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Affirmative Action An Unnecessary Evil Affirmative action refers to the US program set forth in the early 1970s to correct the effects of past discrimination by giving preferential treatment to women and ethnic minorities in the workplace At the time of their induction proponents of affirmative action programs felt that the only way to increase the number of minorities in the workplace was to establish a system of quotas to be maintained by law However by forming and maintaining these laws over the past twenty-five years we have developed an entirely new set of problems These problems are what fuels the controversy over affirmative action Most people are dissatisfied with current affirmative action policies but are opposed to eliminating them completely Americans hold doggedly to notions of family and liberty but they also believe in a sort of rough equality of opportunity that gives the underdog a real chance in life Kahlenberg 209 Once a necessary evil affirmative action programs have outlived their usefulness and promote discrimination by continuing to allow for unfair hiring practices The primary goal of affirmative action programs was to increase the number of minorities in the workplace Most people would agree that that goal has been realized There was a definite need for action to enlighten individuals and corporations to the negative results of their prejudices It is unlikely that corporations would have taken the initiative to hire from the minority groups had it not been for government intervention Affirmative action has created numerous opportunities for women and minorities in this country It would be difficult to argue that these programs were not absolutely essential in making progress toward equality that we have made today However affirmative action has always been a compromise and with the progress made a price has also been paid Affirmative action must now be rethought and restructured The preference programs were created by laws that were based in the conscience of the
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