In the United States justice is defined as equal treatment of all its citizens under the law. When one citizen is mistreated an injustice has been committed against all people. Affirmative Action is a program whose purpose is to make sure that citizens are treated equally by enforcing a set of policies which are designed to promote the inclusion of all individuals regardless of race, disability, sex, or religion. In the United States democracy we are all equal, but some groups have been enjoying more advantages in society than others for centuries. Current statistics show the depth of modern day racial gaps, which are rooted in historical discrimination and modern-day structural racism. Generations of nominal disadvantages have created large barriers to opportunity for many minority groups. It is a very controversial issue in the United States’ society today, some regards it as a step forward to an equal workforce and educational sector as well as society and others as a step back and also reverse racism and think that it has already served its purpose. The need for Affirmative Action has been a hot topic in American society for many years; many argue that it is not needed in our society today because the playing field has been leveled. Affirmative action has proved its need in society over and over again. Discrimination of women in the workplace m denial of admission to college, refusal to hire based on race, are all current issues in our society. Affirmative action is a major necessity in modern day America because of underlying discrimination, social Swindell 2
limitations of minorities groups, and the advancements and great strides it has made towards more diverse businesses and educationally.
Before you can fully understand why Affirmative Action is needed today you first need to know the history behind it and what prompted its establishment as one of the biggest steps towards equality today. Affirmative action was originally instituted as an appendage to the national effort to fix the widespread bondage of racial and ethnic minorities. Women were also included. Some efforts actually brought up prior to the sudden interest in civil right issues in the fifties and sixties. However they did not actually become instituted until it became clear that anti-discrimination statutes alone were not adequate means to reverse the deep rooted patterns of discrimination that infested society. For the better half of the 20th Century, women and minorities have had to deal with more than enough legal and social segregation. When the civil rights movement had finally gained enough support to make a significant difference, several victories were won. Brown v. Board of Education and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 all helped the Constitution keep its promise of equal opportunity rights for all human beings. Unfortunately, even after the civil rights laws passed, the path to equal opportunity for minorities and women was still a rough one. The President’s Committee on Government contracts, chaired by Vice President Nixon in 1959, blamed “The indifference of employers to establishing a positive policy of nondiscrimination.” Reacting to the civil rights movement, President John F. Kennedy established a Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity in 1961 and later issued Executive Order 10925, which used the term “affirmative action” to refer to any measures generated to achieve non-discrimination. In 1965, President Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 requiring Swindell 3
federal contractors to take affirmative action to “ensure equality of employment opportunity without regard to race, religion and national origin.” Gender was later included in the action in 1968.
Even though many people believe racism died out many years ago after the civil rights movement and affirmative action, it still lives on in the children of those who were fighting against equality. Many minorities and women are looked upon as less than equals by those in a...
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