Application of Affirmative Action

Applicationof Affirmative Action

Applicationof Affirmative Action

Recently,there have been propositions for the considerations of theminorities, based on the sex and race, to increase diversity in theworkplace and increase accessibility of employment opportunities forall. The propositions are based on the unequal hiring in most sectorsthat increases the population of whites in most jobs and at the sametime reduce the incidence of other minority groups. Feminist valuesare based on equal consideration as opposed to favoring the interestsof women. Therefore, hiring based on sex violates feminist values orthe values of racial equality. Hiring less qualified individualsbased on sex is not justified.

Affirmationaction is the equivalent of backward looking. It attempts tocompensate for the historical injustice committed against the Blacksand other minority groups by providing them with favorableopportunities. According to Pojman, the attempt does not work becauseregardless of the unequal access to employment, it is impossible toeliminate the history of injustice against the minorities. Therefore,the argument is nullified by the lack of connection between thebackward looking and proving advantages to the minorities. Hettingersuggests that while backward looking is not important, considerationbased on sex and gender are not irrelevant because of the relevancefor diversification in the workplace. For this reason, selection of aslightly less qualified candidate based on gender and race are notrandom acts, and they sometimes have workplace applications. In theargument, Hettinger does not mention why the hiring based on genderand race is not random. The article merely mentions the fact and doesnot offer a compelling reason. For this reason, where an employerhires a manager based on indirect reasons, they are violating theirresponsibility to drive productivity in the workplace. For thisreason, the backward looking is not a satisfactory reason to hiremarginalized individuals.

Isit possible to make a case for the acceptability of affirmativeaction? Racism and sexism are based on the belief that certain racesand genders are inferior to the others. Therefore, the races areaccorded preferential treatment. The main difference is that in theclassical definitions, sexism and racism are negative and seek todegrade while, in the affirmative action, they are meant to assistthe minorities to rise above their limitations. However, theaffirmative action is an admission that the minority races are not asgood as the rest otherwise, they would not need an unfair advantagebecause of their race. Therefore, while the motives are different,the premises of racism and sexism are the same as affirmative action.According to Hettinger, the opposition of affirmative action based onracism and sexism are not valid. Nonetheless, the argument fails tojustify the similarities by the arguments. If one accepts thatbackward thinking does not address the historical injustices againstwomen and minority races, it follows that regardless of the outcomes,affirmative action is an expression of a belief that minority racesand women are inferior.

Inthe traditional expression of racism and gender bias, the affectedgroups were discriminated against based on involuntary traits. No onechooses their race or gender, and it is unfair to discriminate basedon the involuntary Traits. According to Pojman, the affirmativeaction is an expression of discrimination based on how a personlooks. However, Hettinger opposes the view and suggests thataffirmative action achieves positive rewards for the society bydiversification of the economy and creating opportunities forminorities to advance. Hettinger appeals the values of utilitarianismand shows that where the society derives good outcomes, it ispossible to rationalize the outcomes of the actions. Again, while therefutation has a valid basis, it does not show how the entire societybenefits from affirmative action. For example, it is possible torationalize racism if discrimination of a small section of thepopulation benefits the rest of the society. According to the Kantcategorical imperative, human beings cannot be used as a means to anend. For this reason, regardless of the potential benefits, if theyeven exist, it is not acceptable to sacrifice the welfare of certainpeople in the society.

Youngwhite males are not paid any compensation for the sacrifice they arerequired to make. While the affirmative action may be motivated bythe desire to pay the beneficiaries for the historical sacrifices oftheir ancestors, the same case is not applicable to the white males.Hettinger suggests that the sacrifice is for the ‘greater good’of the society and is acceptable because it creates a better society.Again, it is impossible to show how the hiring policies benefit theminorities. Even if they did, it would be impossible to rationalizethe treatment of people based on sex and race.

