Essay Sample: Affirmative Action and Reasons for Regarding Discrimination as Morally Illegitimate

Published: 2019-08-30
Essay Sample: Affirmative Action and Reasons for Regarding Discrimination as Morally Illegitimate
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Policy Discrimination
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1153 words
10 min read

Affirmative action is the creation of a policy that takes positive steps towards the improvement of the treatment offered to the minority and disadvantaged members of society including the discriminated members of a particular culture (Lippert-Rasmussen 1). The discriminated groups that affirmative action emphasizes on are by the race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation among other groups that historically faced exclusion. Affirmative action tries to correct and reduce the existence of the wrongs committed by these groups. It aims at stimulating the opportunities presented to the minority groups in the society to generate equal access as of the majority population. The use of affirmative action has several benefits on the involved groups.

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Affirmative action presents several benefits on the minority and discriminated groups. To begin with, these minority groups acquire employment benefits to different job groups that they earlier faced denial. In addition, they have a fast integration into the workforce (Lippert-Rasmussen 2). It also helps reduce the tension among the different sexes and races involved. Moreover, it achieves student diversity at higher institutions of learning. Lastly, there is the provision of better services for the minority groups (Lippert-Rasmussen 2). However, the introduction of affirmative action in several countries has created heavy criticisms and heated debates worldwide.

The use of affirmative action also has several negative effects. To begin with, it creates reverse discrimination. Affirmative action only protects one side of the groups that is the minority and discriminated groups. The sense of guilt embeds itself on the other side while they still face ridicule (Lippert-Rasmussen 4). The minorities tend to take advantage of this special treatment and protection, as they tend to rely only on the assistance they acquire due to the policy. In addition, the policy requires the lowering of the quality and principles of the education system in order to cater the minority groups. The minority groups should strive to earn everything they possess instead of being favored by the system.

One of the wrongs that affirmative action tries to remedy is discrimination of the minority groups. Several arguments prove discrimination is morally wrong. To begin with, it involves the unjust and harsh treatment of the people with different traits by race, disability, religion, and gender. It also demeans the group it targets (Lippert-Rasmussen 1). The group targeted may also feel inferior at the hands of the other group. In addition to the fact that discrimination violates the equal entitlement each person has to independence, it also denies the discriminated group a chance of equal moral status (Lippert-Rasmussen 2). Minority groups acquire a treatment equal to those of individuals with a low moral status. Different people have opposing views on the effects of affirmative action.

Comparison of Fullinwider and Steeles View on Affirmative Action

Shelby Steele supports the policies created in the affirmative action law. Steele explains that positive discrimination contains all the moral balance and the fairness required in the society. Steele sees affirmative action as a step towards achieving good intentions to the minority and discriminated groups. However, the good intentions can blind people from the implications of the plans when implemented (Steele 1). Shelby conducted research on the arguments created by both the supporters and the non-supporters of the policy. He observed that the supporters focused only on the good intentions created by affirmative action while the critics stressed on the negative effects (Steele 2). Steele gives an example of the advancements made by the blacks in the acquisition of power and respect in the society, while the whites reducing the barriers between them and the black community. He supports these decisions by the whites to reduce their barriers with the blacks while the blacks were pursuing real power. The problem as illustrated by Steele arose when both parties converged and created the affirmative action. This is because the effect of the policy misled the peoples understanding of racial discrimination as it made black a more preferred color (Steele 2).

On the other hand, Robert Fullinwider argues that Americas history makes it vital for the equal treatment of people by treating them inversely. Fullinwider explains this point by considering the importance of the spirit of individualism. He expounds by stating that treating people from vast social and economic backgrounds equally as opposed to the fact that these communities shared dreadful histories that affected their interactions. As he further states, individualism should strive for the fair treatment of people by putting into consideration their distinct backgrounds. Fullinwider also points out that differences in perspectives and views do not show a relationship with the racial origins.

Who do you Think Makes the Stronger Case and Why

Shelby Steele creates an open argument giving examples on history since the first use and creation of affirmative action while Robert Fullinwider argues at an individual point of view by pointing out the differences in past circumstances should define the current treatment. Both arguments, when integrated into one, can create an adamant point that might create a new law that defines affirmative action clearly. This is because Steele identifies the weakness of positive action while highlighting the cause of its failure while Fullinwider creates a solution and perspective that the policy created does not embrace. Fullinwider takes into view the vast and different cultural groups that affirmative action tries to treat equally, which he argues are the cause of its downfall. He states that the affirmative action should begin by putting into consideration the different cultures involved in creating a policy. For this reason, Fullinwider creates a better case scenario, which the creators of the affirmative action left out.

Overall, Do You Think the Merits or Pitfalls of Affirmative Action Win the Day?

Affirmative action has many advantages to the minority groups, but its downside has strong points that concern the other side. The minority groups acquire special treatment as stated in the affirmative action. They also tend to take advantage of the law and policy to acquire unnecessary passes and treatment that may involve violation of some laws. Furthermore, the latter side tends to receive resentment and dislike from the supporters of the affirmative action. The affirmative action demeans the other side hence resulting in reversing discrimination. Affirmative action also makes it easier for the earlier discriminated group to acquire jobs, educational favors and acquire high social and moral statuses. This proves that when defining and creating the policy governing affirmative action, the policy makers should ensure they put limits to the favors that the minority groups receive. The benefits of affirmative action only support the minority group hence creating a division between the minority and the majority group while the downfalls of the affirmative action affect both sides. For this reason, the downfalls of the affirmative action are more engaging than its benefits.


Lippert-Rasmussen, Kasper. "Affirmative Action, Historical Injustice, And The Concept Of Beneficiaries". Journal of Political Philosophy (2016) Web.

Steele, Shelby. "Shelby Steele -- Affirmative Action Doesn't Solve The Real Problem". N.p., 2009. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

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