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Affirmative Action Debate Argument 1 backward-looking arguments backward-seeks to compensate women and minorities for employment and education opportunities denied them because of past racist and sexist practices For example President Lyndon Johnson provided the analogy of the shackled runner In this analogy Johnson presents a situation where one of the runners in a hundred-yard dash has his legs shackled He was able to run only 10 yards while his opponent ran 50 yards How should this situation be rectified Will it be enough simply to take off the shackles Affirmative action seeks to start the race all over again by allowing both runners to begin on equal footing Yes it can be argued that the runner that was at an advantage will be wronged by this new start and will be unfairly paying the price for the shackling of his opponent even though he may not have been responsible for the shackles themselves But whether he was responsible or not the unshackled runner gained an advantage because of his opponents disadvantage and he cannot continue to claim that his benefits are strictly merit-based In applying this to our present situation almost all white males have benefited from past and present discrimination and while it can be argued that they have no responsibility to make reparations for past wrongs the fact that they still receive an advantage remains Is it wrong for some members of our society to continue to benefit from a system that caters to those who are already advantaged while those without benefits continue to be denied those same opportunities Yes-in a society based on supposed equality of opportunity it is unfair to see the inequalities that exist and build up over time and simply allow them to continue to fester Affirmative action seeks to chip away at these unfair advantages that continue to accumulate in order to bring both runners to continue
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