Affirmative Action

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In twenty-first century America, programs like Affirmative Action are controversial to say the least. The average person, be them black, white, man, women, would like to believe that those sorts of programs aren’t necessary and that society has moved beyond needing programs to combat race and gender discrimination. Though, as much as one would like to believe that, the reality of the situation is that those types of programs still serve a very real need even to this day. Using statistics from a Gallup poll, the author articulated, “While the United States is divided between 49% of citizens supporting Affirmative Action programs and 43% opposing them, many Americans have a difficult time defining what Affirmative Action is” (Affirmative Action, A Social Issue.). There are pros and cons to it, as with most things; but when weighed with the full picture in mind, the issue becomes clearer. Affirmative Action should be kept in place because even with its faults and possible drawbacks, the intention in valid and the results yielded from its practice are significant and have the potential to be even greater. Affirmative Action is meant to ‘level the playing field,’ between men and women and between ethnic groups and whites. Women throughout history have been repressed in one form or another. One argument for Affirmative Action is that, in the case of women, it helps combat a discrimination that has existed throughout the last several centuries and that continues on to this day. Always on the underside of progress and innovation, is the woman’s participation and share in it all (Platt). This is especially true of women in the United States. Of the major industrialized nations, women of this country were the last to receive suffrage--the right to vote--and since then the battle for equality has raged on. As recently as this year, another frontier has been surpassed. Women are finally able to serve on the front lines. That there was even a question of whether or not a woman could handle battle, is a testament to the backwards way of thinking that still seems to permeate through this and others on matters of women and equality among the sexes; and those injustices are the very ones that Affirmative Action seeks to put an end to. Though women have long since been oppressed, their fight stems from a bias that has subsided notably over the past decades, a group whose plight stems from the darker, seedier part of human nature. Minorities, namely ethnic groups, have seemingly always had to face some form in this country. Whether it be classist or racist, it lives on to this day. From slavery to slums, one ethnic group or another has faced the harsh injustices of not being the ideal race or creed. Affirmative Action helps allay an intolerance that that has always, and to this day does, exist in society. One theory as to why there is such a discrepancy between the standardized test scores of white students and those of minority students is that certain ethnic groups lack the mental acuity. The theory, which is entirely unfounded and prejudiced to say the last, further underscores the fact that it is not a lack of intelligence that is to blame for that variation, but a lack of education; and in order for equality to prevail, the disadvantages minorities have need to be balanced out in the case of college admissions; which will lead to minorities being to fill and adequate representation in a collegiate atmosphere. Such equality seems to be incapable of coming about on its own, so it is up to society to step up and make such things a reality; and Affirmative Action accomplishes this goal. The institution is one in a long line of social welfare programs designed to assuage the pervasive class, race, sexual, and political warfare this country has always suffered. While there are many influences to Affirmative Action, one that can be said to have the most recent and significant impact is the New Deal, born of the Progressive Era of the 1920, and...
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