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What is Affirmative Action All About?

This would indicate that affirmative action might not be needed, while concerns about how affirmative action makes blacks and women feel about themselves indicates that affirmative action might actually be harmful.

Mortimer B. Zuckerman also takes the position that the program was well-intentioned but that it has developed into something different from what was intended. He sees the problem not in the fact that affirmative action helps minorities as such but in the fact that the existence of such a program has produced a more divided nation, with every group claiming special status until the result is that more people are claiming minority status than accept majority status. The program was intended to make up for past discrimination, but most of the groups now benefiting have not been the victims of past discrimination. Zuckerman does not oppose affirmative action as a redress for past sins, but he is not clear as to how he would change the program to return to that ideal ("Remember the Real Victims" 68).

Other critics of these programs accept that they were once necessary but find that they no longer are. They believe that while affirmative action may have been a good idea and a necessary action to redress past grievances, it has accomplished its goal and should be abandoned because now it is becoming counter-productive. This idea is expressed in Congress, as when Jesse Helms asked on the Senate floor in March 1995, "Isn't thirty years enough?" ("Affirmative on Affirmative Action" 11). The belief is that thirty years of busing and other affirmative action efforts have either been successful and have eliminated the need for further redress or have been terrible failures that have done nothing to reduce discrimination and so should be abandoned in favor of a different approach. Generally, those offering this view believe that affirmative action has been unfair and that any argument holding that it is a redress for past gri...

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What is Affirmative Action All About?. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:02, August 17, 2017, from
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