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Thomas E. Hill offers a view of the message of affirmative action that begins with the belief that actions speak louder than words and that affirmative action conveys a message. He sees this as a necessary message and thus sees affirmative action as a necessary medium for that message. Affirmative action programs are criticized for having in their very nature a form of "reverse discrimination," a discrimination now on the basis of majority rather than minority status. "Affirmative action" refers to efforts to redress imbalances in the workplace by actively seeking out employees who have traditionally been excluded, such as members of racial minorities and women. In the past, certain Americans have been excluded from full participation in the American economy. Racial discrimination and sexual discrimination are the two primary reasons for this. Even if we assume that such discrimination has been eliminated, it is believed that special efforts need to be taken to make up for past sins. Affirmative action is a way of seeking out candidates from previously excluded groups and may include preferential treatment in order to elevate minority candidates above other candidates in order to achieve some form of racial or gender balance. The goal is admirable, but the means can lead to conflict and to a system in which excellence is not the primary criterion for advancement.

Proponents of affirmative action state that these groups need extra consideration to make up for past sins and to provide the basis for future advancement on a level playing field. They say that affirmative action is necessary now to assure a completely fair workplace in the future. Hill asks whether affirmative action is necessarily a morally illegitimate form of "reverse discrimination" that violates the rights of white male applicants and finds that it is not. In effect, he is countering the arguments of those who believe that affirmative action creates an al...

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MESSAGE OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:41, March 22, 2019, from