“To what extent are Affirmative Action programs no longer needed in the United States?” Affirmative Action is a policy in the United States that “aims to enhance educational and career opportunities for minorities and women by granting them preferences in college and graduate school admissions, promotions, and contract awards.” (Boxill) Such programs are designed to ensure that qualified individuals in America have equal access to opportunity in areas such as education and employment, and receive a fair chance to contribute all their abilities. As T.H. Andersen points out: “Supporters declare themselves the champions of racial justice, protectors of Martin Lurher King’s Dream, while the opponents see themselves as the defenders of merit, of colorblind equal protection enshrined by the U.S. Constitution.” (Anderson Preface X) Therefore, although at first these programs were considered a huge success, many argue that Affirmative Action has been out dated and is not working anymore. Affirmative Action has served its purpose, and is no longer needed and should be abolished or reformed, as it will no longer be useful in helping eliminate the racial gaps in the United States. Affirmative Action has achieved a great deal since it was first introduced in the 1960s. Politicians have characterized Affirmative Action as a policy “designed to right the wrongs of the past, as a quota system, or a set of remedial programs aimed to compensate for the inadequacies of people of color”(Crosby 4). Affirmative Action grew out of the Equal Rights Movement of the 1960s as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. President Kennedy stated in Executive Order 10925: "it is the plain and positive obligation of the United States Government to promote and ensure equal opportunity for all qualified persons, without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin, employed or seeking employment”. Ever since the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, “executive orders have required federal agencies to pursue vigorous antidiscrimination policies”(Pincus 25), such as the initiation of the 1972 Equal Employment Opportunities Act (EEOA), which strongly influenced the interpretation and enforcement of the civil rights legislation. Due to Affirmative Action programs, not only has the foundation for equal employment opportunity been created, but opportunity in education has also been altered. As John McWhorter states: “There is so much good news in black America today that if we could transport a black American into our era from even as recently as the 1960s, they would wonder whether some trick had been played.“ (1) By this he sums up the idea that Affirmative Action has changed a lot for the ethnic minorities in the United States The diversity of our current society as opposed to that of the previous century indicates that Affirmative Action programs have been a success. Therefore, there are several advantages that Affirmative Action has that serve as the key reason of why these programs must be continued. Firstly, Affirmative Action draws people to areas of study and work they may never consider otherwise. Significantly more women have entered the workforce, the median incomes of minorities has increased and the number of students in colleges has also grown. “Since the 1960s, household-income growth for African-Americans has outpaced that of whites. Median adjusted household income for blacks is now 59.2% that of whites, up slightly from 55.3% in 1967.” (Desilver) However, these gains haven’t led to any narrowing of the wealth gap between the races, but on the other hand after adjusting for inflation, “the median net worth for black households in 2011 ($6,446) was lower than it was in 1984 ($7,150), while white households’ net worth was almost 11% higher.” (Desilver) this therefore suggests that although significant adjustments have...
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Crosby, Faye J. " Affirmative Action Is Dead: Long Live Affirmative Action. " Harrisonburg: Yale University Press, 2004. Print.
Kennedy, John F. “Executive Order 10925”. presidency.ucsb.edu, 6 Mar. 1961. Web. Nov 11. 2013.
Khadaroo, Stacy T. “Supreme Court: If Affirmative Action is banned, what happens at colleges?” csmonitor.com. The Christian Science Monitor, 9 Oct. 2012. Web. Nov 11. 2013.
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