For and Against Affirmative Action


For and Against Affirmative Action


  • It works- 86% of African Americans finish high school (two times the levels in the 1960s), also university graduation is up 10% to 15%, so it should continue
  • Delivers equality of opportunity- it is an effective means of delivering what it was arguably designed to do, because there continues to be  high levels of inherent racial prejudice in America: unemployment is considerably higher in black communities up to 50% in NY and Chicago
  • Creates opportunities for minorities- by creating aspiration amongst the young, in 1970s 15% of African Americans were white collar workers, in 2010 it was up to 70%
  • Creates racial diversity and tolerance- promotes tolerance and acceptance for future leadership by minorities, see the Michigan Mandate
  • Creates diversity- this is better for society, 35% of federal employees are of ethnic minorities, including 18% African American (this is over-representation)
  • It is justified- People of colour in America have been historically socially wronged, see through 'Separate but equal'


  • Creates ill-equipped minorities- individuals end up in institutions and workplaces that they are not equipped for, this causes them to be disadvantaged and quite often drop out, see the 2004 Stanford Review
  • It undermines America's meritocracy- generalises the group and removes individual achievement and identity
  • Its condescending- suggests that minorities would be incapable of achieving without a helping hand and so detracts from their achievement
  • It perpetuates the racial focus- America needs a colourblind society and "the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race" said by current chief justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts
  • It is still a quota system- (this was declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,) institutions feels as though they have to consider race, so they have to have minorities, meaning they will perhaps unintentionally create indirect quotas, see the Bollinger cases and 2007 Meredith v. Jefferson County
  • Creates tension between the group and the individual- there is conflict between the worth of an individual and the identity of the group, the individual's worth becomes intrinsically tied to their race and ignores their potential economic advantage (due in part to the rise of the Black middle class), see 2003 Gratz v. Bollinger
  • The advantage = disadvantage- disadvantages the racial majority, Fisher v. Texas 2013 & 2016


Enough evidence/ arguments to be successful either way in an essay.  Take note of the public opinion though:-87% of Blacks said they had felt no impact from affirmative action. - 72% of people disagreed with using preferential treatment. - 13% of Whites felt they had been hurt by affirmative action. - 8% of Blacks felt they have been hurt by affirmative action. - Only 47% of Americans felt affirmative action was fair. - But 63% of Americans were in favour of programs which overcame past discrimination. Overall public opinion sees affirmative action in principle as a good thing, but also in need of reformation. 


No comments have yet been made