Affirmative Action & Why it Should Stay the Same
Affirmative action is the broad spectrum of policies designed to redress inequalities in employment and education through a system of preferences to minorities according to Ellen Bailey of Yale University. It was originally designed to help improve opportunities for African Americans during the civil rights movement; however it soon grew to include other minorities groups and women too. In the United States where individuals in certain social, racial, gender and economic groups have distinct advantages to education and jobs, affirmative action provides important opportunities that would otherwise be closed to many people who do not belong to these groups. Until each person is allowed to pursue his or her goals unfettered by institutional and personal discrimination, affirmative action is absolutely necessary.
Why do we need affirmative action? It is common sense to say that people should naturally be judged on their merits, without consideration of other factors such as race, gender, or ethnicity, or even any other factor that does not relate directly to professional or academic performance. However, throughout the history of the United States, and even today, people are judged on these criteria, even at an unconscious level. At the founding of the United States, white men had the social and economic advantage, and enjoyed numerous rights and opportunities that women or other minority groups did not possess. Fast forward to today, the balance of social and economic advantage still tips in the favor of Caucasian males. At the end of the 20th century, 31% of white males held professional jobs compared to the meager 16% of African Americans according to aclu.org. Another thing to consider is based on statistics done by Cornell University, women own 39% of contracting firms, however only less than 3% of federal contracts go to firms owned by women, and then less than 10% of state contracting dollars end up to...
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