Discrimination and Affirmative Action in the USA

Table of Contents


John Kennedy, the former president of the United States, popularized the term ‘affirmative action. The continued marginalization of women and minority populations necessitated Executive Order 10925 by Kennedy. The order prohibited all forms of discrimination in employment (Fischer, 2010). Since then, the Federal government has taken steps to safeguard against discrimination against the vulnerable or special population in the United States. Military officers, for example, put their life on the line to defend Americans at home and abroad. In some cases, the officers come back wounded and disabled. The time spent in the military and at war deprives them of the opportunity to attend college and gain skills required in the job market. To safeguard against discrimination of disabled veterans in employment, the federal government requires the federal agencies to develop programs for selecting, hiring, and fast-tracking career development of such disabled veterans. This paper will justify affirmative actions taken by the Disabled Veterans Affirmative Action Program and extrapolate why affirmative actions to women and minorities are unethical.

Main body

Disabled Veterans Affirmative Action Program aims to curb discrimination against ex-servicemen. It requires patriotism, courage, and a strong love for humanity to serve in the military. Those men who put their lives on the line so that Americans and the world can be more peaceful deserve respect from everyone. Subjecting them to the endless search for a job is unthankful and demoralizing, to say the least. People have argued that hiring people on such flimsy considerations as being a disabled veteran will ruin the quality of services by the federal government. Such arguments ignore the fact that military service is holistic. Additionally, DVAAP identifies gaps and offers remedial training (Kellough, 2006). This has led to the fact that people now believe that disabled ex-servicemen are getting preferential treatment. The fact is that federal agencies train college graduates to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The least society can do to those men who sacrifice their lives is to offer the means of livelihood.

Utilitarian ethicists have argued that affirmative action is unacceptable because it does not achieve the intended consequences (Fischer, 2010). For instance, when a disabled veteran turns up for an interview against a college graduate with better qualifications, it is unjustifiable to offer the former the job merely because of him being a disabled veteran. Doing so poses two main risks. The first one is that a less competent person will not contribute to the achievement of an organization’s objectives as effectively and efficiently as the competent one. Secondly, disqualifying a person for not being disabled is discriminative. One cannot counter discrimination by being discriminative. Deontological ethicists counter that if a man does something important for society, the benefactor is morally bound to reciprocate in the same manner. As long as a pursuit of the general public interest leads to disability, the public ought to honor and reciprocate in kind.

DVAAP and other affirmative actions for women and minorities have several differences and similarities. Their purpose is to promote the employability of marginalized groups. Through those affirmative actions, discrimination has significantly dropped in federal agencies. While DVAAP is relatively new, affirmative actions for minorities date back to the early 1960s. DVAAP is more proactive and easy to defend, both morally and legally. Disabled veterans learn skills that they missed out on not attending colleges. On the other hand, affirmative actions for women and minorities have been termed, more blatantly, as discriminative. Women and other minorities, for example, black Americans are sometimes as competent as their male counterparts are. Affirmative actions, therefore, give them an undue advantage over other competitors in the job market. While they were effective in the past, many people have argued that affirmative actions today propagate discrimination. The overriding factor in selection and hiring should be competencies, skills, and qualifications, but not sexual or racial orientation.

The tenet and logic of affirmative actions for women and minorities lack cogency, legitimacy, and moral effrontery. It is irrational to take away the rights to access employment from one person and give it to another one. Rather, it is more reasonable to level the playing ground and allow people to compete for opportunities. This is what equity and equality entail. In California and Arizona, for instance, there has been rescinded practice in federal agencies and other public opportunities (Kellough, 2006). Many other states are likely to prohibit affirmative actions.


The debate about affirmative action has raged for a long time. The proponents argue that it is the only means to enhance equity in employment. Opponents point out that it promotes laziness to recipients. It is difficult for a woman benefactor of affirmative action to feel equal to a man or another woman who has earned a position through meritocracy. DVAAP has, however, contributed to quite a lot of hullabaloo because of the appreciation of the need to take care of disabled veterans who have sacrificed immensely for their nations.


Fischer, K. (2010). Advantages and Controversy of US “Affirmative Action” concerning African – Americans. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH.

Kellough, J. E. (2006). Understanding affirmative action: Politics, discrimination, and the search for justice. Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press.

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