotes reverse discrimination. Secondly, affirmative action reinforces stereotypes. Affirmative action is founded that women and minorities are inferior to the and, as a result, promotes superior attitude from the majority groups (Gururaj et al., 2021). A policy that seeks to eliminate discrimination must come from a pure equality perspective.
Thirdly, affirmative action lessens accountability standards for the underrepresented groups. Equality should be about giving every person an equal chance. Contrarily, affirmative action favors some people or groups due to their backgrounds and, as a result, changes accountability standards. Lastly, affirmative action diminishes the achievements that women and minority groups obtain. When a person secures a position or success due to affirmative action, their achievement is likely to be viewed as a result of the policy and not their competency (Gururaj et al., 2021). Nonetheless, affirmative action has made considerable strides in the positive direction.
Does Affirmative Action in the workplace assist with the creation of positive interpersonal relationships in the workforce? What strategies could be implemented to foster a positive environment?
Affirmative action creates positive interpersonal relationships in the workplace through five key aspects. Firstly, it allows for the creation of a diverse workforce. Secondly, it facilitates the establishment of an equitable and accessible workplace. Thirdly, it helps in the creation of a workplace that is free from any form of discrimination. Fourthly, it allows for establishing an inclusive workplace that values all employees regardless of their unique backgrounds. Lastly, it facilitates a level playing field for all employees to succeed (“What Are Diversity, Equal Employment Opportunity, and Affirmative Action? | People & Culture”, 2021). Collectively, these components create a work environment that fosters positive interpersonal relationships due to the workplace culture they undergird.