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Affirmative Action in Sociology

Affirmative action means particular policies intended to give rights and privileges to some groups based on their race, nationality, or gender. It appears as an attempt to eliminate all kinds of inequality, specifically, in Western countries. For example, in the United States, John F. Kennedy signed “Executive Order No. 10925” on 6 March 1961 (Embrick et al., 16). This document stated that employers have to fairly treat their employees regardless of their race, nationality, etc. However, this treatment has to be a matter of common sense; for instance, in the United Kingdom, hiring someone only because of his minority status is illegal. It is simply considered but not the main factor for the employer when hiring employees. Affirmative action may also be called “reverse discrimination”; now, groups may be discriminated against because they are not minorities, while the main aim is to avoid discrimination.

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As said before, if people want to eradicate any form of discrimination, then using a reverse one is not an effective strategy. It logically leads to escalating contradictions and conflicts between different groups based on their different identities, emphasizing their dissimilarities. When minorities get more chances to employ or get into university, based solely on the fact that they are minorities, it looks as if another form of injustice. Lippert-Rasmussen stated a question: “What makes affirmative action morally (un)justified?” (10). This is a reasonable question because a response is not as apparent as someone can suppose. Affirmative action has good intentions, but it should adhere to boundaries to avoid another form of discrimination.

The effectiveness of affirmative action is not well studied, suggesting that it is applied out of prejudice and stereotypes. Redondo et al. note that “little research has been done into the extent and efficacy of these measures in many of these countries and literature on this remains scarce” (11). When there is a lack of data about the effects of affirmative action, except in the United States, then it comes out like there is no interest in it. There should be more researches on this topic in many countries to avoid the negative implications of simply replacing an object of discrimination.

Works Cited

Embrick, David G., et al. Challenging the Status Quo. Diversity, Democracy, and Equality in the 21st Century. Brill, 2018.

Lippert-Rasmussen, Kasper. Making Sense of Affirmative Action. Oxford University Press, 2020.

Rodondo, Elvira Dominguez, et al. Affirmative Action and the LawEfficacy of National and International Approaches. Taylor & Francis, 2020.

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