Premium Essay

Is Affirmative Action Really Reverse Racism

In: Social Issues

Submitted By mboutte
Words 6948
Pages 28
According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, affirmative action is defined as “an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women” (Miriam). Many people feel that affirmative action is necessary to either counteract injustices or ensure the advancement of certain minorities. There are four justifications generally pointed out by affirmative action exponents. These are racism, poverty, diversity, and the problem of underrepresentation. Supporters point out that many blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans live in substandard housing, go to substandard schools, and live in crime ridden neighborhoods. They also claim that they are targets of daily racism, hindering their chances for advancement. Proponents point to small numbers of these minorities in certain desirable jobs (i.e. CEOs of corporations and high elected office) as evidence of underrepresentation of minorities and a need for diversity both in the workplace and in higher education. There are a number of different levels of affirmative action, including quotas, preferences, and outreach, in lessening order of severity. Quotas, also called “set asides”, deal with having a definite amount of jobs or college spots reserved for a particular group. For example, if a university admits 1000 students every year and sets aside 150 seats that are open to blacks only, this is considered a quota. A perfect illustration of a quota would be the 1977 Supreme Court case Bakke v Regents of the University of California, in which the court ruled that these quotas could not be used by the system but that race could be considered a plus in admissions to the medical school. This brings us to preferences. Preferences are when persons from certain groups (usually groups that have been underrepresented or disadvantaged) are given a ‘boost' in admissions. An example of…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

..."Affirmative Action" was initiated in the early 1960's by President John F. Kennedy in an attempt to improve employment and educational opportunities for people belonging to a minority population ("Affirmative Action"). After the assassination of JFK, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. This act started a wave of affirmative action that would later impact every American opportunity ("Civil Rights Act"). At the end of the decade businesses across America were enforcing provisions set forth by the Civil Rights Act, along with other legal enforcements that assisted minority groups of race, disability, gender, ethnicity and age. Though he was against the idea of meeting quotas in the workplace, President Richard Nixon in 1969 used the city of Philadelphia as a test when he "required federal contractors to show "affirmative action" to meet the goals of increasing minority employment" (Brunner). The quotas also found a way into the federally funded educational institutions as by this time numerous regulations had been initiated insisting the entrance of minority group members (Eisaguirre 2). While there were many supporters of affirmative action who saw this as the only way to change the historically discriminative American society, many others saw a trend of reverse discrimination in the nation (Eisaguirre 3). Although I believe that the plan of affirmative action has been beneficial to attain equal rights in our society, I don't think that these ideas......

Words: 1962 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...Affirmative Action 1 Affirmative Action: It is Time for More Action Rasmussen College English Composition Patty Klugg September 9, 2009 Affirmative Action 2 Affirmative Action: It is Time for More Action According to a 1997 Gallup Poll whites believe that affirmative action has worked much better than it has. 79% of whites believe that African Americans have equal chance of getting a job as whites; only 46% of African Americans agree. 44% of both groups believe whites are racist. Out of both groups polled 62% claim to hold little or no prejudices. These statistics show that there is a lot to be done in the way of educating the American people on affirmative action and equal rights in the workplace. Affirmative Action has failed in delivering equal rights in work place. (2007, Affirmative Action Setbacks) Affirmative Action was originally created to generate more and better opportunities for minority workers. In response to the civil rights movements of the 50’s and 60’s President Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925. Later President Johnson issued executive orders that were much more extensive that required government contractors to act affirmatively to desegregate the formerly all-white, or all male, job categories in their workplaces. Later education also became part of the affirmative action programs. It is not a surprise that in the last 30 years little progress has been made, since it was......

Words: 1457 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...AFFIRMATIVE ACTION--MORAL COMPENSATION OR REVERSE DISCRIMINATION? For forty years the issue of affirmative action has been subject to a tremendous amount of debate and controversy. When President Kennedy proposed the idea of preferential treatment in 1961, the nation was in the midst of radical changes regarding civil liberties. It was a time when the injustices imposed upon minorities were beginning to be recognized, and people wanted to make up for the years of oppression that served as a barrier for the advancement of minorities in America. At the time, the idea was morally justified and socially appropriate. While it is still a morally commendable effort today, the system has become an attempt to atone for the sins of our country's past, and a double standard that threatens every citizen's liberties. The first problem with affirmative action is the obvious fact that it is an attempt to end discrimination with discrimination. When a company or university discriminates against a white male for the sake of bettering the outcome of another racial group, an injustice occurs. Affirmative action is the governmental legislation of the active discrimination of one person over another an unacceptable and dangerous double standard. Secondly, affirmative action seeks to reconcile the injustices of the past. The horrible atrocities of the past, including slavery and the refusal to grant women and minorities the right to vote, cast an ugly shadow on the history of our nation. But......

