Subject: Sociology
Language: English (U.S.)
Pages: 1
Affirmative action attempts to remedy the injustice of racial and sexual discrimination. When asked to justify their position, supporters of affirmative action commonly appeal to its effects on living individuals in society's long history of past discrimination. Others point to current patterns of discrimination. Do you agree that all affirmative action policies create unjust reverse discrimination? If not, which specific forms of affirmative action in the business world do you think escape this charge? Why do you think this? Explain your position with ethical theory.

Affirmative Action

To some extent, affirmative action policies actually create unjust reverse discrimination. Affirmative action policies were designed to help the marginalized in the community, i.e. women, disabled people, and members of ethnic minority groups to get equal treatment when it comes to employment and education. However, this equal treatment has turned into preferential treatment with most employers and institutions of higher learning leaning on a quota system to ensure that these members are represented in their classes and job ranks. The Supreme Court deemed the quota system illegal but many employers and universities/colleges still utilize the system (Baer, 1982).

The concept of affirmative action was meant to bring about diversity in the workplace and in colleges and universities. Now, the members of the groups mentioned above are given preferential treatment over other qualified people from majority groups especially over white males. Proponents of the concept argue that the policies are still important especially in the business world to correct the mistakes of past generations that mis-treated and discriminated against members of minority groups. Now, the policies seem to be giving advantages to less qualified people since they belong to a minority group. Over qualified people from majority groups, primarily white males are now suffering reverse discrimination as a result.


Baer, J. (1982). Reverse discrimination: The dangers of hardened categories. Law & Policy Quarterly, 4(1): 71-94.