When interviewing candidates for a job, employers ideally look at the candidate’s qualities that might help him or her be successful with the prospective job.
With that said, affirmative action calls for employers to take race, ethnicity and gender into consideration. These are features that presumably do not affect one’s ability to work. A person’s level of melanin does not affect their leadership abilities. A person’s gender does not affect their level of organization. With the latter of these examples, there may be a correlation without causation, but it would be unjust to make the assumption that women are more organized than men or vice versa.
The purposes of the implementation and enforcement of affirmative action are to encourage workplace diversity and to compensate for any disadvantages that being a member of under-represented, racial, ethnic or gender groups entails.
To encourage workplace diversity is to encourage future candidates to apply for a job on the basis that they will be more comfortable in a working environment in which there are other individuals they can relate to. In my opinion, this conceivably beneficial notion is not worth going out of one’s way to hire a candidate genuinely undeserving of the job.
In addition, workplace diversity ostensibly supports new perspectives from those with different life experiences. Undoubtedly, there are circumstances in which this is plausible. But again, this is qualified by the possibility that a better candidate was unjustifiably denied a job he or she was more qualified for to support diversity in a situation in which workplace diversity may or may not have even been necessary.
To compensate for disadvantaged individuals is to give those an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise be presented. However, I adhere to the belief that most Americans, through hard work and common sense, can rise from poverty or a deprived atmosphere without being given governmental freebies. Moreover, gift-giving to the under-represented allows desperate or dishonest individuals to abuse the system rather than working hard to earn their money and jobs.
The implication being made by affirmative action is that in some cases, the best person for the job will not be hired. This is because preference will be given to those who are members of the aforementioned under-represented groups. This is counterproductive in the attempt to create a truly impartial America, whose citizens are able to look past skin color, ethnic background and gender. When under-represented groups are given jobs based on qualities not pertaining to their ability to perform, those who belong to the "majority" are denied a job based on factors they cannot control.