` Affirmative actionprograms, as we know them, are less than 50 years old, and are usually viewedas a series ofpositive steps taken to ensure the representation of minority groups in fields that have traditionallyexcluded them. It protects both racial and ethnic minorities, as well as women, in the areas of education, business, and government. Affirmative action, whichhas its roots in the Constitutional ideal of equal opportunity, is the government’s way of both eliminating inequality and making amends for past discrimination. Sometimes viewed as “reverse discrimination” for blatantly favoring one group over another, affirmative action programs often differ in the extent to which they attempt to rectify discrimination by either instituting reviews of the hiring process for minority groups or explicitly preferring members of select groups.In many ways, affirmative action has helped women and minority groups obtain and keep positions in either work or school that they would otherwise have been unable to attain.However, since the beginning of affirmative action in the 1960s, these policies have had many implications for businesses—both positive and negative—and have instituted many changes. `
` President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925 in March of 1961. The order was originally designed with governmentcontractors in mind, and stated thatsaid contractors would “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during their employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” Executive Order 10925 did not advocate special treatment of minority groups, as would later come to pass, but was initially intended to eliminate discrimination from hiring and employment practices. In Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,the government’s position on the policy of affirmative action was solidified, and a new branch of the U.S. Department of Labor... [continues]
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