The Pros and Cons of Affirmative Action

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The concept of affirmative action is found in a speech by President Kennedy when he was referring to the government’s responsibility to ensure that affirmative action was taken with regard to equal employment opportunities for individuals regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin. It is interesting that although President Kennedy pioneered the concept of affirmative action, it was President Lyndon Johnson who first applied this concept by taking steps to equalize the presence of individuals in government positions. President Johnson outlined that it was not enough to say that equal employment opportunities existed; it was the government's responsibility to ensure that the positions not only existed, but were being filled by minorities in a commitment to cultural diversity. Directives were put into place as part of this process that not only banned discrimination, but also offered incentives to government contractors who employed a culturally-diverse workforce. Some of the pros of affirmative action, therefore, include increased opportunities for cultural minority groups, such as legislation that strongly urged employers to select minority candidates and contractors (given that they met qualifying criteria) Numerous research studies have been conducted regarding the glass ceiling for women, as well as attempts to determine percentages of cultural identity in the white-collar professional positions (for example). Such studies have identified that there are more Caucasian males in positions of authority at a majority of companies. To rectify this, many agencies established affirmative action plans that were intended to encourage minority applicants, and thus enlarge the pool of qualified applicants from which to draw for available positions. The downside to this, however, was that the legislation that was designed to encourage minority employment fostered the discrimination it sought to eradicate. To weight any individual's application due to demographic...
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