Should the individual minority be responsible for the advancement in the work place or should government and/or the businesses have responsibility?Should the individual minority be responsible...

Should the individual minority be responsible for the advancement in the work place or should government and/or the businesses have responsibility?

Should the individual minority be responsible for the advancement in the work place or should government and/or the businesses have responsibility?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The answer that individuals give to this question depends on life perspective. Those who have felt the heavy hand and cold eye of suppression of any sort will rejoice in the legalized regulation government gives them. Think of the first horrific desegregation of the schools in Alabama. Those, on the other hand, who have never been reduced to inhumanity, compared as it were to a discarded scrape of paper, will laud the achievement of individual advancement through responsibility and effort. Where does the truth lie?

It lies in the Constitutional principles of the nation: the nation has the responsibility to act on behalf of its citizens to protect and advance their interests. When those interests are being destroyed or suppressed by other citizens, the government has the obligation to restrain and counteract those criminal or criminalistic citizens and provide opportunity for the oppressed ones to flourish. The debate and answer stands on facts and realities, not on opinion and personal interpretation. After being protected and advance, the oppressed may then show their mettle and responsibly display their skills and win their advancement.

Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As long as businesses hire and promote the best possible person for the job, which is the legal standard in the courts' interpretation of most anti-discrimination legislation, minorities, just as all others, should bear the responsibility for being the most qualified for the job.  Affirmative action and hiring quotas create more prejudice and do nothing for discrimination except to nurture resentment.  When those conditions exist, people assume that someone who is not most qualified for the job has been hired or promoted, and this confers a kind of "victim" status on minorities.  Neither of these desirable. The former is unfair to those minorities who are the best qualified, and the latter promotes an attitude of undeserved entitlement. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Only the individual member of the minority should be responsible for moving up in the work place.  However, the government and, perhaps, the business should be responsible for removing any barriers to advancement that exist.

The government must make sure that there are not any barriers being erected on the basis of race or ethnicity that hinder advancement.  It must e sure that the playing field is level.  Businesses should refrain from instituting any practices that would hold minorities back.

But the actual advancement is up to the individual.  He or she must be responsible for working hard and being conscientious.  Once the playing field is made level, it is up to the individual to succeed on that playing field.

megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The responsibility for advancement falls on all parties: the individual, the government, and the business. Even in 2012, there are still many companies that will only advance a certain amount of minorities. If you read the experiences of certain minorities, ranging from PhD college professors to other professions, many have personal stories about their experiences and the barriers still in place within their companies. 

It may be law on paper to not discriminate, but time and time again, human flaw does not allow people to honestly follow those laws in an unbiased manner.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Absolutely, the individual is responsible for his/her advancement in the workplace. When it is necessary, government may have to legislate and enforce actions to remove or prevent the institution of barriers inhibiting advancement by a group of individuals. Businesses have, at times voluntarily and at times for other reasons, been known to use quotas or other methods of offering what some perceived as advantageous placement or promotion to offset possible discriminatory situations.

But it all comes back to the individual.

marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In today's workplace there are fair labor laws that prohibit an employer from discriminating against anybody with regards to their race, color, or creed.  Each employee should then be evaluated and promoted according to his/her own skills, experience, and training.  If obstacles present themselves in the form of prejudices or otherwise, it is up to each person to tackle those obstacles and overcome them on their own merits.  Nobody should rely on others to do for them what they can do for themselves.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I completely agree with pohnpei. It is up to an individual to move up in the workplace (through hard work ad dedication). If an individual is happy where they are, the government's interference in moving them up may make for individual unhappiness (if this is not the path they wish to pursue). That said, certain doors have been closed to minorities in the past. Through the work of the government, these doors have been opened.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I concur with the above posts.  In fact, government at its best, in my opinion, has been in removing barriers of discrimination and bias in the workplace, at least as much as is possible when dealing with human behavior.  But in a capitalist system, businesses cannot expect to prosper and remain competitive if they promote based on anything other than individual competence and achievement.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe the less government is involved in business the better, therefore, I am in agreement with the two posts above.  The government has a responsibility to ensure equality, but for the most part it should be up to the group in question.