I wonder if maybe affirmative action is not just dead but ready for the waste pits of history. Cohen (1996) acknowledged that federal hiring has a set of laws, with exceptions for every rule, to justify not hiring individuals. I have personally witnessed this in Albuquerque, NM., for the better part of three years. At the V.A. Hospital and Social Security Offices, the hiring managers refuse to hire veterans, and multiple other hiring paths to keep “undesired people” from being hired.”
As a dual-service (U.S. Army & U.S. Navy) disabled veteran with a handicap that is visible (neurological shaking, twitching, and muscle spasms, which include trouble speaking) too often, I am the best candidate until the interview. Walking into an interview with a cane, spasm, or twitch a couple of times, and the faces of those interviewing reflect their discomfort, and I will not be hired. Government, private sector, for-profit, not-for-profit, none of these matters, people are uncomfortable around those of us with visible disabilities. Affirmative action has never helped, and as an experiment in social behavior, should be scraped from the law as soon as legislation can be written to effect this change!
Undesired people” includes people with handicaps (though Schedule A hiring has top priority in government hiring), veterans, spouses, and dependents with specific federal benefits, minorities (including men, people of color of all shades, American Indians, etc.) also have priority in hiring. All the best jobs, positions, and perks are awarded through nepotism and the court of public opinion. The system is structured in such a way as to remain in legal compliance to affirmative action; thus, affirmative action is a shield protecting lousy behavior instead of as a tool to improve workforce hiring. My assertion of the uselessness of affirmative action is not just based upon my experiences. I have witnessed people get into car accidents, get a disability, and go from productive worker to shunned worker almost overnight, all due to the disability sustained.
Harasztosi and Lindner (2015) discussed how the minimum wage costs jobs and excluded the neediest citizens from employment. I contend that affirmative action has negatively impacted minorities, men and women, disabled people, etc., most significantly using the principles and logic of Harasztosi and Lindner (2015). Rules demanding social behavior always will substantially and negatively impact those designed in the law to enjoy the most benefit. I believe in the Missouri State Motto; “Show ME!” Show me a single piece of legislation that has helped those it was written for. Legislation cannot dictate behavior or morals in society; hence the following from John Adams applies, the U.S. Constitution “… was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Hence, the path forward is not more laws to avoid, but less. The way forward is the societal education in morals as governed through a religious society.
Historically, there are no legal, moral, or ethical reasons for affirmative action. Affirmative action, and the diversity policies feeding the modern workplace adopted after affirmative action was legislated, barely have a legal foothold, let alone a justifiable reason for existence (Brazelton, 2016; Oppenheimer, 2016; Pierce, 2013; Young, 2001). Human Resources is the capitalization of human capital to meet organizational needs. When capitalization of human abilities is appropriately affected, the effort becomes work, leading to finished products or services for sale to consumers. When not adequately modified, capitalization of human skills turns into waste, loss, confusion, and the organization will eventually “fall an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle” (Bloom, & Kamm, 2014; Typographical Journal, 1892).
Sykes (1995) defined affirmative action as “… [T]he set of public policies and initiatives designed to help eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” As promising as this sounds, affirmative action remains the biggest farce crammed down the business community’s throats since the Federal Income Tax. By focusing, as this definition states, on “eliminating discrimination past and present,” the entire country forgets the wise words from Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift; that is why it is called the present.” By focusing on the past, we project the same problems of the past, ruining both the present and the future. While providing fodder for ill-advised politicians and media hacks to accuse everyone of racism, sexism, and a host of other “-ism” claims that are erroneous. I repeat, only for emphasis, you cannot legislate human behavior and morals, and hiring an employee is the epitome of human behavior and morals.
Affirmative action is not necessary, needed, or applicable; affirmative action, and the diversity programs replacing affirmative action, were never required, helpful, or valuable enough to create from whole cloth the legal precedent to justify implementation (Brazelton, 2016; Oppenheimer, 2016; Pierce, 2013; Young, 2001). No, the short answer remains clear, Affirmative Action was not needed in 1964 and is still not needed today. Before 1964 when the Civil Rights Legislation was passed, the educational and experience gap between those working and not working caused pay problems, yet new professional opportunities naturally occurred as educational opportunities increased. Affirmative action was not needed. Let’s be clear, the executive orders and complicit Congress during President Woodrow Wilson’s tenure are the reasons the 1960s were so tumultuous, and the Civil Rights movement became needed. But the reliance upon a government fix for personal behavior and morals was the wrong answer in the 1960s and remains a horrible answer today!
Now that Affirmative Action has pampered more than two generations, we have more women and minorities in the workplace with the same skills as white males, and the same problem exists in deferential hiring, differential treatment based upon race, gender, and other politically acceptable groups. People who want to work, start early, work hard, and prepare for better jobs through education, experience, and single-minded determinedness. Those who do not wish to work create excuses, live off the government dole, and remain entrenched in ignorance, causing poverty, loss of self-esteem, ruined families, and a host of social problems that those who are working have to deal with and pay taxes to the government, who started the problem in the first place. These same workers have to fight affirmative action and diversity policies for new jobs, promotions, pay increases, etc., including all the issues associated with a minimum wage and associated costs (Harasztosi, & Lindner, 2015; Hawkins & Sowell, 2011).
Bloom, R., & Kamm, J. (2014). Human resources: Assets that should be capitalized. Compensation & Benefits Review, 46(4), 219-222. doi:10.1177/0886368714555453
Brazelton, S. (2016). A hollow hope? Social change, the U.S. supreme court, and affirmative action. The Journal of Race & Policy, 12(2), 84-95. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/docview/1940981339?accountid=134061
Cohen, C. (1996). Should federal affirmative action policies be continued? Congressional Digest, 75, 181-181.
Harasztosi, P. & Lindner, A. (2015). Who pays for the minimum wage?UC Berkeley.Hawkins, J., & Sowell, T. (2011). Right-wing news: An interview with Thomas Sowell. Retrieved from http://www.rightwingnews.com/interviews/sowell.php
Master, Oogway (Character). (2008). Kung Fu Panda [DVD].
Oppenheimer, D. B. (2016). The disappearance of voluntary affirmative action from the U.S. workplace. The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, 24(1), 37-50. doi: http://dx.doi.org.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/10.1332/175982716X14538098991133
Pierce, J. L. (2013). White Racism, Social Class, and the Backlash Against Affirmative Action. Sociology Compass, 7(11), 914–926. https://doi-org.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/10.1111/soc4.12082
Sykes, M. (1995, August). The origins of affirmative action. Retrieved from http://www.now.org/nnt/08-95/affirmhs.html
Typographical Journal. (1892). Typographical Journal, Volume 4 [Google Play]. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=FydFAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA10-PA4&lpg=RA10-PA4&dq=%E2%80%9Cfall+an+unpitied+sacrifice+in+a+contemptible+struggle%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=DW3MDox1Xu&sig=vd-U9cqe7PVSqLbA27FIX5DgJOs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi4zp3I-ZTeAhXqwlQKHZfZC6QQ6AEwA3oECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9Cfall%20an%20unpitied%20sacrifice%20in%20a%20contemptible%20struggle%E2%80%9D&f=false
Young, I. M. (2001). Equality of Whom? Social Groups and Judgments of Injustice. Journal of Political Philosophy, 9(1). Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=4335602&site=ehost-live&scope=site
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