Affirmative Action as Racial Discrimination

Topics: Affirmative action, Discrimination, Racism Pages: 8 (2862 words) Published: December 7, 2001
Affirmative Action as Racial Discrimination
The controversy over affirmative action is growing to embody most all selective decisions in American society. From public protection to college admissions, people are becoming resentful of such affirmative action programs. The applicability of these programs in today's American society has been challenged by people ranging from the everyday "Joe", who is finding reverse discrimination in the workplace, to college applicants, who are finding that it takes more than good grades to get admitted, to the Supreme Court, who is finding that some college admissions policies are unconstitutional and promote diversity through unfair means. In California, for example, Gov. Pete Wilson has already pushed an initiative ending affirmative action practices in colleges and universities. The initiative passed, after a 10-hour meeting, through The California Board of Reagents with a 10-15 vote. in Michigan, the state legislature is conducting hearings on the "fairness" of affirmative action. David Jaye, a Republican member of the Michigan State legislature, said affirmative action creates economic imbalances within the system. Affirmative action policies are means for reverse discrimination against the non-minority population and should be repealed by the United States government. The phrase "affirmative action" was first used in a racial discrimination context in Executive Order No. 10,925 issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 (Brown). This executive order indicated that federal contractors should take affirmative action to ensure that job applicants and employees are treated "without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin"(Brown). Kennedy's executive order implied equal opportunity and nothing else. The system that has since evolved is a perversion of the original intent of affirmative action. The dynamic history of affirmative action has its roots in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and stems from the United States Supreme Court Case of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order #11246 at Howard University that required federal contractors to undertake affirmative action to increase the number of minorities that they employ (Brown). He wanted to ensure that minorities were recruited to have real and equal opportunity to be hired and then eventually get a promotion. When this Civil Rights Act was passed, its spirit was not one of reverse discrimination but of getting employers to consider applicants objectively in filling jobs within their companies. Hubert Humphrey, a major sponsor of the Act, swore that he would eat the bill if it were ever used for discrimination of any sort. The past cannot be changed and we should stop compensating people who were never hurt at the expense of people who have done them no harm. In 1969, the Department of Labor exposed widespread racial discrimination of the Construction Department so President Richard M. Nixon decided to incorporate a system of "goals and timetables" to evaluate federal construction companies according to affirmative action. This idea of "goals and timetables" provided guidelines for companies to follow and comply with affirmative action regulations (Brown). Many companies now use these quotas in order to receive tax breaks from the government. Now the government not only promotes discrimination but also pays the employers to do so. During the presidency of Gerald R. Ford, affirmative action was expanded to people with disabilities and Vietnam veterans but there were no goals or timetables for these two groups. This type of affirmative action required recruitment efforts, accessibility, accommodation and reviews of physical and mental job qualifications (Brown). This legislation did wonders for the disabled in terms of jobs and promoted equality so that even the handicapped and elderly could receive employment. President Jimmy Carter...

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