Tag: Affirmative Action

Important Components of an Affirmative Action Plan

Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) refers to a written program or a tool where in an employer records the steps to be taken or taken to guarantee the right of all individuals to advance on ability and merit basis without regard to genetic information, race, disability, color, religion, age, sex, veteran’s status, national origin among other factors that cannot be legal base for employment action. The Affirmative Action Plan contains a number of components that include policy statement, organizational chart, responsibilities designation, timetables and goals, grievance procedures, action statement and barriers or problems identification statement (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2014). Policy statement covers equal employment opportunity, nondiscrimination over individuals with disabilities, or sexual harassment. Responsibilities designation component involves documentation and identification of all persons which have a duty in the process of Affirmative Action. Barriers or problem identification statements component involves identification of conditions or situations that require to be changed or to be corrected. Barriers are management or personnel procedures or policies that cause the conditions or situation. Action statement component identifies the particular measure to solve barriers and problem. Goals refers to objectives that narrowly tailored for promoting and hiring safeguarded members of group in EEO classifications to correct the prolonged impact of past discrimination. Goals denote flexible targets utilized to guide efforts of affirmative action in the present plan cycle. Affirmative Action Plan goals are not rations and cannot be utilized to exclude or discriminate persons from job opportunities via reverse discrimination (Office of Information Technology Services, n.d.).

Influence of Minorities on the Political Process and the Impact of Affirmative Action

Minorities have made a great contribution to the change of a number of legislations and policies as they fight for equal rights in the country. Their involvement in various political process that include demonstrations and lobbying, these groups have resulted to the enactment of antidiscrimination law, legalization of gay marriage, women and blacks voting among other changes in the country laws. These changes have made it possible for minorities to acquire equal social, political and economic position as whites in the country. The minority struggle in the country has also resulted to the development of affirmative action. The affirmative action has played a great role in improving educational and employment opportunities for minority group members. Today minority groups are in a better position when it comes to access to employment, acquiring government contracts, in obtaining social benefits, and in earning higher education institutions admission.

I have not had an impact of affirmative action directly in my life. However, I have witnessed some of my friends and relative enjoy the benefits of affirmative action. One of the incidences that I have witnessed is my friend being enrolled in the higher institution of learning on the basis of his race. Although my friend was qualified for the position, the institution was experiencing a challenge in deciding who they should admit and those it should turn down, especially among those who were at the margin. My friend was among the few considered in this group since he was of minority community and the university had to attain the required minority quota, which fortunately had not managed to attain from the selected group. This provided my friend an advantage of being among the few selected among those who were at the cut line. Although the act seemed discriminative to other applicant, it was a clear indication of the government effort in improving the life of minority group, and also a clear indication of political power exacted to the country’s law by the minority groups

Affirmative Action

Affirmative action program refers to a designed management tool to enhance equal employment chances. A core evidence essential to affirmative action is that a contractor’s workforce, absent discrimination, and overtime with in general reflect ethnic, racial, and gender labor pools profile from which the contractor selects and recruits. However, there is a misconception that affirmative involves hiring people that are less qualified compared to other applicants in order to balance on gender, or race. This is not true, before a consideration of race and gender is employed, an applicant must be qualified. Other misconception is equating affirmative action with diversity and civil rights. There is also a misconception that a company can get a person of color of different gender from a pool of unemployed individuals if their finalist pool does not satisfy the diversity requirement of the federal government. This is just a myth since these individuals are not supposed to be favored, they must be competitive. Discrimination only occurs when the aspects of disqualification are based on discriminative aspects such as gender or race (Messerli, 2010).

The affirmative action has been used to offer a higher preference to the minority groups such that in a pool of qualified applicant, a minority is given a higher privilege over others, especially if the organization has not meet the federal government diversity requirement. The program also offers scholarship to the minority groups as a way of uplifting their academic level of qualification to make them more competitive in the job market. Affirmative action also dictates on how university should enroll its students, with much emphasis being provided on increasing the enrollment of students from minority groups which include female and non-whites racial. This meant to increase their level of competitiveness in the job market in the future (Civilrights.org, n.d.).

