Affirmative action debate

             When they were first initiated, affirmative action policies were
             needed to address the discrimination faced by women and members of minority
             ethnic groups. These policies have enabled many people to secure better
             employment and educational opportunities. In their wake, however,
             affirmative action policies have also spawned criticisms of reverse
             discrimination, and given rise to charges that in the long run, these
             policies harm the people they were intended to help.
             This paper argues that while affirmative action policies were
             necessary in 1965, they are no longer appropriate in 2003. In fact, this
             paper presents arguments why affirmative action policies are ineffective in
             addressing the discrimination problems faced by African Americans, Latinos
             1. Race is not a sharply-defined category.
             Many critics of affirmative action point to the problem of "racial
             boxing" that these policies inherently promote. Linda Chavez, for example,
             argues that race categories are arbitrary concepts, which are fluid and
             This problem is best illustrated in the arbitrary definitions of what
             constitutes being "Latino" or "Hispanic." An Argentinean person of Spanish
             ancestry, for example, would most likely be considered "Caucasian."
             However, if the same person speaks fluent Spanish instead of fluid English,
             he automatically becomes "Hispanic."
             Such arbitrary classifications are also at work among other racial
             groups. All Asians are usually lumped together because of the way they
             look. Such a catchall category, however glosses over important cultural
             differences and even makes light of deep-seated cleavages between groups
             like the Japanese and Koreans. Even Caucasian people of Eastern European
             descent are asserting their distinctness from other Caucasians.
             Just as it is impossible to classify who belongs to what ethnic group,
             it is also virt...

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