I am writing this letter in response to Maureen Moynihan ("Hiring solely by ability not reality," Oct. 23) concerning Affirmative Action. No one can disagree that there are employers out there who discriminate against people. Discrimination in the workplace exists and is very real. But it does not exist everywhere and Affirmative Action as we know it is not the way to solve the problem.
In defense of Affirmative Action, Maureen's overall view is one which I find a lot of other people saying (not necessarily minorities) and one which scares me. This general belief is that minorities will not succeed without the help of the government. There are two immediate dangers in thinking this. First, we allow the government to physically and mentally play an ever larger part in our lives. Big government is not good for our society! We are in a capitalist society and businesses cannot thrive with the government looking over their shoulders.
Moreover, as a people, we deserve to be able to work where and when we want, without the government telling us what job we should have. Ever think about a business having to turn away a black person for a job because there were too many blacks working there? Don't kid yourself, it's already happening, just not with blacks.
Second, we cheat ourselves out of our own independence, self-esteem and pride. How can a person believe in himself when he allows his life to be dictated by an outside force? How can an honest person take pride in receiving something he did not deserve? The only way to succeed in this country is to be able to sit down at the end of your life and say that everything you have, you received because you earned.
Affirmative Action seeks to keep people from not being hired based on race, ethnicity or gender. And how does it accomplish this? By hiring people based on race, ethnicity or gender and forcing employers to hire employees based on a quota system. This makes no sense! I do not believe in Affirmative Action because I do not believe in discrimination. A more logical way to deter discrimination in the workplace is to enact a law which requires employers to hire people based on their qualifications only ,without mention of race, ethnicity or gender. It will never stop discrimination Ÿ nothing will, since we cannot dictate what people think Ÿ but it will leave people with a stronger belief in themselves and better lives overall.
I am a Filipino (a definite minority), but I have worked diligently to become independent and self-supporting. I am putting myself through college by working at a job directly related to my post-college profession. By the time I graduate, I will be in a managerial position Ÿ an employer ready to hire my peers as employees! I didn't get here because I fulfilled a quota. I got here because I seized an opportunity, proved myself through dedication and commitment, and by doing a damn good job. This is the way things ought to be and I wouldn't want it any other way. Would you?
Paul E. Haggerty Jr.
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