Newton on the Injustice of Affirmative Action: Argumentative Essay

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Affirmative action has long been a topic of debate, with proponents arguing that it is a necessary tool for addressing historical inequalities and promoting diversity, while critics claim that it perpetuates reverse discrimination and undermines the principles of meritocracy. In this essay, we will examine the arguments put forth by Newton in his critique of affirmative action, focusing on the perceived injustices that arise from its implementation. While acknowledging the importance of addressing historical disparities, we will critically analyze Newton's viewpoints to explore the complexities and potential shortcomings of affirmative action policies.

Reverse Discrimination and Meritocracy

One of the central arguments against affirmative action, as articulated by Newton, is that it promotes reverse discrimination. Newton contends that by giving preferential treatment to certain individuals based on their race or gender, affirmative action undermines the principle of meritocracy. According to Newton, the selection process should be based solely on individual merit, skills, and qualifications, rather than considering group identity. He argues that individuals should be judged on their abilities and accomplishments, rather than being rewarded or penalized based on factors outside their control.

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Equal Opportunity and Fairness

Newton further posits that affirmative action policies can perpetuate a sense of unfairness and unequal opportunity. He argues that individuals who are more qualified or deserving may be denied opportunities simply because they do not belong to the designated minority group. Newton contends that true equality can only be achieved when all individuals are treated impartially, without preferential treatment based on race or gender. He raises concerns that affirmative action may lead to the stigmatization of beneficiaries, who may be seen as less competent or deserving solely because of their protected status.

Academic and Professional Standards

Another aspect of Newton's critique revolves around the potential lowering of academic or professional standards due to affirmative action policies. He argues that by prioritizing diversity over qualifications, institutions may compromise their commitment to excellence and merit-based selection. Newton posits that this can result in the placement of individuals in positions for which they may not be adequately prepared, potentially undermining the credibility and effectiveness of those institutions. He suggests that instead of lowering standards, efforts should be focused on improving access to quality education and eliminating systemic barriers that hinder equal opportunities.

Individual Autonomy and Personal Achievement

Newton emphasizes the importance of individual autonomy and personal achievement in his critique of affirmative action. He argues that affirmative action can undermine the sense of personal accomplishment and diminish the hard work and effort of individuals who have succeeded based on their own merits. Newton asserts that success achieved through affirmative action can be perceived as less legitimate or earned, potentially eroding the motivation and self-esteem of individuals who have worked diligently to achieve their goals.

Alternatives to Affirmative Action

In his critique, Newton advocates for alternative approaches to address historical inequalities and promote diversity without resorting to affirmative action. He suggests implementing socio-economic-based policies that consider an individual's disadvantaged background rather than their race or gender. Newton argues that this approach would address the root causes of inequality and provide equal opportunities to individuals from all backgrounds, irrespective of their group identity.


Newton's critique of affirmative action raises valid concerns regarding reverse discrimination, the potential erosion of meritocracy, unequal opportunities, and the importance of individual achievement. While affirmative action has been a tool used to address historical disparities and promote diversity, it is essential to critically evaluate its implementation and consider alternative approaches that uphold principles of fairness and equal opportunity. The goal should be to create a society where individuals are judged solely on their abilities and accomplishments, regardless of their race or gender. By engaging in thoughtful dialogue and exploring alternative solutions, we can strive towards a more just and equitable society while addressing the complexities inherent in affirmative action policies.

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Newton on the Injustice of Affirmative Action: Argumentative Essay. (2023, September 22). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
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