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Is the following statement about Affirmative Action accurate?  Affirmative Action does...

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lwright20 | eNoter

Posted February 21, 2013 at 10:49 AM via web

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Is the following statement about Affirmative Action accurate?  Affirmative Action does not work. When you're hired under an affirmative action program, you're automatically labeled as such and are rarely recognized for the value that you can bring to an organization.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 21, 2013 at 2:33 PM (Answer #1)

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It is very difficult to determine with certainty whether affirmative action has the negative effects that are mentioned in this question.  There is a great deal of controversy over the subject both because of its inherently sensitive nature and because of the difficulty of determining what white and male employees truly think about their coworkers who might have benefited from affirmative action. 

The statement says that affirmative action beneficiaries will be labeled and will therefore not receive credit for the value that they bring to an organization.  There have been contradictory studies with regard to questions that touch on this issue.  Some studies have shown that people feel self-doubt when told that they have benefitted from something like affirmative action.  Other studies, however, argue that this effect is only found in laboratories and that affirmative action does not lower perceived self-worth in real world situations.  Laboratory studies have also found that affirmative action makes people hold negative opinions about those who have benefitted from it.  However, this is difficult to confirm in the real world.  Studies have suggested that this effect does not exist in the real world.  (Source for the last two sentences: The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination by Whitley and Kite, 2009, p. 571).

Thus, it is very hard to gauge the accuracy of this statement in an objective way.  Human attitudes on controversial subjects are always hard to measure.  The attempts to measure this particular phenomenon have produced mixed results.

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