Affirmative Action – Do We Still Need It?

Topics: Affirmative action, Discrimination, United States Pages: 6 (925 words) Published: June 24, 2010
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://>, 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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