Two Views of Affirmative Action Essay

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Two Views of Affirmative Action "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…." Even before it became a nation, America was heralded as a land of equality. Thomas Jefferson's statement begs more than a few questions, one of which is: "How can we ensure equality to everyone?" Beginning in the late 1960s, the federal government provided an answer to this question in the form of affirmative action. In recent years, many people have called this policy into question. Interestingly, affirmative action is sometimes attacked by the people it helps, and defended by those it hurts. In particular, two recent essays demonstrate that people's race does not necessarily determine their beliefs on the issue of affirmative…show more content…
He is, in effect, saying that his position must be right because he supports affirmative action out of the goodness of his heart, rather than because he benefits from it. In contrast to Spickard, Steele begins with the opposite scenario, stating how he could really be helped by affirmative action through financial aid for his children's college education. However, he says that he does not want the assistance of affirmative action, because he believes the help should go to those who are truly at a disadvantage, not to those whose only "disadvantage" is the color of their skin. To him, it simply makes no sense for African-American students who are "well removed from the kind of deprivation that would qualify [them] as 'disadvantaged'" to receive scholarship and grant money when that assistance is denied to poor white students. Next, Spickard claims that affirmative action is a way to help make life fair for minorities. He states that "America's initial push for equal opportunity resulted in very little progress," so affirmative action was needed to 'level the playing field.' Steele, on the other hand, contradicts Spickard by saying that "blacks had made great advances during the 60's without quotas," and that the quotas involved in affirmative action actually slanted the 'playing field' in the opposite direction, rather than leveling it. However, neither author
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