Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action

Affirmative action is a concept of reverse discrimination or positive discrimination of historically marginalized communities. It takes different forms across the globe and covers gender, caste, color, religion, race, and disability. It allows the marginalized people have access to opportunities to lead a dignified life. In the United States both public and private sectors are encouraged to adopt affirmative action policies to promote inclusive growth and development at workplace. According to Reskin (1998), affirmative action practices and policies reduces job discrimination against white women and minorities. It neither hampers productivity in business nor entails reverse discrimination. There might be several cases of misuse of the policies, however that’s entirely on the implementation part and not related the theoretical concept of Affirmative Action. Both empirical and theoretical research shows that affirmative action enhances productivity by supporting employment practices that utilizes the skills of workers. Therefore, affirmative action is still relevant in today’s work environment.

Affirmative action is still relevant in today’s workplaces for several reasons.  The first has to do with the principle of racial integration. Affirmative action allows cross-cultural interaction at workplaces and anything that does so is good (Reskin, 1998).  The second reason is that Affirmative Action exists as a peaceful concession to a militant political demand. It was a deal struck between the leaders of two separate and unequal worlds – a treaty which kept the peace in America. It was a good deal that we should honor. Due to centuries of slavery and discrimination, minorities are underrepresented in higher levels of society. For example, because black people were disenfranchised severely, many of them do not have a legacy of wealth left for that they can, in turn, bequeath to their children. These factors are significant in determining whether a person becomes a successful adult or not.

What affirmative action does is that attempt to provide equal opportunity for minorities. For most opportunities, there are more qualified people than slots available. Affirmative action ensures that these opportunities are distributed as fairly as possible (Reskin, 1998). For the longest time, there has been no unqualified minority obtaining a position over a qualified person. Granted, given two equally qualified people for one position, the minority might get it due to affirmative action. Still, no institution or company admits or employs an unqualified person just in the name of affirmative action. No group of people is inferior to the other or has less potential than the other. Remember, there also continues to be subtle and not-so-subtle racism in American society. Those who suggest that sheer hard work is the only thing needed to lift an entire disenfranchised community out of poverty are purposefully turning a blind eye to the racism that continues to exist and also discounting what generations of oppression can do to people of particular communities

In the absence of affirmative action, then the majority in positions of power will award opportunities to only members of the majority group, because after all you will be able to find enough qualified people from the majority. In the end, such a society will experience strife anyway. With affirmative action, when enough minorities also rise to higher levels of society, they will bequeath to their children this legacy of wealth and good upbringing and society will be more equitable. This shows how affirmative action is not only relevant in today’s workplaces but also in most communities.





Reskin, B. (1998). The realities of affirmative action in employment. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association, 1(1), 74-84.


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