Affirmative action, according to Messerli (2010), can be conceptualized as the preferential treatment of minorities in various aspects in the society. Sometimes, affirmative action can be government policy. For example, the government may decide that a certain percentage of racial minorities or women should make up a minimum percentage of college or employment admissions. The following are some of the arguments supporting and opposing affirmative action in employment and college admission:
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Messerli (2010) argues that diversity is a desirable trait in every aspect of human society. However, given the nature of society, this can not take place if things are left to chance. As such, to ensure diversity in college admissions and employment, affirmative action should be encouraged. Affirmative action is also important in breaking stereotypes in society. For example, there might be a stereotype of the effect that women can not perform in certain fields.
Affirmative action in employment may prove this stereotype wrong. Minorities in the United States of America and other societies have been oppressed for a very long time. It is only fair for the community to do something to compensate for this oppression. Affirmative action comes in as a form of compensation, an effort to right the wrongs committed against blacks, women, and other minorities for a very long time in the society.
There are those who are of the view that this action, as much as it is aimed at correcting discrimination in the society, instead of results in reversed discrimination (Messerli, 2010). For example, instead of the blacks now been discriminated against, majorities such as whites are discriminated against on the basis of their majority status. Affirmative action also waters down minority achievement (Messerli, 2010). For example, in an affirmative society, a woman who succeeds in a certain career might have their success attributed to affirmative action, regardless of the fact that they might have worked hard for it.
Busing: Benefits and Criticism
Busing can be viewed as another form of affirmative action in the school system (Lindsey & Beach, 2008). This practice can be conceptualized as assignment and transportation of students to schools across districts in efforts to reverse the effects of racial segregation in schools in the United States of America (Lindsey & Beach, 2008).
It is my belief that busing was a bad idea from the beginning. This is despite the fact that there are some benefits derived from it. For example, busing makes efforts to effectively integrate students in schools and ensure that there is adequate representation in these schools. In the past, there was de jure segregation in some parts of the country, which was perpetrated by de facto segregation in other parts (Lindsey & Beach, 2008). Busing came in to correct this imbalance.
However, these benefits fail to outweigh the criticisms leveled against busing. This is given that the costs of this practice are more than the benefits. For example, many people strongly feel that this practice has eliminated community pride and support towards their neighborhood schools. This is given the fact that they feel outsiders have invaded their area. Many parents and teachers have reported disciplinary problems on their charges, and they attribute this to busing. This is especially so given the fact that most parents feel their children are being bused to dangerous neighborhoods.
Social Movements and Collective Behavior
Barker (2007) views a social movement as what he refers to as a string of controversial acts and campaigns waged by ordinary people to stake collective claims on other people in society. Riding on this definition, it is a fact beyond doubt that I have been part of social movements in the past. For example, my attachment to social networking sites such as Facebook, Skype, and others can be viewed as my efforts, consciously or otherwise, to be part of social movements.
My experience on Facebook meets the definition of my actions been part of a social movement. Charles Tilly, cited by Barker (2007), gives three elements of a social movement that qualifies my Facebook attachment as part of it. One of them is the campaign, where it is argued that social movement entails an organized and sustained covert or overt actions that can be viewed as collective claims towards the authorities in the society (Barker, 2007).
Many youths, including me included, have used Facebook and other sites to come together and fight for their rights or emancipation from the authorities (parents, teachers, governments, and others). A social movement should also use repertoire, which can be viewed as political actions. On Facebook, youths have formed a formidable political vehicle that makes them a force to reckon within the society. All of these factors make my engagement on the Facebook part of involvement in social movements.
Sustainable Urbanization and Future Generations
Urbanization has been one of the major characteristics of 21st Century society. Urban centers are growing very fast as the majority of people migrate to the cities. This has brought up the issue of sustainable urbanization (Lindsay & Beach, 2008). People ask themselves whether it is possible to urbanize while maintaining the quality of life for humans by saving the forests, the environment, and other resources for future generations.
It is my belief that sustainable urbanization is possible for future generations. This is given the fact that despite the challenges presented by urbanization, the development also has many opportunities that can be harnessed for the benefit of future generations. This can be achieved through several practices. One of them is compactness. This is whereby authorities try to make cities compact and densely developed.
Such compacted cities rely less on vehicles, and as such, air pollution is avoided. Another way of attaining sustainable urbanization is completeness. This is whereby the cities are made more complete. In a complete city, people are able to work and shop and do other things near their homes. As such, there is no need to commute. This reduces energy consumption and air pollution, among other benefits.
Barker, M. (2007). Conform or reform? Social movements and the mass media. International Journal of Radical Mass Media Criticism, 12(7), 39-45.
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Lindsey, L. L., & Beach, S. (2008). Sociology. 3rd ed. New York: Pearson Education Inc Publishers.