Affirmative Action

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The first website, http://www.infoplease.com/spot/affirmative1.html, discussed the history and 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 a method of redressing discrimination that continued even with the civil rights laws and constitutional guarantees. Affirmative action was enforced for the first time on September 24, 1965. The focus of this policy was to make sure active measures were being taken to give blacks and other minorities the same opportunities for promotions, raises, scholarships, school admissions and financial aid that whites enjoyed. Initially, this policy was to be temporary until the playing field was level for all Americans.
     In the late 70s, flaws of the policy were becoming evident in the course of its good intentions. Reverse discrimination was becoming an issue, such as the Bakke case. A medical school rejected Allan Bakke, a white male, two years in a row. The school had accepted less qualified minority applicants instead. They had a separate admissions policy for minorities, reserving 16 out of 100 places. The Supreme Court banned inflexible quota systems in connection with affirmative action programs.
     A backlash by angry white men began to mount against affirmative action. To conservatives, the system opened doors for jobs, promotions or education for minorities while shutting it for whites. Needless to say, the debate over affirmative action has grown more cloudy and difficult, as society has come to realize its complexity.
     The second website, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/affirm/affirm.htm, discussed what affirmative action is. It was put into law three decades ago to give minorities and women special consideration in employment and education. Generally, goals and timetables are set within the institution for increased diversity. With today’s form of affirmative action, an admissions officer faced with two equally qualified applications can choose the minority over the white or a manager can hire a women instead of a man. These decisions are not to be made based on quotas, give preferential treatment to unqualified candidates, nor harm anyone due to reverse discrimination.

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     In 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 many minorities and women, who support affirmative action, feel the benefits are no longer worth its side effect of the perception that their success is unearned.

Brunner, Borgna. Bakke and Beyond.


Froomkin, Dan. Affirmative Action Under Attack. October 1998.
< http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/affirm/affirm.htm


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