Implications of Affirmative Action

Implicationsof Affirmative Action


Implicationsof Affirmative Action

Affirmativeaction implies the act of taking some active steps to raise therepresentation of women and minorities in social institutions. Pojmanand Hettinger did their studies on the issue of affirmative actionand had some views of the act of employing slightly qualifiedcandidates from a disadvantaged group over a while male. Their aimwas to find out the justification for affirmation action inworkplaces by considering some of its implications. Hettinger foundaffirmative action as an initiative that on most cases focused onaddressing problems that have been experienced in the past(Hettinger, 1987). He argued that affirmative action was, therefore,a backward looking hence was not of benefit to an organization wherethe white males were working.

Affirmativeaction sought to employ the blacks and women to compensate them, andit does not focus towards the prosperity of the business. Employingpeople based on compensation may fail the company, as those employedcould not be qualified for the job, and this will lower theproductivity of the enterprise. On the other hand, Pojman argued thatweak affirmative action is preferable as it works towards giving fairopportunity to all citizens (Pojman, 1992). Pojman was against astrong affirmative action that fights for the inclusion of groupsthat were not in the previous positions. To Pojman, affirmativeaction was a forward-looking step, as it would address the problem ofoppressing the women and the blacks in the following days.

Pojmanargued that weak affirmative action would be morally right, but astrong affirmative action would be morally wrong for any business. Itwould, therefore, be proper for business owners employ based on weakaffirmative action that ensures fair employment to qualified peoplefor the jobs. When the people employed cannot work as expected, theywill produce lesser units that will in turn lower the wholeproductivity of the company they are working. By a weak affirmativeaction, only the qualified people from the less advantaged communitywould be employed together with the white males on a competitivebasis that is merit oriented.

Theuse of affirmative action would not address the problem sexism andracism at workplaces. Sexism is a state where women do not have anequal opportunity to compete with men in the job market. In suchcommunities, they expect their women to stay at home and take care ofthe family. By affirmative action, women that were not given a chanceto get a quality education will not be able to get jobs and work asper the expectation of the organizations. Even if the unrepresentedgroups were to be given a chance, the chances are that it is the menthat would get the chances since the women would not be as qualifiedas the men in such community would. On the other hand, racism in theworkplaces may imply the type of discrimination against individualsbased on their races. Affirmative action would therefore not addressracism at workplaces as their motives differ. By not employing thewhite males for the sake of affirmative action, they will besuffering from racism and sexism. Strong affirmative action willinsist on the inclusion of the less represented groups while leavingout qualified white men that have a right to be employed.

Denyingthe white males a chance to work based on their sex and race madethem become a disadvantaged group. Such actions did put the whitemales in a position that they would have not been in case theyremained employed. Hettinger further reasoned that even though, somewould argue that white males were harmed in an ethical manner becausethey did not have a legitimate claim to being employed. Hettingerclaimed that an employer would not be wrong by increasing the pool ofthe applicants for a given position, as it would raise the chances ofgetting a higher qualified candidate. It would be right to enlargethe pool of candidates by allowing both the white males to applytogether with the less represented individuals. It will turn unfairwhen blocking the white males from applying for the jobs and have theopportunity to the recruitment.

Incase white males were being laid off, it would be proper for theemployers to compensate them. Hettinger had a concern that youngwhite males could were not compensated for being laid off by theiremployers (Hettinger, 1987). When an employee that already signed acontract is relieved for reasons that are not as a result of theirfaults, they need to be compensated. However, Pojman critics thethoughts of Hettinger by arguing that white males were just innocentbeneficiaries of unjust discrimination of blacks and women. Pojmanargued that white males had no grounds for complaint when theemployers were seeking the problem of women oppression (Pojman,1992). White males had unjustly benefited from the oppression of theblacks and the women. Pojman was for the idea of employing the lessqualified women and blacks before the white males. Pojman quotedthat, “He who knowingly and willingly benefits from a wrong musthelp pay for the bad” (Pojman, 1992). White males may just bepeople that innocently applied for the positions and were employedtherefore it would not be proper to sacrifice them for wrongs thatthey were not aware. It was to pay them for the losses they wentthrough by being retrenched for the women and the blacks to beemployed.

Pojmanwas for the idea that the desirability of breaking the stereotypesthat led to the oppression of the women and the blacks should notmake the employers undermines the issue of merits. Pojman reasonedthat giving the blacks and the women a chance to work would be properwhen done on merits (Pojman, 1992). Only the qualified blacks and thewomen were to be given the opportunity to work. He further said thatthe qualified blacks and women did not owe the unqualified a job.Therefore, employers had a chance to consider only the qualifiedcandidates from the marginalized communities. One would argue thatfor the wellbeing of the organizations that the women and the blackswere to work at, it would be proper for them to employ only qualifiedwomen and blacks. Hiring any woman or black would be harmful to theorganization as they would not be aware of the expectations of thejobs. When an employer employs unqualified staffs, they will not dotheir work, and, therefore, the body will fail to a achieve its goalswithin the set time.

Affirmativeaction when not properly governed may reinforce stereotypes ratherthan breaking them (Pojman, 1992). Employers may focus on strongaffirmative action by just seeking to address the issue of lessrepresentation rather than fair representation based on merit. Whenemploying people because they need&nbspa&nbsprepresentation&nbspandnot by considering their qualification, employers will be driven bystereotype. The stereotype will be that women and the blacks needrepresentation at workplaces. To address the stereotype that existedwhere blacks and women were not given an equal opportunity atworkplaces require implementation of the weak affirmative action.

Theweak affirmative action operates on merit and not a mererepresentation as the urge to diversify should not triumph merit.Diversifying without merit may make an organization to have onlyunqualified personnel that will not productive. As Pojman argued,unequal representation at workplaces would not be necessarily aresult of sexism and racism. The cause of an unequal representationmay be by the nature of the job and the interest of the candidatesavailable in the market. People may only apply for a position thatthey have an interest. Those people who apply for a given job mightonly be of the same sex based on personal interest. Such a situationwould not account for sexist of racism. In case any black or womanwould be employed for the purpose of representation, one may arguethat employers will be seeking to shift the burden of proof. Theburden of affirmative action may shift from the laid off white malesto the employers. The firms may suffer the burden of not having theappropriate personnel for efficient production. Therefore, the issueof affirmative action to have women and blacks represented need to beaddressed based on merit


Hettinger,E. C. (1987). What is Wrong with Reverse Discrimination? Business &ampProfessional Ethics Journal, 39-55.

Pojman,L. P. (1992). The moral status of affirmative action. Public AffairsQuarterly, 181-206.