Affirmative action may not directly benefit those who used to experience discrimination, however, plays a great role in ensuring diversity and inclusion in an organization. In this regard, every employee in the organization can benefit by sharing new ideas, knowledge. Diversity is related with high level of organization creativity and innovation and thus, it can indirectly help them to grow professionally.

Affirmative Action as a Social Policy

What is Affirmative Action as a social policy?

An affirmative action as social policy is a directive that is created for purposes of promoting the welfare of minority and the disadvantaged groups through consideration of the fact that all individuals were created equally and, therefore, deserve equal treatment (Beckman, 2014). An affirmative action contains a set of guidelines, administrative practices, policies, and laws that have an intent to eliminate and correct the impacts of particular forms of discriminations.

What were the goals of Affirmative Action?  Has it been successful?

The main goal of affirmative action is to dissolve barriers and any other forms of hindrances that could either be seen or unseen, to equalize the playing ground, and ensure that every person is treated with fairness. Even though the affirmative action does not aim at guaranteeing equal results, it aims at ensuring that disabled people, women, African American, and other groups that are at the risk of facing discrimination realize opportunities and be represented in educational institutions and work force of the nation (Beckman, 2014). Most of these goals have not yet been achieved because the society is witnessing high levels of income-based inequalities.

What are the basic arguments for Affirmative Action and what are those against it?  Which side do you find the most convincing and why?

The basic arguments for the affirmative action are as follows: affirmative action is an effective approach of ensuring achievement and maintenance of diversity in schools as well as workplaces; it is an effective way of compensating races that suffered oppression for many years; and finally, the affirmative action assists disadvantaged groups to realize opportunities that can enhance their advancements (Beckman, 2014). On the other hand, the basic arguments against affirmative are as follows: affirmative action is a converse form of discrimination; it spoils the vision of meritocracy; it strengthens racism and stereotypes in regard to the previous oppressions; and finally, having people of all races in the workforce does not imply diversity in opinion. The side that I find most convincing is the one arguing for the affirmative action because of the successes that have been realized in terms of college admissions and representation in the workforce.

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What Would Happen If Affirmative Action Did Not Exist?

If affirmative action did not exist, maintaining an economic equality as well as socioeconomic status within the society would be a difficult factor to achieve. Prevalently, affirmative action allows the government to take part in the private sector hence rectifying cultural obstacles that the ethnic minorities may be facing hence. It is a fact that the cultural aspects of the minority communities are the main factors resulting in economic inequality hence the development of socioeconomic status in the society.

If affirmative action were inexistent, people would not have to worry about the societal value of individualism being violated. As it is, individualism is one of the societal aspects allowing each person to fulfill their desires. However, affirmative action constantly eradicates the aspect of individualism within the society by establishing different groups of persons based on their race and gender features. On the same scale, if affirmative action did not exist, sex and race are factors which will not be considered to stir up discrimination in the society before regarding qualifications for a job opening or even in institutions of higher learning. Furthermore, if affirmative action were not prevalent in the society, minorities within the community would not have to worry about demeaning messages being sent to them suggesting that they are incapable or imperfect.

If affirmative action did not exist, people would have to worry about reduced opportunities within the business world. Incidentally, it is a fact that a company can expand its spectrum of opportunities through the maintenance of the policies of affirmative action that includes government contracts. Dontigney (2016) points out that business provided with governmental contracts have no option but to establish and maintain policies of affirmative action. Government contracts availability differs from one administration to the other as well as from one state budget to the other. However, the bottom line is that the outlined contracts prove to be a lucrative windfall for the business which has them in their possession.

Furthermore, the unavailability of affirmative action would mean that moral commitment within the business environment would be inexistent. Dontigney (2016) suggests that having affirmative action within the disposal of corporations means adhering to a moral duty that calls for an absolute justice involving a fair treatment for all the employees. The outlined moral stand aids in drawing the employees in sharing a common belief that justice and fairness exist in the workplace. As a result, a tolerant workplace environment is fostered among the people with an assurance of future promotions or considerations. Therefore, affirmative action unavailability means decreased moral commitment, increased injustice and unfairness in the workplace.

