Should Affirmative Action Be Used as a Hiring Consideration?

Affirmative action is a social policy designed to achieve a diverse and productive workforce. There is much controversy and social debate about the merits of affirmative action. In doctoral studies in industrial and organizational psychology, doctoral learners debated affirmative action should or should not be used as a hiring consideration.  

Affirmative action was introduced in 1960s to address racial discrimination which did exist in workplace, especially against African Americans.  Due to historical reasons, certain minority groups suffered social and economic disadvantages that might have caused employers’ bias towards minorities, and such bias could lead to discrimination in employment.  Therefore, Affirmative Action was very necessary and it had imposed positive impact to the well-being of our society.

Today, minorities have reached equal social status and they are well represented in mainstream careers such as managers, entrepreneurs, scholars, professionals, political leaders, and the President of the United States.  Since affirmative action has become increasingly controversy for its meaning and effect relevant to today’s situation, I believe that it is no longer needed as a hiring consideration because corporations today are much aware of racial discrimination issues thus actual actions against minorities become rare.  Also, because minorities have boosted their capacity in consumer market, corporations would want to hire minorities to represent their services for their own economic reason, even without affirmative action.  The trend of globalization also encourages corporations to build diversified workforce.

Because of these changes, minorities today may perceive affirmative action negatively because individuals who benefit from it are sometimes viewed as incompetent (Levy, 2010).  Minorities also challenge the fairness of it, for example, "Black applicants viewed an AAP operationalized to show preference for a Black candidate with the same qualifications as a White candidate as less fair" (Levy, 2010, 183). From my personal perspective, as a minority, I’d rather not be protected for employment, and I won’t feel comfortable to be treated differently, either favorably or unfavorably,  in the workplace, because it would not only hurt my self-esteem, but also discount my true achievement.  In my opinion, each job applicant, minority or not, has her or his own strength and weakness which are not likely relevant to their race and color, thus they should take responsibility to improve themselves in order to compete equally with others for their fair share of success.


Levy, P. E. (2010). Industrial/organizational psychology: Understanding the workplace (3rd ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.

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