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Affirmative Action Essay

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After the United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, it
became apparent that certain business traditions, such as seniority status and
aptitude tests, prevented total equality in employment. Then President, Lyndon
B. Johnson, decided something needed to be done to remedy these flaws. On
September 24, 1965, he issued Executive Order #11246 at Howard University that
required federal contractors “to take Affirmative Action to ensure that
applicants are employed . . . without regard to their race, creed, color, or
national origin (Civil Rights).” With the signing of that order, and without
knowing it, President Johnson created reverse discrimination.

     Affirmative Action was created in an effort to help minorities leap the
discriminative barriers that were ever so present when the bill was first
enacted, in 1965. At this time, the country was in the wake of nationwide civil-
rights demonstrations, and racial tension was at an all time high. Most of the
corporate executive and managerial positions were occupied by White Males, who
controlled the hiring and firing of employees. The U.S. government, in 1965,
believed that these employers were discriminating against Minorities and
believed that there was no better time than the present to bring about change.
This action, that started with good intentions, would later lead to a different
and more complex form of discrimination.

     When the Civil Rights Law passed, Minorities, especially African-
Americans, believed that they should receive retribution for the earlier years
of discrimination they endured. The government responded by passing laws to
aide them in attaining better employment as reprieve for the previous two
hundred years of suffering their race endured at the hands of the White Man. To
many people the passing of these laws was an effort in the right direction.
Supporters of Affirmative Action asked, ”why not let the government help them
get better jobs?” After all, the White Man was responsible for their suffering.
While this may all be true, there is another question to be asked. Are we truly
responsible for the years of persecution that the African Americans and other
Minorities were submitted to? I am not so sure.

      It is true that past generations of White Men are p...


... middle of paper ...


..., and other
policies benefiting families with young children. Widely supported programs
that promote the interests of both lower and middle class Americans that deliver
benefits to Minorities and Whites on the basis of their economic status, and not
their race or ethnicity, will do more to reduce Minority poverty than the
current, narrowly based, poorly supported policies that single out Minority
groups. However, if this, or another remedy is not taken sometime in the near
future, and Affirmative Action continues to separate Minority groups from Whites,
we can be sure to see racial tension reach points that our history has never
seen.

Works Cited

“Affirmative Action at the University of California at Berkeley” Online.
http://pwa.acusd.edu/~e_cook/ucb-95.html

“Civil Rights” Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. (1996).
[Computer Program] SoftKey Multimedia International Corporation.

United States. Commission on Civil Rights. Affirmative Action in the 1980's:
Dismantling the Process of Discrimination. Washington: 1981.
United States. Nebraska Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on
Civil Rights. Private Sector Affirmative Action: Omaha. Washington: 1979.


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