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Business Ethics: Affirmative Action

Affirmative action refers to a policy or a program that tries to respond to instances of past discrimination by implementing proactive measures to ensure equal opportunity today. In your own words, discuss your point of view on affirmative action. Do you believe it is fair or does affirmative action create further discrimination (pages 214 - 215 of the text can serve as a refresher and give you more detail on affirmative action)?

I have also attached pages 214 -215 for you viewing.

Affirmative Action

Throughout this chapter, we have discussed the means by which to protect employer interests and employee rights. With regard to the latter, we have focused on employee rights to fair treatment and due process in the workplace. A question arises, however, when we consider balancing those rights with competing employee rights, as may occur in the case of affirmative action . The question regarding affirmative action is not necessarily whether a person has a right to fair process in connection with employment but instead whether one has a right to the job in the first place.
Does one person deserve a position more than another person? For instance, efforts to encourage greater diversity may also be seen as a form of "reverse discrimination": discrimination against those traditionally considered to be in power or
the majority, such as white men. A business that intentionally seeks to hire a candidate from an under-represented group might be seen as discriminating against white males, for example. The arguments on both sides of this issue have a tendency towards emotional persuasion. Imagine you are hiring a social worker to serve an overwhelmingly
African American community that is currently facing issues, among others, of teen pregnancy. Not only might you argue that you want to hire someone who is African American; you might also want a female social worker who might be better
able to speak with the teenage women in that community. On the other hand, in front of you is a 40-year-old white male with a master's degree from an extraordinarily valuable program. He has years of experience in the field and in fact has an
adopted African American daughter himself. He claims he can handle the job. In fact, he claims he deserves the job. Does he? Does it matter whether he deserves it, has a right to the job? Assume you still want the younger African American
woman you know is next on your interview list. What is the fairest decision? Fair to whom? Fairest to the young women of your community, to the applicants you are interviewing, or to other stakeholders? How should you decide? What will be
the consequences of your decision? Diversity issues raise other less apparent problems. For example, consider a
report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that addresses the unique predicament of Asian Americans. The report documents widespread discrimination against Asian Americans, who have long been seen as having escaped the national origin barriers that face other cultures. The report contends that the typical Asian stereotype of being hard-working, intelligent, and successful is actually a detriment to Asian Americans. This stereotype results in the problems of overlooking poor Asians and preventing successful Asian Americans from becoming more successful. It also places undue pressure on young Asian Americans to succeed in school, and it discredits other minorities by arguing that "if Asian Americans can succeed, so can other minorities." 24 In an article highlighting the report, Fortune magazine contends that the problem is really that the commission is "being driven crazy by the fact that Asian Americans have been succeeding essentially without the benefi t of affi rmative action. The ultimate problem is not that they may make other minorities look bad - it is that they are making the civil rights bureaucracy look irrelevant." 25 Some theorists argue that formal affirmative action measures have often served to create a greater divide rather than to draw people closer.
Let us take a closer look at affirmative action to explore the ethical issues it raises. The term affirmative action refers to a policy or a program that tries to respond to instances of past discrimination by implementing proactive measures to ensure equal opportunity today. It may take the form of intentional inclusion of previously excluded groups in employment, eduction, or other environments.

Solution Preview

There really are three sides to the argument of affirmative action, and the best answer is to choose the side that rests in the middle, which is where we find balance. This is also one of the main points that has been misconstrued and overlooked as companies have initiated affirmative action plans and programs in the workplace. On one side of the argument are the reasons as to why affirmative action programs (AAP for simplicity) were even started. The entire point of AAP is to give opportunities to what are known as protected classes - those previously discriminated against for reasons of national origin, race, color, religion, and gender. These are also often referred to as oppressed classes. To solve the problem of the people that possess the characteristics found in the protected classes being ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses affirmative action and if affirmative action programs create fairness in the workplace or promote discrimination.

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