It is obvious that in the modern world, human’s rights and freedoms have already been established and the idea of segregation based on any criterion has been successfully abandoned long before. However, one must admit that the discrimination issue is still on the agenda of the current world problems in a number of countries.
Hence, a cohesive and thorough research on the problem of discrimination in various spheres of human activity is demanded for the humankind to solve the controversy once and for all. According to the researches conducted on the problem, a number of solutions has been found, among which affirmative action takes an important and yet quite controversial position.
As Steinberg marked, the affirmative action has had a tangible effect on the situation within the sphere of employment: “Affirmative action, on the other hand, commits employers to go a decisive step beyond non-discrimination and to actively seek out protected groups in employment” (Steinberg 344).
However, Steinberg also admitted that “Even some liberals who say they support affirmative action in principle have concluded that it is self-defeating because it triggers a popular backlash that only serves their political enemies” (347).
Conceding the issue of discrimination in higher educational establishments, one has to admit that the presence of segregation is undeniable in most of the universities and institutes. The issue mentioned above provokes a number of demands for affirmative actions to be undertaken.
Because of the discrimination that takes place within the sphere of education, it becomes evident that corresponding measures must be taken. According to the data provided by the University of Michigan, there has been considerable level of segregation within the sphere of education over the past few years, which poses a problem that has to be tackled: “School segregation even increased in the 1990s” (UMich.edu).
Therefore, certain elements of segregation can be traced in higher educational establishments. Moreover, according to the recent researches concerning the students themselves, one can claim with certainty that the fact of segregation in education cannot be denied. In addition, the levels of discrimination are high in the given sphere (UMich.edu).
Hence, it cannot be doubted that the necessary actions are to be undertaken. Among the applied measures to ensure that the discrimination should be ceased, the affirmative actions were fixed (Joondeph para.1).
It must be admitted that the affirmative actions have been undertaken in the sphere of higher education to ensure that the rights of minorities are not infringed and that all students could have equal access to the university course and the knowledge offered, which is, no doubt, worth appreciation.
As Stenberg comments, the given change “gave preference to the minority applicants who met basic qualifications” (346), which is a great change. However, it should be noted that in some situations, the cases of affirmative actions taking another shape of discrimination, which is this time against the majority, were undertaken, which gives certain reasons for concern: people “reject affirmative action as soon as it involves ‘preference.’” (346).
According to what Brunner reports, the cases of affirmative actions taking the shape of another kind of discrimination are evident in the modern higher educational establishments: “In Gratz v. Bollinger, a federal judge ruled that the use of race as a factor in admissions at the University of Michigan was constitutional” (InfoPlease).
Considering the arguments driven by Brunner, one can assume that this is the peril which Steinberg has been speaking. When the anti-discrimination process takes extreme shapes, it approaches segregation. In Steinberg’s own words, “Criticism has also been leveled by legal scholars who challenge the constitutionality of affirmative action and see it as betraying the cardinal principle of the civil rights movement itself: a color-blind society” (Steinberg 347).
Despite the negative effects of the affirmative actions undertaken so far in the sphere of higher education, one must admit that the aforementioned actions are rather well-grounded.
Moreover, an affirmative action pursues rather noble aim of helping minorities obtain the positions that they would have been denied in the most unfair manner without the affirmative action: “We seek not just freedom but opportunity” (Steinberg 344). Therefore, it is necessary to provide certain positive results of the affirmative action implementation in the sphere of higher education (UMich.edu).
However, it should be mentioned that even the essence of the affirmative action can be as well used against the people who need certain assistance from the government and who are being discriminated against their race, gender or any other criterion. According to the recent data, there has been considerable surge of indignation among the American population, which caused the Senate to reconsider the case in question – with minor benefit for the protesting, though:
Ballot measures proposing to ban affirmative action — race and gender based preferences by public entities — goes before voters in two states, Nebraska and Colorado. The ban passes with more than 50% of the vote in Nebraska. Voters in Colorado, though, reject the proposed ban. (Brunner)
Therefore, it is obvious that the issue of affirmative action is quite complicated and can be turned against the minorities as well. Hence, the affirmative action has to be applied precisely, without any deviations from the law. Once the prescriptions are implemented precisely, the level of discrimination is bound to decrease.
Considering the situation, one must mark that the efficiency of the affirmative action is doubtless. Helping to eliminate the discrimination within the sphere of higher education, it allows the minorities to become a part of the society. Without the introduction of affirmative action into the sphere of education, discrimination would have been the dominant reason for admitting students into the realm of the alma mater.
However, it must be also admitted that, once the affirmative action is misused, the most deplorable effects appear. As a result of affirmative action enhancement, the discrimination of the majority can take place, which is also inacceptable (Steinberg 346).
It is also desirable that the affirmative action approach should be reconsidered and that its appliance should differentiate between the students who are being discriminated and the ones who do not possess the necessary skills. Therefore, the reasonable application of affirmative action must be provided in the sphere of education. It cannot be doubted that, once the reasonable approach towards the given problem is found, the compromise can be achieved and justice will be restored.
“Black/White School Segregation, 2000.” UMich.edu, University of Michigan, 2000, Web. 21 Nov. 2011.
< http://www.umich.edu/~lawrace/schoolsegregation1.htm >.
Brunner, Borgna. “Timeline of Affirmative Action Milestones.” Inforplease.com, InfoPlease, 2007. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. < http://www.infoplease.com/spot/affirmativetimeline1.html >.
Joondeph, Brad. “Poltiics, the Supreme Court, and Affirmative Action.” SCU.edu, Santa Clara University, 2010.
Steinberg, Stephen. The Affirmative Action Debate. “Essays from Contemporary Culture.” 5th Ed. Ed. Katherine Anne Ackley. Stevens Point, WI: University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, 2004. 343-347. Print.