Theimportance of merit should always be greater than the desire ofbreaking stereotypes in the society. According to Pojman, merit is avery important part of the society because it creates conditions thatencourage hard work. In all societies, enterprising individuals maketheir paths and seek to have greater qualifications that thecompetition. In such a model, the distribution of the resources isequitable because it allows equal opportunities for all members.Therefore, the concept of affirmative action is flawed because itcreates conditions that result in the violation of merits and createsinequality in the society. In fact, Pojman suggests that affirmativeaction may have the reversed effect and reinforce stereotypes asopposed to breaking them. Racial profiles and gender may become moreimportant than merit and thus reverse the stereotypes in the society.Instead of the privileged white male, there would emerge theprivileged races and gender.

Isdiversity an important feature in the workplace? Recently, a schoolof thought suggests the feminine and the masculine gender constantlykeep each other in check has risen to prominence. Balancing the twoin the workplace creates gender balance between the values of dutyand care, a core aspect of the current society. In this regard, itwould be apparent that balancing gender is an important workingcomponent because it allows balance in the workplace. Therefore,diversity is an important component because it allows application ofdifferent human aspects in the workplace and consequently improvesthe functionality of the working environment. In a way, thesuggestion is an expression of gender stereotype, but contemporaryresearch supports it, and it possesses potential benefits to theworkplace. However, Pojman suggests that diversity should not trumpmerit in the workplace. Despite the relevance of having a diversifiedworkplace to account for the global values and other businessfeatures of diversity, merits ensure all workers are heldaccountable, and the management can have a specific criterion forhiring new workers.

Theconsensus of the two writers is that backward thinking is notimportant, and it has no basis. The agreement is not valid becausetraditionally, the African Americans were slaves with no access toproductive capital. Therefore, the minorities are unable to affordequal employment opportunities as their white counterparts. Theimplication is that the better qualification of the whites may be afunction of historical advantages endowed on them by an unfairapplication. If one was to account for the historical injustice, itis possible to rationalize the advantages of backward thinkingbecause it facilitates the growth of the historically discriminatedminorities. The argument reduces the historical disadvantages andincreases the chances of equality in the future provided the hiringcriterion be used up to a certain point. However, regardless of thepotential benefit of this way of thinking, accounting for thehistorical injustice is unfair because the current generation was notresponsible for the suffering endured by past minorities. Suchapplications may result in resentment and inhibit the cohesion of thesociety. For this reason, it is important to leave the past behindand progress based on the values of equality. The affirmative actionlimits progress because it is based on historical aspects.

Thereare concerns that unfair representation of the minorities is anaspect of sexism and racism. The proposal of affirmative action wasintended to reduce the unequal representations in the workplace toreduce the usage of sexism and race to determine if a person securedemployment. For example, in the army, there are more men than womenbecause of the stereotype view of the masculine gender as aggressiveand suited to the battlefield. However, in the application process,there are more male applicants than women. The recruitment of ahigher number of women may be intended to create the impression thatwomen are as effective as men are and reduce the sexist bias againstwomen. However, that would be pointless because the hiring processwas based on the volume of applicants as opposed to sexist concerns.Therefore, the propositions of the affirmative action are not validin all situations and application of unfair selection metrics isunlikely to reduce the differences. Take the example of popularsports such as soccer and football. Should they include minorityraces and marginalized gender to decrease sexism? If a basketballteam were to have a woman and loose to a team without a woman, theresults would be catastrophic for the proponents of gender equality.Therefore, the woman to be included should have the requiredqualifications and not merely selected because she is a woman.

Inconclusion, there is a very compelling argument to supportaffirmative action. Affirmative action facilitates the elimination ofsexism and racism and has potential applications in reducing theeffects of historical biases against the minorities. For example, itreduces the gap between the capital control by the African Americansand the whites. However, in a progressive society, the best hiringpractices include the interests of all groups as opposed toattempting to account for historical differences. Therefore,self-determinism is the best approach in the hiring process.Self-determinism has motivational value and creates a good hiringmetric going forward. Therefore, qualification and merit shouldalways be considered above the interests of the minorities.


Hettinger,E. (n.d.). What is Wrong with Reverse Discrimination? Business andProfessional Ethics Journal, 6(3), 39-55.

Pojman,L. (n.d.). The Moral Status of Affirmation Action. Public AffairsQuarterly, 181-204.