King (1963) points out that inexistence of affirmative action means an increase in the level of outrage across different races even in a jail setting. Increased oppression of the Negros characterized by inhumane treatment would become profound to a strong point disturbing peace and freedom of people from the oppressed races. Incidentally, it is not possible for the nation to survive without affirmative action with an outlined group of people being denied their freedom. The situation would become worse with hatred being spread across the races with the situation worsening through increased injustices. As it is, the increased injustice of the existing racial discrimination results in a movement composed of people from the black race considering the Whites as inhumane or even linking them to the devil.

Evolution of Affirmative Action Over The Last 40+ Years

For over 40 years, affirmative action has been used as a solution to racial inequality problems faced by organizations. The concept of affirmative action was introduced in 1961 by President Kennedy. Its creation was influenced by the high levels of discrimination that were observed in constitutional guarantees and civil rights laws. Enforcement of the term ‘affirmative action’ was however done during the reign of President Johnson (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005). The original goal of affirmative action was to level the playing field with reference to jobs and education, and to make sure that blacks and other minority groups had equal opportunities for career advancements, scholarships, promotions, financial aids, school admissions, and salary increases that had been set aside exclusively for the whites. Many people viewed affirmative action as a temporary issue that would end immediately a level playing field is created for all American citizens. However, for more than 45 years now, affirmative action still exists but with a totally different image from the one it had in 1961 (Rojas, 2002).

In its original form, affirmative action gave minorities and women equal opportunities during employment hiring, entrance to universities, and federal contracts. It attempted to eliminate discrimination against women and minorities in America. During this time, affirmative action was labeled ‘reverse discrimination’ because it discriminated against white men. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows review of race-conscious affirmative action that is practiced by public or private employers and unions. Title VI of the Act allows review of affirmative action if practiced by private or state recipients of federal funds. Affirmative action that is practiced by government agencies is subject to review under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In 1965, Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 that required the Secretary of Labor to formulate rules that will allow federal contractors to eliminate discrimination. The department of labor, in collaboration with the construction industry, established plans that could pressure labor unions to create work crews that are ethnically balanced (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

One case that can help in understanding the Civil Rights Act is the Griggs vs. Duke Power Company of 1971. In this case, the court held that affirmative action prohibits both intentional discrimination as well as employment policies that have resulted into the impacts of previous discrimination. It was established that organizations that discriminate against employees on the basis of race will have violated the Civil Rights Act. In 1976, the Supreme Court decided to except the federal government from liability under the fifth Amendment’s due process clause (Rojas, 2002). This was in the case of Washington vs. Davis of 1976 where the Supreme Court argued that the federal government could not be granted the same impact standard under the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause employers in the private sector are protected by the Civil Rights Act (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

Flaws in the policies that support affirmative action began to occur in the late 1970s. People were concerned about reverse discrimination when an increasing number of white men were denied education chances in institutions of higher learning. This issue was evidenced in the case of Regents of the University of California vs Bakke of 1978 (The Regents of the University of California, 2010). In this case, Allan Bakke was denied a chance in the University of California Medical School in two consecutive years. The school had reserved 16 out of 100 seats for women and minority groups and Bakke could not be given a chance because he was a white male. The Supreme Court later affirmed that affirmative action was a legal approach that organizations can use to reduce discrimination. However, the court was against the inflexible quota system that the medical school was trying to include in the affirmative action programs. For this reason, the court had unfairly discriminated against Bakke. According to Lewis Powell, the then judge of the Supreme Court, stated that universities may use race-based affirmative action in their admissions. However, racial quotas must completely be eliminated. In this case, race is just one of the factors that universities can use when they want to maintain a heterogeneous student body (Rojas, 2002).

Conservatives looked at the affirmative action concept as a zero-sum game that only opened doors for minorities while it denied whites education and job opportunities. The white angry men felt that majorities of unqualified blacks were enjoying opportunities offered to them by the American system. Some Americans blamed minority groups for trying to make the American way work for them yet they had experienced even more serious adversities in the hands of Asians and Jews. By the mid 1980s, American Universities used both the quota system and the race-based system in the admission programs. Several educational institutions and companies began to change the original intentions of affirmative action (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

In 1980, the Supreme Court ruled that the government should set aside a certain amount of money to reward companies that did not discriminate against the minority groups. This ruling was meant to prevent companies from discriminating against minority groups. In addition, the ruling was meant to increase the number of businesses owned by minority groups. Non-minority businesses were expected to subcontract approximately 9.5 percent of their businesses to minority businesses. It is also during the late 1980s when it was held by the Supreme Court that discriminative practices that were performed before the Civil Rights Act were legal. Looking at the steps that affirmative action had taken up to this point, it is clear that the original intention of affirmative action had been changed (Rojas, 2002).

