This is a very interested topic. Raised in the south in the mid 60s, I had the opportunity to see first hand how people were not given a fair opportunity because of the color of their skin. Saying that I am personally opposed to the set aside programs, because I want to achieve my success based on me and my experience not based on a set quota. However, I understand why the programs exist. Some people would give a job to a less qualified or not qualified person before given it to a more qualified person of color.
According to answer.com, Set-Asides are a form of Affirmative Action used by governments in contracting government business; they include programs that typically designate a percentage of government contracts or funds (either for services or for construction of public works) for minority-owned businesses. In 1977 Congress passed a law that directed 10 percent of federal public works funds to minority-controlled businesses, which the Public Works Employment Act defined as ones in which 50 percent of the business was held by African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans.
From the utilitarian standpoint it is my opinion that set aside programs are for the greater good of our society. Until we become a nation that can look past the race, gender, and religion of our fellow citizens and hire people based on merit and their qualifications, we will continue to need programs that sets the playing ground fair for everyone across the board. An example would be that my uncle owned his on construction company, and he always placed a bid on upcoming construction projects in the city. However, because he was an African American in Georgia in late 70s he did not get many construction jobs, even though his bid was well within the bidding range and his quality of work was better than that of his counter parts. For him the set aside program worked so that he would get the chance to earn a living for his family.
The term affirmative action...