Affirmative Action

Topics: Affirmative action, Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Pages: 5 (1552 words) Published: June 24, 2013

Affirmative Action is an employment legislation protection system that is intended to address the systemized discrimination faced by women and minorities. It achieves this by enforcing diversity through operational intrusions into recruitment, selection, and other personnel functions and practices in America. Originally, Affirmative Action arose because of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s desire to integrate society on educational, employment, and economic levels, yet it was John F. Kennedy who issued Executive Order 10925 to create the Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, a commission that evolved into our modern Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which is designated to comply with the non-discriminative laws in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. PREFACE

In a speech to the graduating class at Howard University on June 4, 1965, President Johnson explains the concept he felt to be underlying in affirmative action, asserting that civil rights laws alone are not enough to remedy discrimination: "You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: 'now, you are free to go where you want, do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.' You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying, 'you are free to compete with all the others,' and still justly believe you have been completely fair. This is the next and more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity—not just legal equity but human ability—not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as result.”[1]

An important focus of Affirmative Action is statistical under representation of different racial and ethnic groups on college and university campuses. In compliance with AA, if the percentages of minorities are not at a level deemed appropriate by a court, administrative agency, or university administrator, racial preference programs are put into place. Small regard is made in favor those students in the majority that undeniably qualify to be accepted into the university in question; in contrast, this attitude has produced the argument that Affirmative Action produces reverse discrimination as we see in the 1978 case Regents v. Bakke. Proposition 209 in California is a known as one of the most prominent responses to the backlash of Affirmative Action. In 1995 the University of California Board of Regents voted to abolish Affirmative Action. The UC Board of Regents President Pete Wilson, who also happened to be the governor, wanted to meet to discuss facets of affirmative action. Regents were unmoved by the many students who testified that there was a huge problem with diversity on UC campuses. Faculty and administrators also confirmed three decades of affirmative action that made the university a better place to learn. The Regents also failed to listen to evidence documenting that no qualified applicant, of any race or gender, is ever turned away from the UC system. Wilson and the board reached a decision that “Affirmative Action preferences are unfair and divisive and crate racial tensions in the country.”[2] However, seventeen of the twenty four board persons were selected by a line of governors sharing the same party affiliation as Wilson and most had little credentials to make decisions in higher education. The backlash in this case reached all the way to Florida when University of California Regent Ward Connerly brought a voter referendum to Florida. This Executive Order, One Florida Initiative, signed by Governor Jeb Bush replaced Affirmative Action with the Equity in Education Plan. This initiative labels Affirmative Action as “false diversity” and says that it ignores hard work and excellent performance. Instead, the Equity in Education Plan guarantees...

Cited: Fields, Cheryl and Sandra Day O’Connor. “ Affirmative Action.” Change 37, no.5 (2005, accessed 11 April 2008); available from; Internet.
Rice, Mitchell F. Diversity and Public Administration: Theory Issues, and Perspectives. New York: M.E.Sharpe, 1995.
Stephens, Ross G. and Nelson Wikstrom. American Intergovernmental Relations: A Fragmented Federal Polity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Taylor, Ula. “Proposition 209 and the Affirmative Action Debate on the University of California campuses.” Feminist Studies 25, no.1 (1999, accessed 11 April 2008); available from; Internet.
[2] Taylor, Ula. “Proposition 209 and the affirmative action debate on the University of California campuses,” Feminist Studies 25 no. 1 (1999, accessed on 11 April 2008); available at
[3] G. Ross Stephens and Nelson Wikstrom, American Intergovernmental Relations: A Fragmented Federal Polity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) , 134-135.
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