Affirmative action is a controversial topic that could be discussed for hours, either for or against it. Some people believe that it is an essential to assure that people of all backgrounds can have the same opportunities as others. Other people believe that affirmative action is a crutch that allows people unprepared for positions to be placed in these positions. No matter how a person may feel about it, affirmative action is defined as “the practice of improving the educational and job opportunities of members of groups that have not been treated fairly in the past because of their race, sex, etc” (“Affirmative Action,” n. . ).
Is it fair to give someone a position based entirely on their race or ethnicity? What if the person in question is not up to par with the requirements of the position, however they make the requirement of the race they need to be? How would your life be different it affirmative action was not a process we practice here in the United States? These are some of the topics that Sandel points out and expands upon in the video titled “Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Episode 09: ARGUING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION”.
Sandel asks students in the class for their opinion on the matter and gets an understanding of how they feel and what makes them feel that way. Sandel gets mixed opinions from his students on the ethical issues related to affirmative action. Upon reviewing the video for myself, I developed my own opinion which is affirmative action is currently unfair because of the dynamics of society in the world today. I think that affirmative action should not be a thing in today’s world; affirmative action only raises issues regarding race and ethnicity.
An example of this can be found when Sandel talks about the girl named Cheryl Hopwood (“Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? Episode 09: “ARGUING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION”,” 2009). She was denied acceptance to a law school in Texas even though she had outstanding grades that should have easily gotten her into the school. However, Cheryl Hopwood was declined because the school was simply not looking for students who were white at the time. The school was looking fill a spot with a student who even though has poorer grades, is a member of a minority group.
Cheryl Hopwood being declined acceptance to this school because of this reason is completely unfair in my opinion. She had worked hard academically her whole life so that she could go to a good law school and therefor have a respectable career. Just because she did not fit the profile of the student they were looking for at the time this will not happen though. It is clear to me in this instance that affirmative action has only raised issues based on race.
Critics of corporate affirmative action programs argue that it can be nearly impossible to determine in the end whether race or gender was used as a final consideration for employment resulting again in qualified applicants potentially being discriminated against solely because of their race or gender” (“Why is Affirmative Action such a Divisive Issue,” n. d. ). I see that affirmative action is causing people who are unqualified for jobs and other positions to be selected or hired solely based on their race or ethnic background.
I feel that this is unfair because the most qualified people should receive the job or position that they applied for. One student in the video made a statement that stayed with me. He quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on saying “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. This holds true on the case of affirmative action. To me this means that people should be judged and placed accordingly in proportion to what they have done for themselves in order to make them self a better person.
The person who has worked for the best grades should be the first pick for the school. The person who has the best resume and who conducted the best interview should be the first pick for the job; regardless to race or ethnicity. The person who has not taken the initiative to better themselves should not be rewarded with a position because they fit the ethnic background that needs to be filled at the time. Through my eyes it is equally as racist to give someone a position because of their race as it is to decline a person a position because of their race. Jim Webb, a political figure has the same feelings towards affirmative action.
He once voiced these opinions by saying, “state-sponsored racism that is as odious as the lim Crow laws it sought to countermand” (“Webb Makes the Case Modern Affirmative Action Hurts Whites | MRCTV,” 2015). In the video, Sandel makes a connection to Aristotle, he says that “The simplest way of understanding justice is giving people what they deserve. This idea goes back to Aristotle. The real difficulty begins with figuring out who deserves what and why. ” In my opinion the most qualified people deserve the best positions because they have worked for it.
It seems that affirmative action has some advantages, however its disadvantages severely outweigh them. The video points out three main arguments that attempt to justify the process of affirmative action. The arguments that the students in the video point out are corrective, compensatory, and diversity. While some people can justify these reasons and see affirmative action as a fair act, I do not. The first argument that the video points out is the argument of correction for differences in educational backgrounds. This argument involves the demographics of certain areas in the United States.
Some people in the video believe that because minorities sometimes come from cities or towns in which income is low and many families are poor these minorities are at a disadvantage. They believe that these minorities simply cannot achieve the same accomplishments to put on their resume as a white person. They believe that these minorities did not grow up with the same advantages that whites have while growing up. I find the argument of correction completely invalid. It is a stereotype to assume that all white people grow up in rich, safe neighborhoods where the schools have the best supplies.
I personally have white friends who grew up and went to school in poor sections Philadelphia. At the same time, it is a stereotype to assume that all minorities do not grow up in decent neighborhoods where it is easier to set up a brighter future. All people grow up with some advantages and some disadvantages. It is unfair to give handouts to certain people because of these advantages and disadvantages all people have. The second argument that the video addressed was the compensatory argument. Members of the class in the video believe that because of past wrongs done by white people affirmative action is fair.
They believe that because white people are responsible for slavery and being racists in the past affirmative action should be a practice in process today. While | do agree that this argument could be valid in the past, in today’s world it is not a valid argument. This argument of compensating wrongdoings in the past is only making people keep a racist mindset. By doing this, we are essentially fighting fire with firein the end nothing is going to be solved and we are only going to have a bigger fire. “Strong Affirmative Action is reverse discrimination. It says it is right to do wrong to correct a wrong.
It is the policy that is currently being promoted under the name of Affirmative Action” (Pojman, n. d. ). Because my white ancestors were racists and promoted slavery, why should I as a completely un-racist white person suffer? I do not have any personal connections to these people other than DNA, I should not suffer the consequences of their evils. The argument of compensation for past wrongs is only causing people to retain a racist mindset. If we truly want to be a diverse society where race and ethnicity does not matter and racism is history, affirmative action also needs to become history.
The last argument that the video explains for a possible defense to affirmative action is diversity. The students in the video say that affirmative action is fair because it promotes a diverse educational experience. These people feel that students going to college or other institutes need to be exposed to people of all races and ethnicities to truly experience and get the most out of their educational venture. How does this apply when affirmative action is being used in choosing police officers and other jobs where lives are at stake?
I feel that this argument is unfair, and that it does not justify affirmative action. When a person applies for a position where people’s lives are at stake such as a police officer the best candidate should be chosen. I feel that it makes more sense to choose the people who have the best backgrounds and resumes than it is to choose people solely based on their race. In my opinion having a diverse work force does mean anything if the work force is incompetent and cannot perform the duties the job requires, because they were chosen based on their race and not their personal characteristics.
Overall, I feel that the process of affirmative action is morally unfair. The best candidate for a position should receive the position, regardless of race or ethnicity. It is unfair that a girl who studied hard her whole life to go to law school was turned down only because she was white. Unqualified people should not be receiving jobs and positions only because they are members of a minority group. All of the defenses to affirmative action can easily be looked thorough. Affirmative action is a form of modern-day racism and is unfair to all people involved in it.