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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...

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