Debates about the effectiveness of affirmative action became even more complex and difficult. In the late 1980s, many people began to understand numerous injustices that were brought about by affirmative action. In Wygant case of 1986, white employees in senior positions were laid off while black employees retained their jobs. In 1987, the Alabama Department of Public Safety declined to promote black people above entry level even after they were demanded by the court for 12 years. In these instances, the initial goal of affirmative action had not been achieved because a level playing field had not been created for American citizens (Rojas, 2002).

The quota systems that universities had imposed in affirmative action programs began to fade in 1994 when the University of Maryland awarded scholarship only to African-American students. The University was struck by the Supreme Court which later affirmed that such practices were illegal. In 1998, the University of Texas Law School was also struck by the Court of Appeal for admitting students by race. This caused further disintegration of the University practices and admission systems that largely discriminated against white students. The main objective of the Supreme Court in these two instances was to do away with the issue of ‘reverse discrimination.’ The debates continued until 2003 when the Supreme Court decided to endorse the opinions if Justice Powell. This was in the case of Grutter vs. Bolliner of 2003 that involved the University of Michigan. In this case, the Supreme Court held that diversity of the student body is a compelling issue that can allow for the use of race in admissions. However the road for diversity-inspired affirmative action programs in 2003 was not as clear as those of 1978 (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

Some American citizens feel that affirmative action resulted into the impacts of reverse discrimination against white males because it prevented discrimination against women and minorities. In several instances, conservatives have accused the Supreme Court of endorsing reverse discrimination. When raising their complaints, American citizens stated that academic institutions and employers favored men and minorities in almost all aspects. Conversely, other Americans supported affirmative action because they felt that this system helped to counteract the past injustices that had been committed in institutions of higher learning and companies (Rojas, 2002). According to supporters, affirmative action could assist companies and academic institutions to achieve gender and racial equality. In a reaction against affirmative action, President Ronald Reagan decided to cut finding for civil rights division of the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to Reagan, black and other minorities should not be compensated for past injustices and the government should relax its efforts of fighting for equality on behalf of minorities and blacks (Appel, Gray and Loym, 2005).

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Affirmative Action and the Law

“Affirmative Action and the Law” Please respond to the following:

  • Analyze the Bakke and the University of Michigan rulings and discuss two implications these court rulings have on you as the personnel manager of your agency.
  • Debate It: Take a position for or against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in 1986 on the use of affirmative action in hiring, promotion, and layoffs for your agency. Provide at two reasons and examples to support your position.

Question: 2

Ethics Management and Training” Please respond to the following:

  • From the e-Activity, analyze at least two issues or current events found in the news items on the Website. Discuss reasons and consequences of the actions described. Recommend two ways you will address the issue(s) in your agency.
  • Propose a strategy to implement an ethics management and training program for current and newly hired employees in your agency. Within your strategy, propose a plan that includes a minimum of three key elements to be included for employees and a plan for management.
  • e-Activity —–
  • Go to The Center for Public Integrity iWatch. Scroll to the bottom of the page to “What We Investigate.” Select a topic and review two of the latest news items about it. Be prepared to discuss.
  • question 2 refers to e-activity each question has to be one page

Time to Scrap Affirmative Action

Paper instructions:

Read the article “Time to Scrap Affirmative Action” and respond to these questions:

  • Examine the author’s treatment of counterarguments in “Time to Scrap Affirmative Action.”
  • Does this author handle counterarguments effectively? How?
  • Also, are there any important counterarguments that the author has failed to address?

Social policies – Time to scrap affirmative action

Governments should be colour-blind
Apr 27th 2013 | From the print edition

ABOVE the entrance to America’s Supreme Court four words are carved: “Equal justice under law”. The court is pondering whether affirmative action breaks that promise. The justices recently accepted a case concerning a vote in Michigan that banned it, and will soon rule on whether the University of Texas’s race-conscious admissions policies are lawful. The question in both cases is as simple as it is divisive: should government be colour-blind?
America is one of many countries where the state gives a leg-up to members of certain racial, ethnic, or other groups by holding them to different standards. The details vary. In some countries, the policy applies only to areas under direct state control, such as public-works contracts or admission to public universities. In others, private firms are also obliged to take account of the race of their employees, contractors and even owners. But the effects are strikingly similar around the world (see article).

