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Affirmative Action in the United States

The writer Mary Anne Warren is focusing on describing the current practices in many organizations today in regards to the implementing a goal vs. a quota system for the purposes of affirmative action. She defines a quota as “Those who use the term “quotas” pejoratively tend to assume that the numerical standards will be set so high or enforced so rigidly that strong reverse discrimination-that is, the deliberate hiring of demonstrably less well qualified candidates-will be necessary to implement them.” (Warren, 370). Warren then describes goal as “The term “goal”, on the other hand, suggests that this will not be the case, and that good faith efforts to comply with the standards by means short of strong reverse discrimination will be acceptable.” (Warren, 370).
The critical thing that must be understood when exploring the subject is that the writer is describing how affirmative action is being applied in American organizations today in other words the current reality. However, she fails to speak to us about how the law designs this program to function. This is the critical component that American organizations must be educated to understand.
Affirmative action as defined by law is most definitively not based on a quota system. In fact, what is not widely known is that this program can be equally used by all individuals provided that an inequality exists in the group that they belong to as not being reflected in the work force.
So what is affirmative action? What is it designed to do? It is not designed to provide an opportunity to an unqualified candidate. It is designed as “a way of compensating individuals or groups for past injustices or for present disadvantages stemming form past injustices” (Warren, 373). It is further designed “as a means about bringing about further future goods-for example, raising the status of downtrodden groups.” (Warren, 373). The keyword in these quotes is the word “group”.

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