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Myths About Affirmative Action

April 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 239

When people define affirmative action, they typically say it refers to policies that take factors including race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group in areas of employment, education, and business.

It may take place in the workplace or at universities, for example, when consider scholarships and applications.

The history goes back several decades. The term first appeared in Executive Order 10925, which was signed by President John F. Kennedy on 6 March 1961. It was used to refer to measures to achieve non-discrimination. Another order was issued by President Johnson which required federal contractors to take "affirmative action" to hire without regard to race, religion and national origin. Later gender was added to the discrimination list.

One myth about it is that companies have quotas they must reach. For example, it may be thought that companies must hire a certain number of blacks and Hispanics. This is not true, however. Quotas are not legal in the United States. No employer, university, or other entity may create a set number required for each race.

The debate over the merits of this action remains a contentious point in America. Some people believe that it has not succeeded in increasing female and minority representation. But this has proven not to be the case. In fact, several studies have documented important gains in racial and gender equality as a direct result of this. The U.S. Labor Department reports that it has helped 5 million minority members and 6 million white and minority women move up in the workforce. Some well-publicized cases show that large companies increased minority employment as a result of adopting affirmative action policies.

Another pervasive myth is that progress has been achieved and the playing field has leveled out. The Census reports that women continue to earn 77 cents for every male dollar. In addition, black people continue to have twice the unemployment rate of White people, twice the rate of infant mortality, and just over half the proportion of people who attend four years or more of college.

Another myth is that it is not publicly supported. Public opinion polls show that the majority of Americans are in favor of affirmative action. This is especially true when the polls avoid an all-or-none choice between affirmative action as it currently exists and no affirmative action whatsoever. In fact, a recent poll shows that 70% of Americans are in favor of affirmative action programs to help blacks, women and other minorities get better jobs and education.

However the majority of the public does oppose quotas and what is called reverse discrimination. According to UnderstandingPrejudice, when a poll asked people whether they favored programs requiring businesses to hire a specific number or quota of minorities and women, 63% opposed such a plan. In other words, they oppose racial preferences that violate notions of procedural justice. There are many other myths about affirmative action. These represent only a few.

Reshav Singhal writes on behalf of AJE, a leading job portal for jobs in America. Americasjobexchange.com is a recruitment platform that provides many services like Federal Contractor Compliance, Employer Branding etc.

Source: EzineArticles
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