Affirmative action is an attempt by the United States to amend a long history of racial discrimination and injustice. Our school textbook defines affirmative action as “a program established that attempts to improve the chances of minority applicants for educational or employment purposes, although they may have the same qualifications, by giving them leverage so that they can attain a level that is equal to caucasian applicants” (Berman 522).
There are people that support and oppose this issue. Opponents of affirmative action have many reasons for opposing this issue, one of them being that the battle for equal rights is over, and that this advantage made for people of color discriminates against people that are not of color. The people that defend affirmative action argue this advantage is needed because of how badly discriminated the people of color once were. Because of the discrimination that once was these people claim that they are at a disadvantage, and always have been, therefore equality of opportunity is needed.
It is also said that affirmative action is used to encourage diversity and integration. This paper will discuss the history of affirmative action, how it is implemented in society today, and evaluate the arguments that it presents. In order to discuss how affirmative action was put into legislation, we must review the history of black americans and slavery. America’s Declaration of Independence stated that “all men were created equal,” but under the Constitution blacks were not created equal because first of all, they were not American citizens; they were considered to be property. This is seen in the Dred Scott v. Sanford case (1857) when Dred Scott, a slave is taken by his master to settle into other free states and back into the state of Missouri (not a free state).
... long as discrimination continues to deny equal opportunity to women and people of color. Affirmative action in employment encompasses a broad range ... institutions. Because of the long history of discrimination based on sex and race, most affirmative action programs have been directed towards ... General Colin Powell noted when speaking about the current state of discrimination, We re not where we want to ...
When his master died, he claimed to be free because he had lived in states where slavery was illegal. This case went to the Supreme Court, where it was ruled that Scott could not sue because he was not a citizen (Berman 508).
Slavery was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, but blacks, other minorities, and women continued to be deprived of the right of citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868, making blacks citizens and promised them the ‘equal protection of the laws.’ In 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment was passed, which gave blacks the right to vote. Congress also passed a number of civil rights laws barring discrimination against blacks in hotels, theaters, and other places. However, the South reacted by passing the ‘Black Codes, ‘ which severely limited the rights of the newly freed slaves, preventing them in most states from testifying in courts against whites, and limiting their opportunities to find work.
Even though blacks were given suffrage, the white Americans from the south found ways to stop them from voting. These laws were called grandfather laws, which meant that if your relatives could vote prior to 1867, you were permitted to vote. Moreover, this excluded all recently freed slaves (Berman 510).
In 1896, the Ples sy v.
Ferguson case, a man who is one eighth black, and seven eighths white, decides to sit in the front of a train, but is not allowed because he of the fact that he is one eighth black. He felt that although only an eighth of his blood was black, that overall he should have been considered white. When taken to court, it was declared that the state of Louisiana had the right to segregate their races in every public facility. Thus began the ‘Jim Crow’ legislation. Jim Crow laws were made to have “separate, but equal” facilities for people of color. Not until about sixty years later, in Brown v.
... for a job because of Affirmative Action. If you are a white male and a company needs black males to fulfill the equal ... the seemingly impossible endeavor of ending discrimination in the United States. Though this dream is unrealized, that is not to ... morally wrong and unjust. Although the law is unbiased, most politicians agree that Affirmative Action does not guarantee decent education to every ...
Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the Supreme Court judge ruled that “separate, but equal” was unconstitutional. This decision created racial tensions all across America. In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested and fined, for not moving to the back of a public bus, setting a pattern of boycotts by black of bus companies. And a number of ‘sit ins’ were being held by blacks, and whites as well, in still segregated restaurants in the South.
During an incident in 1957, President Eisenhower had to call federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, after the state’s governor, George Wallace forcibly barred black children from entering white schools. The government responded to those incidents by passing new laws, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits any form of racial discrimination in employment purposes. This was the start of affirmative action for America (Berman 513-519).
Johnson mad many promises in his commencement speech at Howard University. He promised to begin “the next and more profound stage of civil rights; not just freedom, but opportunity…
.” Johnson said that the nation would pursue “equality as a result.” He placed the moral duty on the white man of curing “one huge wrong” done to black americans. Although Johnson had the same principles of affirmative action, he did not mention the word “affirmative action” in his speech (Eastland 40).
Ronald Reagan and later George Bush came into office and affirmative action lost some gains and was ignored by the Republicans in the White House and in Congress. Affirmative action was silently being terminated by our federal administrators. Finally during the Presidency of Bill Clinton, he promised a cabinet that “resembled America.” By this he meant, that his cabinet will be chosen on account of their race and / or sex (Bergmann 1).
The Republicans attempted to say that affirmative action is a quota or reverse discrimination.
