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Jordan Stella

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Should the U.S. continue to employ Affirmative Action, or should private schools be allowed to discriminate?

Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination. (Wikipedia definition). In the U.S., these policies have led to an increasingly difficult situation for students applying to college; both types of universities (public and private) are being subjected to these outlandish policies which, in my opinion, represent the government overstepping its boundaries.

By definition, a private university is PRIVATE; it exists thanks to the donations of private investors, not thanks to government grants. These types of schools should not be subject to the same principles as public schools, since they are not government-run. Just like every individual is born with certain inalienable rights, so to are corporations or groups formed inside a free society. A private group should be able to discriminate if it so chooses.

Further, affirmative action attempts to make up for past wrongs by committing the same deed. By giving favor to minorities, one is still separating them from the rest of the population, and ultimately is discriminating against those not of the minority groups. Some people call this positive discrimination, but in my book discrimination is discrimination and should be stopped.

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    Aug 11 2011: No government could truly give another the full right of an individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of his own happiness without it conflicting in some way with another's pursuit. The ideal sounds beautiful in writing, but unfortunately, the indiviudal must coexist with many many other individuals with various beliefs on what makes him or her happy or free. My pursuit may interfer with your pusuit of happiness and vise versa.

    We do not have very different ideologies really. I believe in these priciples. However I tend to see it from a larger perspective that extends beyond just the individual. The original quote by the way is as follows...

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    No where did it say "the pursuit of his own happiness". ALL men, all human beings have the right to these pursuits. My point, is not in taking away these rights, but it is the fact that in order to make these rights available to all that have this right, we must make some sacrifices, individual sacrifices, to protect not just my right, but your, his, hers, and all others.
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      Aug 11 2011: Well spoken indeed.

      I never said that the Constitution says "his own happiness", that is merely the way I interpret the wording.

      Since no government has ever truly given its citizens complete freedom, and likely never will, it seems we will never really know whether or not the system would work. There are those (like myself) that believe that it would function superbly and would lead to a free, prosperous society. Then there are those that disagree (such as yourself). Who is actually right, we will never know.

      I must ask though, why do you believe that in order for these rights to be available to everyone, we must make sacrifices? What sacrifices must we make? and for what reason?
      • Aug 12 2011: When you say "no government has ever given its citizens freedom" Jordan which do you mean and what do you mean by freedom? Obviously some government has, you can participate in this sort of discussion.
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          Aug 12 2011: I meant to say that there has never been a society in which the individual was given complete and total freedom. Yes, I have many freedoms as a U.S. citizen, but the government still interferes in my business.

          I'll say it again, I don't believe the government should exist to interfere with its citizens. The only time government interference is justified, is when they are protecting the rights of the individual.
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        Aug 13 2011: Jordon, you asked "why do you believe that in order for these rights to be available to everyone, we must make sacrifices? What sacrifices must we make? and for what reason?"

        I will respond with a basic answer where government had to get involved with private institutions, families and business in order to protect these rights for the whole...when Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery. In the constitution it says ALL men are created equal. Yet families and plantation owners bought and sold slaves. The reason behind Lincoln's decsion may not have been completely moral, as his decision would most definately effect the south's economy during a time of civil war. The plantation owners depended heavily on slaves. This was their private business, and perhaps their belief that blacks were not equals.

        In order to give slaves their due freedom and equal rights, the governemnt must get involved. It does not mean that they needed to change their beliefs, but they most certainly had to change their system in business and abide by a law imposed on by the government. Sacrifices have to be made in order to protect rights of the whole. A shift in many areas had to be made.

        Now even though blacks were now free, were they truly free? Did not ideoligies of those that did not believe blacks were equal find loop holes? Making sure not to give another a job out of discrimination. Not being allowed to attend public schools with whites. Having separate water fountains, being told where you're allowed to sit, etc. .

        I believe we do have an obligation to our larger human family, because in protecting others rights, we also protect our own in the grand scheme of it all. There are times we must sacrifice some of our own personal beliefs in order to protect the rights of the whole.
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        Aug 14 2011: As far as affirmative action goes, like I said before, it isn't what I would want idealy, as I do not wish to build any walls between any minorities and gender. However, racism and discrimination still exists on many levels. I have lived in the northeast, the midwest area, and the south, so I have seen the difference. My mother held open a door for an elderly black woman in a rural part of Florida just 5 years ago, and she could not believe the glares she got from other white people who noticed. I have heard a story where a white guy was losing business for hiring minorities and blacks.

        It is easy to just say on paper that all are created equal and have the same rights, but people always find a way to be unjust and it would not be illegal for how do you proove it?

        I don't think it is just about making up for past mistakes, I feel it is a way to break barriers of racism and discrimination that still exists today...even in businesses and schools.

        I am open to any other solutions. i'm just not sure what they are right now...

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