The topic I plan to research for the next several weeks is affirmative action. I am curious about this topic for a few reasons. Its purpose is to eliminate racial discrimination and create equality by imposing certain racial quotas in places of employment and/or schooling. This essentially means that you cannot be denied employment or acceptance to a school because the “admitter” has a preference of race. This raises many questions, along with a very long list of both benefits and detriments. I want to explore the possibility that the negative effects of affirmative action outweigh the positives. The counterintuitive aspect of this is very obvious. Instead of creating a color blind society and eliminating discrimination, it forces us to look at race and ultimately causes “reverse discrimination.” This reverse discrimination is what I want to further investigate. The idea is not as straight forward as it may seem. It would be absurd to imply that employers and those in admission offices all look to discriminate against white people. With that being said, these people must follow the policies of affirmative action where minorities must be granted positions even over more qualified “non minorities.” The denied applicant will then accuse the denier of being racist, when in reality they were just following legal policies. Regardless of the reasons behind decisions, this causes racial tension that is supposed to be eliminated through affirmative action. Thus, a vicious cycle begins.
Background: This source provides the reader with the perspective of two Kansas State University professors that stand behind affirmative action. They argue that the negative effects of the policy are negligible when compared to the positives it brings. One of the professors also states that he believes a time will come when affirmative action is no longer needed.
How I Intend to Use it: While the counterintuitive aspect of my topic is that Affirmative Action does the opposite of what it claims to do, I know that I must acknowledge the reasons people believe it is useful. Therefore I will use the claims of these two college professors while looking at the positive sides of affirmative action.
Background: This source goes into how reverse discrimination is caused and whether or not affirmative action is worth what it was when it was initially introduced. There is an on-going debate examining the possibility that these policies actually cause more racial tension than it eliminates. There is also a section that compares U.S. affirmative action to other country’s policies, which provides insight on whether or not our policies are the best option.
How I Intend to Use it: I am using this source as a guide to my topic of reverse discrimination. It will help me to form ideas and will also be helpful when looking for further examples to research. Also, if I can make a proposal claim towards the end of my paper, I will use the section that compares our policies to others.
Background: Here is a source that involves the offices at Stanford being accused of racism by simply following the policies set forth by affirmative action. It also states that the accusations of racism are unfair, because decisions are only being made to satisfy the government policies.
How I Intend to Use it: This is a great example of showing that as a society, there is a lot of negative attention towards admission officers even though they are only doing what they have to. I like this because it is very neutral on the topic of whether the nation should throw out affirmative action, and instead focuses on social negative effects involving people placing blame on the wrong individuals for decision making.
Attempt new link to The Diversity Imperative
Background: This article explores the concept of “reverse discrimination” in college acceptance and employment. There are multiple cases where caucasian applicants were denied due to the fact that racial quotas needed to be filled and no more white people could be taken. In one specific case, a white female applicant to the Law School at the University of Michigan sued because she was denied acceptance based on her race. Instead of being rejected because she was a certain race, she was rejected because she was NOT a certain race.
How I Intend to Use it: There are multiple accounts of reverse discrimination in this article, so I plan on using them throughout the course of the paper. When a specific example can be fit into the assignment, I feel it will help the meaning of the paper because they are first hand accounts of reverse discrimination. There is also a statement made by a Justice of the Supreme Court that expresses his belief “that affirmative action may become obsolete if diversity can be maintained by using race-neutral policies.” I like this quote because it supports the proposal to come from source 3.
Attempt new link to Affirmative Action and Campus Racism
Background: This article suggests that through the policies of affirmative action, racism can actually be created. This idea is somewhat abstract; however, the basis for the argument has potential. If caucasians know they are at a disadvantage for a position because they are white, despite qualifications, it will ultimately cause tension between them and the races that have a better chance at the position due to their minority status.
How I Intend to Use it: When speaking of the many negative effects of affirmative action, this is another that I believe can be a very compelling one. Affirmative action was established to eliminate racial tendencies, but if it in turn actually causes racism in some ways, then it is the epitome of counterintuitivity.