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Black People and Affirmative Action Essay

Please be advised that Assignment One on the printed Tutorial Letter 101/3/2013 on pages 12 – 14 has a number of both typographical and numerical mistakes. This happened as a result of a number of factors: the initial assignment reading was too costly for the Department to commission in terms of copyright and had to be retracted at the last minute. The reading on “Affirmative Action: a losing battle? ” was then included but with an almost impossible deadline, which resulted in the errors reflected therein. This is regrettable and we apologise for any inconvenience this might have cost you.

The corrected version of the assignment is on page 3 and is attached to this TL and again on my UNISA for your convenience. The marks are out of 100 marks – 50 for Section A and 50 marks for Section B. NB: Please note that the due date has not changed in any way (4 March 2013). 2 ENN103F/102 8. 4. 1. FIRST SEMESTER ASSIGNMENTS The purpose of this assignment is to teach you how to read an article and to critically engage in academic reading and reflecting on the material in an academic manner by answering the short paragraph questions provided as well as an essay.

Assignment 01 will be marked fairly fully and sent back to you. Affirmative action: a losing battle? There are considerable reasons to suppose that this topic, which affects all citizens of South Africa, in particular, seems dated. In some instances it is a policy viewed with hostility as it is said to discriminate against sections of the population, yet in others it is seen as beneficial to women, black people and the disabled.

Studies show that in many instances this form of historical redress has proven a hindrance to performance and makes the beneficiaries doubt their abilities when viewed by their superiors. This has a negative effect on an organization since the quality of work is seen as being sub-standard. Equally, there are significant indicators, both in industry and the private sector, that the opening up of previously closed avenues through the policy of affirmative action made companies perform better since the beneficiaries of such workplace selection viewed their work as a challenge.

Where beneficiaries claim stigmatization by such a selection process, it means they prefer not to have been selected through such efforts. Either way, the battle seems to go on and on. In the light of this ongoing and divisive debate, the level of debate regarding the policy has not progressed further since comparative studies of the policy have not been seriously undertaken. There has been no systematic study of the developments in how the policy actually proves beneficial as a tool of redress.

Part of the reason is that, firstly, there is a lack of monitoring of what goes on in organizations, and secondly, that the regulations are not strictly enforced. For instance, companies will usually ‘front’ a black person, a woman or a disabled person, as a chief executive officer and leave the matter of compliance as a secondary issue. Rarely do such companies face serious consequences even if they do business with the government. The question then is whether a time limit should be placed on the policy and Act or whether it should be declared unconstitutional.

Consideration has not been taken, for instance, of measures used in other countries to actively promote privilege. Very few advocacy groups ever mention the Naturalization Act of 1790, the Homestead Act of 1862 or even the Federal Housing Administration Loan Program of the 1930s used by the government of the United States of America to promote racial preference; or that such Acts were also used as models for other racially divided societies.

Advocacy groups for and against the policy and Act have routinely made it a point that the policy is unsettling, needless and discriminatory, on the one hand, while others argue forcefully that the amelioration of past injustices justifies its implementation. Whichever side is on the ascendancy cannot take the other side’s viewpoint, and in the end the past divisions are set to continue. 3 SECTION A: Short questions Answer the following questions in short paragraphs. Please note that each question will be marked out of 10 marks: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Is the affirmative action policy morally defensible?

Explain. In your opinion, which country has successfully implemented the policy of affirmative action and why did it succeed? In your view, why did the South African government choose to implement the Affirmative Action policy and Act, and was it ever justifiable? Does the policy need to be discontinued after a certain length of time, and why? In your opinion, why is it that people from a different racial group are unemployable in certain sectors of the economy and not in others?

[10 X 5 = 50] SECTION B: Essay Write an essay of approximately one and a half page on either of the questions below. Please note that each essay will be marked out of 50 marks: 1) Do you think cultivating an equal opportunity society has helped countries such as South Africa and America to move forward? In a carefully worded essay, show why this is the case or why it is not. OR 2) To what extent do you consider such a policy and act relevant to the needs of any society today? [50 marks] Best wishes The ENN103F Team 4.


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