Affirmative Action Misconceptions and Rethinking By: Kenneth Solis What is Affirmative Action? • Policies designed to remedy the underrepresentation of minority groups in the work place. (Harris & Narayan, 2000) • Minority groups transcend ethnicity and encompass gender as well. • Affirmative action is not specific to one sex or ethnicity. Affirmative Action Case • Affirmative Action (A.A.) is not the only factor in hiring decisions, nor is it specific to black applicants • Diana Joyce, a white woman, as an A.A. beneficiary • Johnson v. Transportation – Transportation agency adopted A.A. to remedy the underrepresentation of women in leadership – Diana Joyce was given a leadership role over Paul Johnson because she is a woman – Court upheld this A.A. decision because sex is only one factor among many in this hiring decision Rethinking Affirmative Action • “Affirmative action is an attempt to promote equality of opportunity in a social context marked by pervasive inequality.” (132) • A.A. fights against discrimination such as: – Statistical discrimination: discrimination based on statistical information rather than an individual’s achievements. – Sex stereotyping: women are thought to be less committed to jobs due to family obligations and less often employed and promoted Rethinking A.A. cont. • Affirmative action is not “compensation” or “payment” for past discrimination • A.A. does not force overrepresented applicants to “pay the price” • A.A. does not give preference to applicants less qualified • Applicants must meet qualification criteria regardless of underrepresented status Conclusion • The stigma behind Affirmative Action programs exists because of the belief that A.A. means preferential treatment. • A.A. simply creates equal opportunity for evaluation of already qualified applicants to be considered • Assuming only non-beneficiaries of A.A. are truly qualified is discriminatory in itself.