The Legislation of Set Aside programs started on 1975, which is a law that gives permission to the authorities to allocate contracts and purchases for different services and constructions for only the small businesses with an allotted percentage for the minority or the “disadvantage group”. This law intends to give equal opportunity for small business especially to those who are owned by minorities to be able to have a chance to compete in an open market.Thus the main issue that this law aims to resolve is that of social inequality, which is prevalent among the different social classes.
In societies, there are unfair biases that people imposed. However, not all of this biases and discrimination could be accounted for as wrong. As can be reflected on, biases are albeit natural, for it serves as preferences and qualification.
Yet, what the set aside program aims to reduce is the bias and prejudice that people usually give to minority groups taking away any opportunity that they could possibly have on the basis of personal bias. What makes discrimination a matter of social and political concern is the manner in which it leads to the unequal treatment of minorities. Depriving them a chance to improve themselves and enjoy the same privileges that ordinary or common people enjoys.Gender bias and racial bias are the most blatant discrimination that exists. Thus, set aside programs are devised in order to somehow provide the “disadvantage groups” some gain. In general, set aside programs are consider being a part of Affirmative Action, which aims on promoting the good of the minority groups. Affirmative Actions are done through imposing quotas and case by case basis.
By the imposition of quotas, institutions are required to accept or include at least a certain percentage of people who belongs to a certain minority group. In case by case, the certain group was considered to be a “must be” part in the process of qualification. In the case of the set aside programs, it belongs to the first method.Theoretically the Set Aside Programs seems to be a good idea for its aims focuses on social equality, yet, there are several problems that challenge this program. Since as the sense of discrimination continues to become an issue; a question of whether the minority are really the one who is being discriminated was raised. According to those who believe that the Set Aside Program is unjust or immoral, it takes away the chance of someone who is able and more qualified to work in order to give way to someone who is not qualified, simply because he is a part of the “minority”.This claim touches some of the utilitarian arguments against Set Aside programs which claim that those who do not posses enough qualification are given more opportunity to take a job simply because they are part of the minority. Having this in mind, this might pose greater difficulty for the company/institution as a whole and in the long-run, such as inability to comprehend and resolve certain issues and the likes.
Yet using the same utilitarian approach, the set aside program might also benefit to a greater advantage since there would be a cross-cultural exposure that somehow helps people to gather different perspective from different people. (Cohen, 1995)Deontological approach would show that, as can be seen in the example above, there could be a discrimination of the majority. Also, the fact that quotas are made is necessarily wrong because it does not give an equal opportunity. At the same time, those people who have the job might not deserve for the job after all. Still, deontologically speaking, those people who have been harmed in the past must be compensated for the harm they have received. It must be this harm that affected their capacity and made them unqualified for certain jobs in terms of intellectual and social capacity.
Thus, it would only be right to compensate them through giving them a certain chance through Set Aside programs.Having the moral considerations in mind, I believe that Set Aside Programs does not create so much harm for the majority, given the fact that as little as three percent are given to them in certain occasions for contraction and services, it would not really be a problem for the majority anyway. However, in the case made by Boston Mayor Menino, wherein he replaced the fifteen percent city construction contracts for minority group and the five percent to woman-own firms programs with something like twenty percent to local businesses and twenty percent to firms with less than twenty employee is something that is wrong (Rubin, 2003) How else could the minority and the woman-owned firms and businesses compete competitively when such programs which guarantee their place in the business arena was replace with something that further supports the majority?Although indeed the Set Aside Program might become majority discrimination, taking it away would not only increase minority discrimination but would further promote it.
Also, qualification still applies to those who are in the minority group, thus, if ever they do not pass the qualification process then they are not worthy of the job or the contract. However, if in cases of quotas, the institution would need to have to give a certain percentage to a certain minority, then, those who are in the institution should be the one responsible in making ends meet (Lienberg, 2004).If the majority could make it, why can’t the minority do so? The action made by Menino could only be right when discrimination among the citizen does not exist anymore. However, if this is not the case, is action is wrong. Set Aside Programs are morally justified and must be uphold continually for the purpose of promoting equality in the society by giving opportunity and benefit to the disadvantage group so that they could cope up with the majority and in able to remove any bias that is present in the society today and in the generation to come.
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