Words: 1404 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...Many have argued over the years that affirmative action in schools or the workforce is necessary for the fusion and equality of our culture. In the book, Taking Sides, two different authors discuss each view of either side of the issue. Affirmative Action began as a government policy to aid in ending racial discrimination and promote equal opportunities to minorities. Both Robert Staples and Roger Clegg have a solid view of where they stand on the issue of affirmative action. Staples agrees that affirmative action is necessary to achieve racial equality. He does not believe that the United States has reached the point of being a color-blind society. Staples sees racism still being present in our modern society. Staples argues that the argument against affirmative action is only a plot to keep the white men at their privileged status at the expense of the minorities. Staples points out affirmative action is not a program used exclusively by blacks. White women are often the primary beneficiaries. Also, he recognizes that minorities, specifically blacks, are still being treated unfairly and unequally. Staples argues that there is no clear definition for Affirmative Action. It tends to be interpreted differently by many people. It has been estimated that five million people of color have gotten their jobs due to affirmative action. His stance on the issue of affirmative action is that it is the fairest way to include everyone to an equal opportunity, whether it is in the......

Words: 1205 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...Affirmative Action July 2007 Abstract Affirmative action, in the United States, programs to overcome the effects of past societal discrimination by allocating jobs and resources to members of specific groups, such as minorities and women. The policy was implemented by federal agencies enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and two executive orders, which provided that government contractors and educational institutions receiving federal funds develop such programs. The Equal Employment Opportunities Act (1972) set up a commission to enforce such plans. Affirmative Action was evolved from the civil rights era, 1950’s through 1960 when African Americans fought to live as normal human beings. Dr. Martin Luther King, NAACP, and other black organizations fought racism by marches, rallies, and sit-ins. Despite the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and other great activists, schools, universities, and public facilities were racially integrated. This was the time when Affirmative Action came into play, a century after the abolishment of slavery, United States finally after a Century began to address racism. President Kennedy was given credit for enacting important laws; Executive Order 10925 in 1961, which stated that Government contractors had to take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed without regard to race, creed, color or national origin. President Kennedy was pressured by civil rights movements to enact Affirmative Action. ......

Words: 1211 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...1. Affirmative Action in the U.S. was designed to counteract the lingering effects of generations of past discrimination as an effort to improve the employment and educational opportunities of women and members of minority groups through preferential treatment in job hiring, college admissions, the awarding of government contracts, and the allocation of other social benefits. Race, sex, ethnic origin, religion, disability, and age are the main criteria for inclusion in affirmative action programs. Affirmative action was initially embark at the federal level following the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1978, 1995 and 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court placed limitations on affirmative action programs as various rulings imposed further restrictions. In 1996, Proposition 209 in California prohibited government agencies and institutions from upholding affirmative action as race could not be the preeminent factor. (Affirmative Action, 2013) 2. Reverse discrimination is the unfair treatment of members of majority groups resulting from preferential policies, as in college admissions or employment, intended to remedy earlier discrimination against minorities. (Reverse Discrimination, 2013) 3. Comparable Worth is the concept that women and men should receive equal pay for jobs calling for comparable skill and responsibility. The first knows use of comparable worth was in 1983. (Comparable Worth, 2013) 4. I feel that the Affirmative Action concept is an appropriate form of......

