Affirmative Action : Is It Still Needed

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.

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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 imitations 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 position of power in either in college or in businesses.

Those people discriminating can either be white or even of the same race. Many people have built up stereotypes about certain minority groups and women and believe that that hiring a white male would be the best option because they are more dependable. This ignorance prompts businesses to hire only white males and not minorities or women, and if not for affirmative action then that’s all modern day Corporate America would be full of those who are “dependable”. Let’s not forget the racism that prompted affirmative action to be initiated.

African Americans were a depressed race for many years because they were thought of as less than human beings and were treated unfairly until recently. Women were unable to vote, work, or even own land for many years. Does affirmative action produce some form of reverse discrimination (Dworkin 1986)? The answer to that question would be no it doesn’t; it just evens the playing field or counter acts the discrimination that it already out there. Without a program out there to enforce equality for all men and women, who’s to say we won’t revert back to our old ways? Basically everyone is not cut from the same cloth.

Meaning every person is not afforded the same opportunities to succeed in today’s society and some are given much less than others. “Even with affirmative action (and much more so if it were to be Swindell 4 eliminated), African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians face grossly unequal opportunity in American society. Consider the following facts. If you are born as a member of any of these groups, you will be two to three times as likely to be born into poverty, and up to twice as likely to die before reaching the age of one year, as you would if you were born white” (Farley , John.

Why We Need Affirmative Action). As you can see it is not easy for minority groups in today’s society. Affirmative action bridges the gaps by offering equal opportunity jobs and educational possibilities. Those who are born into poverty are given hope and the guarantee that if they work hard enough, that they will definitely be able to succeed in life. Affirmative action promotes equal standing in public schools and scholastic placement. Although some minorities may score low on standardized tests. Affirmative action can take in to account the fact that minorities usually get a less quality of education.

Would you say this is giving minorities and unfair advantage? They can still be graded the same once in college but they deserve at least a fighting chance to get in. If not for affirmative action many people would not have been allowed to go to college or even work, and in turn their children would born into poverty and ignorance. Affirmative action has achieved so much so far, it has dragged the society out of the depths of racial disparity and major social separation. It gives minority’s a fighting chance to live the American dream of one day becoming wealthy and living life according to how they want without being told it can’t be theirs.

It forces businesses and colleges to look at minority’s qualifications and not just their race. Without it none of this would be possible. “It is of paramount importance that as many educational opportunities as possible be extended to the nation’s minorities, [because they will total] 50% of the Swindell 5 population by 2050” (Jenkins, Wilbert. USA Today “Society for the Advancement of Education”, September, 1999). We must keep in mind that Affirmative action does not only benefit those today but our children and their children’s children . etc.

The Declaration of Independence states, “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The role of the government is to protect our rights , and Affirmative action is a way that they can protect the rights of minorities to make sure they are able to fairly participate in society. It is an imperfect solution to the problem to the problem of racism. Affirmative Action has played a major part in making America far wealthier in opportunities for minority groups than it was many years ago.

If it could be used for its original purpose, people would be treated as equals in the American workforce and has helped minorities and women go on to higher levels of education to obtain better job but has failed in reaching its goal of eradicating racism. “In order to get beyond racism we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat someone equally, we must first treat them differently. “

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