- being unhappy because you are not with other people: ___________
- help or encouragement: ___________
- avoid someone intentionally: ___________
- protect someone or something from something unpleasant: ___________
- treat someone unfairly on purpose: ___________
- when someone dislikes a group of people because they are different: ___________
- when someone is treated unfairly because of their sex, race, religion, etc.: ___________
A: You work at a human resources department for a company. Your boss wants to get rid of five people over 52 years old. You don’t agree because you think they shouldn’t be fired on account of their age. Develop your arguments.
B: You are the human resources manager. Your company has financial problems. Five people have to be made redundant; you’re thinking of the older employees. Develop your arguments.
Source: Le Site.tv (SCEREN et FRANCE5), Discrimination at work.
Document 3: Tackling discrimination
The EU acts on behalf of EU citizens to prevent them being discriminated against on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation and sex.
1) What kind of discriminations does the European Commission fight against?
2) How does the European Commission tackle discrimination?
Document 4: What is affirmative action?
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: any measure (…) that permits the consideration of race, national origin, sex, or disability, along with other criteria, and which is adopted toprovide opportunities to a class of qualified individuals who have either historically or actually been denied those opportunities and/or to prevent the recurrence of discrimination in the future.
— U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Office of the General Counsel, Briefing Paper for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: Legislative, Executive and Judicial Development of Affirmative Action, Washington, D.C., Mar. 1995.
Affirmative action policies are those in which an institution or organization actively engages in efforts to improve opportunities for historically excluded groups in American society. Affirmative action policies often focus on employment and education. In institutions of higher education, affirmative action refers to admission policies that provide equal access to education for those groups that have been historically excluded or underrepresented, such as women and minorities.
Background on Affirmative Action
Affirmative action is an outcome of the 1960's Civil Rights Movement, intended to provide equal opportunities for members of minority groups and women in education and employment. In 1961, President Kennedy was the first to use the term "affirmative action" in an Executive Order that directed government contractors to take "affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." The Executive Order also established the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, now known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Affirmative action policies initially focused on improving opportunities for African Americans in employment and education. The Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 outlawing school segregation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 improved life prospects for African Americans. In 1965, however, only five percent of undergraduate students, one percent of law students, and two percent of medical students in the country were African American. President Lyndon Johnson, an advocate for affirmative action, signed an Executive Order in 1965 that required government contractors to use affirmative action policies in their hiring to increase the number of minority employees.
In the following years, colleges and universities began adopting similar recruitment policies, and over time the enrollment rates for African American and Latino students increased steadily.
2) What is the historical background that led to affirmative action?
3) Why is affirmative action still a kind of discrimination?
Document 5: The Affirmative Action Debate
Supporters of affirmative action make the following arguments:
Affirmative action programs have resulted in doubling or tripling the number of minority applications to colleges or universities, and have made colleges and universities more representative of their surrounding community.
Graduates who benefited from affirmative action programs say that they have received better jobs, earned more money, and ultimately are living better lives because of the opportunity they received.
We exist in a global, multicultural society, and in order to achieve success, employers and employees must be able to work effectively with the diverse society that surrounds them.
Affirmative action policies are necessary in order to compensate for centuries of racial, social, and economic oppression.
Certain racial or ethnic groups are disadvantaged because they are frequently in lower income brackets and consequently are not exposed to the same resources as students from higher socioeconomic classes. Advocates support the notion of competition between students based on merit, but argue that affirmative action compensates for economic disparities.
Criticsof affirmative action make the following arguments:
Minority groups may be stigmatized and treated differently by peers and professors who may believe that the success of minority groups in higher education institutions is unearned.
Affirmative action may be unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance).
Affirmative action only serves to amplify racial prejudice. Moreover, affirmative action programs are condescending to the underrepresented groups since it is implied that the groups need affirmative action in order to succeed in higher education.
The use of race as a factor in the college admissions process has been, and continues to be, a hotly debated topic. Complete this table to compare the advantages and disadvantages of affirmative action.