Words: 818 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Affirmative Action

...History of Affirmative Action Human Resources Research Paper BUSI 526 Section D October 30, 2010 Aurelia Mouton Abstract Affirmative action has a relatively short history in the United States. The idea of affirmative action begin to come into play in 1961 when politicians and Presidents alike believed that there needed to be a way to rectify the previous injustices dealt to the minority community in regards to workplace. The text mentions that affirmative action uses “numerical analysis to determine which (if any) target groups the firm is underutilizing relative to the relevant labor market” (Dessler, 2011, 60) and that affirmative action was put into place to eliminate barriers to equal employment. This may be true but from its’ very inception, affirmative action has been met with resistance. History of Affirmative Action Affirmative action has seemed to find its way into the lives of many. It was originally created to make employment opportunities and practices fair for people that were non-white U.S. citizens but has since grown and evolved into much more. The beginning concept of affirmative action was to make right the many years that African Americans were bound because of slavery, discrimination after the abolition of slavery and lack of education that prevented many of them from getting decent jobs. Many positive things can be said about affirmative action when it works; however there are many people that fight against it because......

Words: 1744 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...Question: 1. evaluate the contemporary strategy of affirmative action for minorities to bring about more fairness in hiring and promotion practices. The contemporary affirmative action policies really started in 1954 with the Brown vs Board of Education case that decided that separation of races inherently led to unequal treatment. This decision was followed by numerous acts or orders over the next 13 years. 1961 Saw executive order 10925 by John F. Kennedy, which required federal contractors to hire without regard to race color or national origin. In 1963 the equal pay act was passed which was meant to reduce wage discrimination for women. The 1964 Civil rights act (amended by EEOA in 1972) which prohibits all forms of discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion or nation origin. And in 1967 (amended 1978) the Age discrimination act, and the Americans with disabilities act of 1990, which extends to people with disabilities the same rights to equal employment opportunities as the 1964 civil rights act guarantees to women and minorities. All of the acts and orders mentioned before are enforced through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (Shaw & Barry 2013 p555-556). The net effect of the above mentioned acts and orders have been to create equal employment and pay for all races, colors, religions, sexes, and national origin. These laws seem to have a very sound ethical background. The two ethical theories I am going to use to justify the......

Words: 790 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...Affirmative Action Affirmative action: these words mean different things to different people. To some, it is seen as a way to make the playing field equal. While others feel it is a tool used to cause reverse discrimination and continues prejudices. Affirmative action was introduced at a time when our country was trying to furnish equality for all. This was only supposed to temporary to bring equality into the areas that it was lacking. Four decades later, the temporary solution is still used and has in the most part failed to bring out the intended equality. Affirmative action does not properly address past racial discrimination. Instead, it contributes to the racial animosity in our country as the focus of hiring employees is not because of the abilities the candidates possess but for the sake of filling a quota. Affirmative action was created during the liberal age of Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency. Executive order 11246 was fully formed on September 24th, 1965. This executive order set up a division in the Labor Department to monitor affirmative action more closely than the staff at the White House could control(Lemann, 1995, p.144). The initial order was only written to resolve racial discrimination, gender discrimination was put into the order at a later date. (Lemann) Affirmative Action has continued prejudices between the American people. It is unfair to the majority group for the government to correct past prejudice by using discrimination. Discriminating......

Words: 1620 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Affirmative Action

... THE HISTORY OF AFFRIMATIVE ACTION COLUMBIA COLLEGE Karla Reed Thomas Mae Hicks Jones, Instructor February 28, 2014 Abstract Affirmative action has been deemed as one of the most ground breaking accomplishments of the Civil Right Movement. Affirmative action has allowed a lot of children to be able to pursue dreams that they never thought would permissible. Racial discrimination has been an ever going trend here in the United States and in other countries for hundreds of years. Women and minorities are some of the leading people in this world who suffer the most from racial discrimination. By implementing affirmative action in all areas of our lives this world would come together and allow people to get to know people they wouldn’t have known because of the color division in this country. Students who are start at a disadvantage in school are given a boost to succeed with affirmative action. Affirmative action creates diversity in the workplace and in society. Affirmative action is needed to break stereotypes. Affirmative action is not reverse discrimination. A society can be color blind if they would learn how to base their decisions on character and not on color or gender. Affirmative action does not help a disqualified person move up in life if they do not have the skills need for the job they are doing. Introduction Racial discrimination has been around for thousands of years and the time came for some...