The burden of history 

Many of these policies were put in place with the best of intentions: to atone for past injustices and ameliorate their legacy. No one can deny that, for example, blacks in America or dalits in India (members of the caste once branded “untouchable”) have suffered grievous wrongs, and continue to suffer discrimination. Favouring members of these groups seems like a quick and effective way of making society fairer.
Most of these groups have made great progress. But establishing how much credit affirmative action can take is hard, when growth also brings progress and some of the good—for example the confidence-boosting effect of creating prominent role models for a benighted group—is intangible. And it is impossible to know how a targeted group would have got on without this special treatment. Malays are three times richer in Singapore, where they do not get preferences, than in next-door Malaysia, where they do. At the same time, the downside of affirmative action has become all too apparent.
Awarding university places to black students with lower test scores than whites sounds reasonable, given the legacy of segregation. But a study found that at some American universities, black applicants who scored 450 points (out of 1,600) worse than Asians on entrance tests were equally likely to win a place. That is neither fair on Asians, nor an incentive to blacks to study in high school. In their book “Mismatch”, Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor produce evidence that suggests affirmative action reduces the number of blacks who qualify as lawyers by placing black students in law schools for which they are ill-prepared, causing many to drop out. Had they attended less demanding schools, they might have graduated.
Although the groups covered by affirmative action tend to be poorer than their neighbours, the individuals who benefit are often not. One American federal-contracting programme favours businesses owned by “socially and economically disadvantaged” people. Such people can be 87 times richer than the average American family and still be deemed “disadvantaged” if their skin is the right colour. One beneficiary of South Africa’s programme of “Black Economic Empowerment” is worth an estimated $675m; he is also the deputy president of the ruling party. Letting members of certain groups charge more and still win public contracts is nice for the few who own construction firms; less so for the many who rely on public services. The same goes for civil-service quotas. When jobs are dished out for reasons other than competence, the state grows less competent, as anyone who has wrestled with Indian or Nigerian officialdom can attest. Moreover, rules favouring businesses owned by members of particular groups are easy to game. Malaysians talk of “Ali-Baba” firms, where Ali (an ethnic Malay) lends his name, for a fee, to Baba (a Chinese businessman) to win a government contract.
Although these policies tend to start with the intention of favouring narrow groups, they spread as others clamour to be included. That American federal programme began by awarding no-bid contracts to firms owned by blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans; now it covers people with ancestry from at least 33 countries. In India 60% of the population are eligible for privileges as members of scheduled castes, tribes or “other backward classes”. Such policies poison democracy by encouraging divisions along lines drawn by discriminatory rules. The anger thus stoked has helped stir bloody conflicts in India, Rwanda and Sri Lanka. And such rules, once in place, are almost impossible to get rid of. In 1949 India’s constitution said quotas should be phased out in ten years, but they are now more widespread than ever. America’s policies have survived decades of legal pushback, though not unscathed.
The content of their character
The University of Texas (UT) justifies discriminating in favour of black people not on the ground that society owes it to them, but because, it claims, a diverse university offers a better education to all its students. That is a reasonable argument—some companies benefit from understanding a variety of customers, for instance, and the police probably keep order better if enough of them share a culture with the neighbourhood they patrol—but it does not wash for most institutions. In UT’s case, although colleges benefit from a diversity of ideas, to use skin colour as a proxy for this implies that all black people and all Chinese people view the world in a similar way. That suggests a bleak view of the human imagination.
Universities that want to improve their selection procedures by identifying talented people (of any colour or creed) from disadvantaged backgrounds should be encouraged. But selection on the basis of race is neither a fair nor an efficient way of doing so. Affirmative action replaced old injustices with new ones: it divides society rather than unites it. Governments should tackle disadvantage directly, without reference to race. If a school is bad, fix it. If there are barriers to opportunity, remove them. And if Barack Obama’s daughters apply to a university, judge them on their academic prowess, not the colour of their skin.
From the print edition: Leaders