Affirmative Action – do we still need it?
Affirmative action is a set of public policies and initiatives designed to help
eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin. The original policies of Affirmative action were set up to help African Americans
and other minority groups to overcome the past effects of discrimination. African
Americans, minorities, and women discrimination in certain areas like employment,
resources, and other public programs. Affirmative action policies was set up by the
government and implemented federal agencies enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Under this act and two executive orders government contractors and educational
institutions receiving federal funding had to develop program in conjunction around
affirmative action laws.
In 1972 The Equal Opportunities Act of 1972 set up a commission to enforce the
plans of the Civil Rights Act and Affirmative action policies. President Lyndon B. Johnson
signed executive order of 11246 and The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment
to the United States Constitution. Affirmative action has been around since 1961 up until
2009 some called the reverse discrimination against white men. Affirmative action has a 48
year history within the United Sates. This is the next step and more profound stage of the
battle for civil rights (< http:// www.factmonster.com/spot/affirmative1.htm>, emphasis
Affirmative action had several major arguments that made this policy become
effective and implemented by law. The arguments included the following areas:
employment, educational institutions, and other forms of discriminatory practices that held
back minorities from government funding and services. Supporters of the affirmative
action policy knew that this would level the playing field and offer many opportunities that
was once denied to African Americans and other minority groups. In the work place
setting the affirmative action was not meant to compensate for past wrong doings but
offset the unfair advantage, appropriately reward the deserving, or provide social goods.
This was enacted so that business and institutions could comply with the
nondiscrimination mandate set forth by the Civil Rights Act. What is required by Congress
is the removal of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment where
barriers operated invidiously to exclude on the basis of racial and other impermissible
classification (Bell, 2003).
Education was another big major area where affirmative action was focused at.
Universities and colleges were puzzled during the 1970’s on ways to increase minority
presence on campuses nationwide. This increase included added minorities in the student
body as well as complying with federal regulations on employment practices to increase
minority on the staff as well. Many institutions for higher learning increased its enrollment
of women, African Americans, and Hispanic population on the campus because they
recipients of federal funding which was incompliance with the affirmative action rules.
Arguments against the issue would be a case that went all the to the Supreme
Courts in 1977. This case was known as the Regents of the University of California vs.
Bakke. Under the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the University of California at Davis
was in violation of the law. Where Alan Bakke was denied admission in the medical school
Even though his grades were better than those applicants admitted under the special
program there. The Supreme Court ruled that school was in clear violation of the law, so
Bakke was admitted in the medical school. Some critics of affirmative action would argue
that, but some critics would argue and say that this is a clear example of reverse...
Cited: Bell, Derrick. “Diversity Distractions”. Columbia Law Review. (2003). 1622-1633.
Boylan, Michael. “Affirmative Action Strategies for the Future“. Journal of Social
Philosophy. 33(2002). 117- 130.
Brumer, Borgna. Affirmative Action history. A History and timeline of Affirmative Action.
July 2009. Pearson Education, Inc.
Cohen, Carl and Sterbra, James. (2003). Affirmative Action and Radical.
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