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Issue of Preferential Hiring

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Social Issues

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Issue of Preferential Hiring

In recent years preferential hiring has become an issue of
great interest. Preferential hiring, which was devised to create
harmony between the different races and sexes, has divided the lines
even more. Supporters on both sides seem fixed in their positions and
often refuse to listen to the other group's platform. In this essay,
the recipients of preferential hiring will be either black or female,
and the position in question will be a professorship on the university
level. The hirings in question are cases that involve several
candidates, all roughly equal in their qualifications (including
experience, education, people skills, etc.), with the only difference
being race and/or sex. What we have here is a case of predetermined
preference. The two candidates in question are equal in all ways,
except race. The black applicant is selected, not because of skills or
qualifications (in that case the white man would have provided the
same result), but for his skin color. This seems to be blatant
discrimination, but many believe it is justified. Some feel
retribution for years of discrimination is reason enough, but that
issue will be discussed later. First, lets focus on why this is not a
solution to creating an unbiased society.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream: ?I have a dream that my
four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not
be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their
character.? He desired a world without discrimination, without
prejudice, and without stereotypes. The fundamental lesson years of
discrimination should have taught is that to give anyone preference
based on skin color, sex, or religious beliefs is, in one word, wrong.
As Martin Luther King Jr. stated, judgment based on skin color must
not exist. All preferential hiring does is keep judgments based on
skin color alive. Race and sex should not be issues in today's
society, yet preferential hiring continues to make these factors
issues by treating minorities as a group rather than as individuals.
More importantly preferential hiring may actually fuel, rather than
extinguish, feelings of racial hostility. Applying the concept of
preferential hiring to another situation may help elucidate its
shortcomings. A party of white men and a party of black men both
arrive at a restaurant at the same time and only one table is free.
The headwaiter can only seat one party and must make a decision.
According to preferential hiring theory it is necessary to seat the
black party first, since historically blacks have been discriminated
against when seated in restaurants. In another situation, a white man
and a black man are both equidistant from the last seat on the bus.
Both men are the same age, have no medical problems, and are equal in
all ways except skin color. Should the black man get the seat since in
the past black men have been discriminated against? We could continue
this practice for several centuries before the debt we owe for
depriving blacks of a seat on the bus would be paid. Perhaps these
examples are invalid. It could be said that jobs are a different
issue. They help define social status and provide economic well-being.
They might even boost self-confidence, something that discrimination
has stolen. Two points must be considered before moving any further.
First, blacks may learn better from a black, and women may learn
better from a woman. Second, hiring women and blacks will provide role
models for others. The first point Thomson quickly concedes as likely
to be false. Discussion about the second point however is required,
and will, in effect, serve to negate the first point as well.

First, lets create a character, Bill. Bill is grossly
overweight and unattractive. Studies have shown that many employers
discriminate (whether subconsciously or not), against both overweight
and unattractive individuals. Unfortunately for Bill, he fits into
both categories. His inability to land a job reflective of his
abilities, coupled with years of public humiliation through jokes
made at his expense, has destroyed his self-esteem. This has caused
him to accept as fact the notion that he will never be able to reach
his goals. Few ?Bill? success stories exist, only further plummeting
his self-confidence. This example sounds strikingly similar to a
common argument for preferential hiring. I have been discriminated
against, which has caused my self esteem to fall, and now I am stuck,
with few role models to follow. Bill's success has probably been
thwarted by more sources than the today's average black or female, but
there is no provision in preferential hiring for him. Just like no one
can control their race or skin color, Bill's obesity is caused by a
medical problem beyond treatment. Selective preferential hiring won't
work. Even if one doesn't accept the fact that preferential hiring
discriminates against the white male, one must accept the fact that
preferential hiring discriminates against Bill.

Now let's assume that this argumentation is invalid for one
reason or another. Let's assume the lack of self-confidence and
self-respect that today's blacks and women are suffering from may
deserve some compensation. But before continuing, it seems necessary
to narrow the range of who qualifies for compensation for suffering.
The issue at hand concerns today's blacks and today's women. Today's
society is not responsible for incidents preceding its own existence.
Other opinions may not coincide with this belief, but I ...

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