Affirmative action has been appreciated by those who think, to create a society where each person have an equal opportunity to education, jobs and other social services, it is pertinent that the underprivileged especially the minority group should be given an advantage in their selection for the above services. While the opponents believe that this is a kind of discrimination for those who can acquire these services on merit but are deprived of these services due to an affirmative action. They consider it a distortion of the social structure as they believe that some people get an undue advantage because of the affirmative action.
If we look at the concepts of functionalism, we come to know that the society behaves in a manner the human body behaves. It points to the society from a perspective of working in solidarity and helping each other. Different people are performing different duties but to function effectively, they must help each other. This help can be manifested in the form of affirmative action where the ones who possess more sacrifice something for those who possess less.
The conflict theory focuses on the society as a dynamic entity which is striving to change. This constant change is caused by the competition between the human beings. It looks at the society to be unjust and therefore the social inequality must be eradicated with the help of providing privileges to underprivileged in the form of affirmative actions. The conflict theory looks at the world from the class system view where there is a higher class occupying the resources.
Symbolic interaction points to the fact that we can yield positive results by social integration of different racial and ethnic groups. Hence in education system we might say that including people from different racial and ethnic and racial background as a result of affirmative actions, would yield positive results for the overall society.
Research has indicated that by disrupting conformity, people can think more critically and rationally. Therefore, I personally believe that affirmative actions might seem a type of discrimination and a color-blind racism to some, but to me it is a positive way forward towards the achievement of a society based on equality and equal opportunity.