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The ethic of equal opportunity - Essay Example

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Subject: Essay, Philosophy Date: Topic: The Ethic of Equal Opportunity How far the system of “quotas”, “enforcement of equal opportunity”, “preferential treatment” for minorities, women, and others who have traditionally been under-represented both in schools and in the workplace should continue?…
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The ethic of equal opportunity
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The ethic of equal opportunity

The concessions came into vogue in the 1960s and 1970s. Preferential treatment programs to the above categories of the American population is not a concession, they are entitled for it. It is a petty societal gesture for the centuries of subjugation, physical violence and mental torture, destruction of the native culture and all sorts of negativities practiced against them especially on the African Americans. Other racial minorities and women also have been at the receiving end. Thus the initiatives of some firms and institutions to recruit a fixed number of minority and women candidates was a welcome relief and that enabled them to change and improve their lifestyles and provide better education to children. The above arrangements have decidedly worked to the advantage of minorities and women. At the middle class level perceptible changes are seen but several inequalities continue to plague the American corporate world. About 97% of corporate senior executives are white. When the top decision makers are white it is futile to expect of them not to work and frame policies that are beneficial to the white community. Reservation is one of the options to remove inequalities but it is certainly not the panacea to remove all inequalities. Criticism springs forth from two quarters. From whites and a section of the blacks which has resulted in friction amongst the working class. The grievance of the whites is that the policy affects their employment opportunities. The black scholars oppose it and claim that the programs victimize and stigmatize the minorities and this has led to friction amongst the blacks and whites on the one hand and also amongst the different groups of blacks. Reservations may not be a perfect and rational remedy, but the wise saying goes that desperate situations need desperate remedies. The gross injustice done to the African Americans for over three centuries was the desperate situation in their history. They were totally helpless from all ends and the white community enjoyed at their cost. The mansions they built were through the sweat and blood of the slave labor. The atrocities committed by the whites can be forgiven but the historical facts can never be forgotten. So, quotas and reservations are the just alternatives to overcome the racial and sex barriers in the American society. As such, preferential treatment programs are morally justified. If there is one post and there are two applicants for the same, when one of them is selected, the other one is bound to feel discriminated. This is the natural human reaction. But preferential treatment programs have a broader perspective as they are based on the grounds of distributive justice. Society is like the scale of justice and both arms of the scale are equally important. Turn the pages of American history, one arm of the scale had to bear the heavy burden for centuries. As a result of past discrimination, minorities and women were denied the share of opportunities that were due to them. Though discrimination has now ended from the legal perspective, subtle discriminatory policies and practices continue to pervade business organizations and educational establishments. As such, preferential treatment programs seek to lessen inequalities and justice demands this should happen. “The first premise put forth by Wasserstrom was that race is still a significant factor in our ... Read More
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