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Affirmative action

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Whether or not affirmative action is a good idea has been a serious topic of contention in the circles of social psychology for decades now. The issue of affirmative action came into being on the sixth day of March 1961 when, the then president of the United States, John. F. Kennedy assented to the executive order 10925. Four years later, President Lyndon Johnson enacted another order, 11246 which required that employees in the public sector take affirmative action into consideration when carrying out their recruitment duties. Affirmative action, in the United States refers to all aspects and efforts to enhance and uphold equal employment opportunity. The definition of affirmative action varies from one region to another. For instance, in Europe, affirmative action is described variously as the efforts to have all classes in society access the same opportunity. In other words, affirmative action in the European context, seeks to have a society in which all people are equal; a society without any form of discrimination. Apparently, the European description of the term affirmative action is a comprehensive explanation covering all aspects of discrimination and prejudice. From both the American and European descriptions of the concept, it is worth concluding that affirmative action is, indeed, a good thing to have in any civilized society. Why affirmative action is a good thing to have in society The major reason behind the arguments held by the proponents of affirmative action is the fact that all human beings are equal and should be treated as such, in whichever context. In straightforward terms, affirmative action upholds equality and social justice. Apparently, no society can excel with prejudices in it. Equality brings regional balance as well as even distribution of wealth among the members and classes of society. For instance, the most prominent form of affirmative action in the Middle East as well as Africa is the efforts to have women access the same rights and opportunities as men. This seeks to eliminate gender discrimination as such forms of discrimination have brought more harm than good. Worth noting is the fact that by secluding some classes of society, the society denies itself quite a number of opportunities. For instance social scientists have proven beyond reasonable doubt that there are some tasks that are better handled by women than men. It is for this reason that such social scientists have sought to uphold affirmative action. Among the people most affected by prejudice and discrimination are such groups as children, racial minorities and singles (Ruscher & Hammer, 2008). Another reason why affirmative action can be said to be a good thing is the fact that, through such action, every member of the society gets to participate in the development process. All people are made to contribute to the society. This way, the minority groups get represented in such things as governance and overall leadership. Apparently, the fact that a group is described as a minority does not refer to numbers. A group is described as a minority if such a group is poorly represented in crucial functions of society. Perhaps the most prominent example of such a minority is women in African countries. Such women are poorly represented in such things as elective posts, thanks to the outdated traditional beliefs and practices. Such beliefs are rooted in the psychology of the people. Ruscher & Hammer (2008) give the example of singles in their book, Social Psychology, in trying to explain the aspects of discrimination. According to the two, singles are seen as disorganized and rather immature members of the society. Even so, Ruscher & Hammer (2008), observe that there are those single members of society that perform better than the married members. As such, in an effort to have them considered in such things as employment and other decision making procedures, the book recommends that the society should embrace such efforts and concepts as affirmative action. Ruscher & Hammer (2008) note that affirmative action is not only a way of compensation for the past persecution and discrimination, but also a way of fighting the existing traces of discrimination and prejudice. According to social psychologists, affirmative action has gone a long way in bringing about equality and justice. Apparently, the world is changing in as far as social settings are concerned. Today for example, single people are considered normal part of the society. Some years ago, being single, especially for a person of majority age, was considered a form of abnormality. Ruscher & Hammer (2008) describe a single person as someone that is either yet to marry, one that has never married, one that has lost a spouse, or one that has been divorced. In the modern world, the number of single parents is on the rise in many countries. Fortunately, such single people are considered equal to other members of the society, thanks to affirmative action. The social psychology underlying the idea of affirmative action There are many ideas underlying the concept of affirmative action. Even so, the chief aspect of social psychology underlying the concept is the issue of macro-justice. Macro-justice concerns itself with the achievement of a society where all people are treated equally, with all classes and individuals accessing similar circumstances. The social psychologists have argued that there is no human being that can, and should be considered a lesser being. As such, all individuals should be treated and handled justly, irrespective of the race, sex, sexual orientation, creed or age. Equal rights and social justice are associated with high self esteem in all individuals, who in actual sense should be equal beneficiaries of the social systems. According to Ruscher & Hammer (2008), discrimination, prejudice and absence of affirmative action reduce the number of beneficiaries in a society. Where affirmative action is not given the opportunity to govern the manner in which society is run, such minority groups as, women, children and those whose sexual orientation is not part of the accepted norms become losers. Domains that embrace affirmative action What Ruscher & Hammer (2008) tend to imply in their case of singles, is the fact that the minority groups are more likely to embrace affirmative action than any other group in the society. Apparently, the groups that are well represented in society’s structures do not find reason to engage in affirmative action, as such action will bring on board other members of the society. This may, in the view of Ruscher & Hammer (2008), bring a sense of competition for the beneficiary status. Apparently, the domains that more likely embrace affirmative action in most societies include such groups as women, discriminated races, as well as those people that feel unaccepted in society due to their sexual orientations. The gay community, for instance faces serious difficulties when it comes to such things as employment. They find it hard to convince society that they are a normal part of it. As such, they resolve to affirmative action.