President Clinton supports affirmative action, but he clearly states that he is against quotas and reverse discrimination: ‘I’m against giving anybody unqualified anything they ” re not qualified for. But I want to make a conscious effort to bring the American people together.’ Furthermore, President Clinton added that the purpose of affirmative action is to give the United States a way to finally address the exclusion of individuals of talent, on the basis of their gender or race, from opportunities to develop, perform, achieve and contribute. “Affirmative action is an effort to develop a systematic approach to open the doors of education, employment, and business development opportunities to qualified individuals who happen to be members of groups that have experienced long-standing and persistent discrimination (New York Times).” Today affirmative action has made a difference in how many minorities exist in the workforce and in highly rank U. S. universities.
... 'Upper Class ' jobs, such as government employment, were rarely ever given to the minority classes. Although, affirmative action has had numerous ... affirmative action begins to take effect upon society. Was it true that white men were responsible for the suffering of all African-American people ... ? The white man did play a large role on the ...
In 1974 minorities mad up one percent of the engineering workforce, whereas today minorities make up ten percent of the engineering workforce (Stonecipher).
This factor still does not show entire progress. If one looks at the composition of various professions such as law, medicine, architecture, academics and journalism, or at corporate management of white men one immediately notices that people of color are still significantly underrepresented and underpaid in every category. People of color do not make up the proportions of these jobs equal to their percentage of the population. Despite the lack of progression in the above occupations, affirmative action has had success in city, state, and government jobs. This result is due to the fact that federal employers, many private businesses, and colleges and universities must account for whom they hire or admit by using this form of correctional discrimination.
Since the 1960 s the area of law enforcement witnessed the greatest increase in minority applicants, and in jobs offered to minorities. Although, just recently Texas, Florida, Washington, and California have eliminated affirmative action from their public universities’ admissions criteria (Art ze).
Also it was just ruled by the U. S. Supreme Court that the University of Georgia used affirmative action unconstitutionally in their admissions process (Gose).
Despite the fact that most U.
S. public colleges are forced to use affirmative action during admissions, many people have arguments for and against this issue. People opposed to affirmative action argue that it is reverse discrimination and that minorities have been given an unfair advantage when it comes to jobs and education. Sometimes people and companies argue that affirmative action means the best qualified person will not be hired. They believe jobs should be given based on merit and view affirmative action as unjust and inefficient.
... over others in admission to college. Friends help friends and acquaintances get jobs. Affirmative Action helps open doors for women and people of color who ... . 1999: 88. Adversity. Net (web frame. htm) Affirmative Action Affirmative action has assisted many members of minority groups in creating equal opportunities in education and ...
Moreover, it is believed that affirmative action uses individual white people, often white males, in order to pay for past discrimination of minorities, therefore these individuals may not get the jobs they deserve. These specific white people may not get specific job opportunities because of affirmative action policies and may suffer as a result (Eastland).
On the other hand people argue that there should be some compensation for the wrongs of America’s past that created much of the inequality that exists today. It is also necessary to integrate whites with minorities so that they too can have an equal opportunity. Many supporters of affirmative action policies may argue that if these policies were not in effect, that the job market would still be prejudiced against women and minorities.
They argue that if someone is raised in a depressed area where the educational opportunities are not as good as they would be in a high income area, that that issue should be taken into account when being considered for higher education. Employers have traditionally hired people not only on test scores, but on personal appearance, family and personal connections, school ties and on race and gender preferences, demonstrating that talent or desirability can be defined in many ways, and not only thru ethnic backgrounds. Affirmative action policies serve as a corrective to such patterns of discrimination, and keep score on progress toward proportional representation by placing the burden of proof on organizations to show why it is not possible to achieve equal representation (Bergmann).
... conclusion, affirmative action is still a highly debated issue. White men feel they are missing out on promotions and other opportunities due to affirmative action. Even ... timeline of affirmative action. The first discussion of affirmative action was in Executive Order 10925 on March 6, 1961. President Johnson introduced this policy as ...
As you have seen, although it is a very controversial issue, affirmative action does have a long history. The banning of affirmative action in California, Florida, Washington, and Texas may be the start of the end of affirmative action for admissions although many people do support it and use it as an advantage.
Although affirmative action is used to give people a greater opportunity, it has been seen that it has been used in unjust ways. This is what the government hopes to omit. Works CitedArtze, Isis. “College Find New Ways to Diversify.” Hispanic. (2001): 64. Berman, Larry, and Murphy, Bruce Allen.
Approaching Democracy. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001. Bergmann, Barbara R. In Defense of Affirmative Action. New York: Basic Books, 1996.
Eastland, Terry. Ending Affirmative Action. New York: Basic Books, 1996.” Excerpts From Clinton Talk on Affirmative Action.” Editorial. New York Times 20 July 1995: A 9. Gose, Ben, and Schmidt, Peter. “Ruling Against Affirmative Action Could Alter Legal Debate and Admissions Practices.” Chronicle of Higher Education.
(2001): 36. Stonecipher, Harry C. A Place to stand. 21 Debated Issues in American Politics.
New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000.