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What are advantages and disadvantages of affirmative action?

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Affirmative action has two other disadvantages as well.  First, it allows white people to erroneously believe that people of color have been hired solely on the basis of race and that they are not qualified for their positions. I suspect that in the recent incident in which a black female physician was first assumed by an airline attendant not to be a doctor, the airline attendant still selected a white male doctor to attend to a passenger because at least subconsciously she assumed that the black physician would not be as competent because the flight attendant assumed the black physician got to where she was as a result of affirmative action. This assumption is made a frightening large percentage of the time. Second, affirmative action, some people of color argue, confers a status of victimhood upon them, a status they then internalize such that they begin to believe they are somehow lesser. These are distinct disadvantages that make affirmative action quite difficult for me to advocate.

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Although many people would like to claim that we are living in a "post-racial" world, the fact of the matter is that the United States continues to host horrifically racist and prejudiced behaviors and attitudes. We can see this everywhere from the fight in the South to maintain the use of Confederate flags (a Civil War symbol of those fighting to protect slavery) to Presidential nominee Donald Trump's message to "build a wall" to keep out "terrorists" and "rapists" (his discriminatory descriptors of Syrian refugees and Mexican immigrants) to the spree of police shootings of young Black, Latino, and Native American individuals.

Affirmative action was introduced to the United States in the 1960s to prevent discrimination based on race, creed, color, or national origin. There are many advantages of these policies. They ensure that space is carved out in  historically privileged academic systems for minorities, and they promote diversity. They also provide job opportunities that may not otherwise be accessible due to the personal judgments of employers (who are often white), help protect people of color from hate crimes, and promote a moral commitment to working toward racial and social justice after centuries of oppression. 

One might argue that one of the disadvantages of affirmative action is that it doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot to resolve racial tensions in America--especially given the aforementioned issues we've faced over the last five years alone. It also seems to give privileged white individuals "fuel for the fire," as they can wield the presence of affirmative action as "evidence" that they are being unfairly treated, despite the fact that their class status and race imbues them with huge perks. Even more sinisterly, many racists use affirmative action as an excuse to continue their racist behaviors, with these controversial policies seemingly serving as just another reason to hate or resent people of color. 

Ultimately, I would argue that affirmative action does more good than harm. It may not solve the problem, but it is offering room for people of color to have their voices heard in important places, be it the classroom or the office. 

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