Words: 2047 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...Unit 1 Individual Project Danielle Pashayan Cultural Diversity Briarcliffe College Affirmative action generally means giving special or preferred treatment to minorities in terms of jobs, housing, and school admissions. This also includes the monitoring of government handled locations to ensure that there is no discrimination (“Affirmative Action,” 2001). According to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, the term “affirmative action” was first used by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. He signed an executive order stating that applicants, as well as those already employed, be treated equally, without regard to race, color or nation of origin. This was then revised in 1965 by Lyndon B. Johnson to include gender (2002). 50 years later, these orders are still in place. However, there is a very wide spread debate on whether or not they should still be applicable. When these orders were put into place, they were meant to be the first step toward breaking down the barriers between the majorities and minorities. One of the biggest accomplishments of affirmative action was the ability to now give the disadvantaged an equal chance compared someone who was not. On an academic level, it gave poorer, inner city kids the opportunity to go to college and break the mold. For many, this meant being the first in the family to even have the opportunity to go to college (Messerli, 2012). Another contribution was the increase in diversity. Women were now given the chance to......

Words: 788 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...“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......

Words: 3395 - Pages: 14

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...  Affirmative action is public policy, which has been discussed for the last 50 years, and in those 50 years no common consensus has been arrived at in the country. On one side of the issue we have those who believe affirmative actions is required to not only right the wrongs of the past generations but to also allow minorities to become more productive members of society that these people believe they would be otherwise. On the other side of the spectrum are those who believe there should be no affirmative action and instead everyone should be treated the same regardless of their race, color, sex or any other identifying features used in affirmative action. In full disclosure I tend to be of this second mind set myself, but I will do my best to present both sides of the issue without bias. The story of affirmative action while much older than 50 years in concept it was not until Executive order 10925 issued by John F. Kennedy on 6 March 1961 the debate truly started over the issue of affirmative action. Throughout the rest of the 60’s the three different Presidents worked to take the idea of JFK to the logical conclusion of truly instituting affirmative action. There were speeches given and executive orders signed all designed to further the idea of affirmative action. The largest single act taken at the time to further this cause was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act forbids the act of discrimination of any type based on race, color, religion or a person’s......

Words: 3573 - Pages: 15

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...Affirmative Action By Holly R. Allen 5.29.2010 HRM/240 “Affirmative action” means positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded. When those steps involve preferential selection—selection on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity—affirmative action generates intense controversy. In 1972, affirmative action became an inflammatory public issue. True enough, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 already had made something called “affirmative action” a remedy federal courts could impose on violators of the Act. Likewise, after 1965 federal contractors had been subject to President Lyndon Johnson's Executive Order 11246, requiring them to take “affirmative action” to make sure they were not discriminating. Your company should hire people based on talent, experience, skill level for the job they are applying for. Your hiring shouldn’t be based on if the man or woman is black, white, mexican, asian or some other race or ethinicity. A person should be able to go apply for a job and not have to worry if they are being discriminated against. If they have all the training and experience to do the job correctly and you say, no we cant hire you at this time and you don’t give them a good answer of why they werent considered for the job, this can cause a load of problems and could even lead to lawsuits. If a......

Words: 806 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Affirmative Action

...Affirmative Action Affirmative action is wrong and will not help solve the problems minorities face. The reason it is wrong is because it's discrimination. It has no place in today's society in today's society because it does more bad than good. In addition to that most people don't enjoy the presence of affirmative action. Also, it appears that affirmative action can actually be detrimental to employees health. First of all, affirmative action is discrimination, there is no hiding it. When an employer hires anyone because he or she is a minority, even if someone else if more qualified to do the job, it is discrimination. Just because it is reverse discrimination, when whites are discriminated against and minorities are being discriminated for, doesn't make it right. Affirmative action legalizes discrimination (Steele 1990, 39). "I thought discrimination was illegal in this country (Buchanan 1995, 1)." Also, if this discrimination continues racism in the United States may become worse. Imagine what you would feel like if you couldn't get a job just because you are a white man and not a hispanic man. The racism will become worse because of it, and that is the very thing it is trying to prevent. It is possible that because of affirmative action, racism will grow and continue to grow until we history repeats itself and we end up living under Jim Crow laws again. That is an extr! eme possibility to end up under Jim Crow laws again, but it is a definite......

Words: 1057 - Pages: 5