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Affirmative Action Essay

1016 words - 4 pages


Affirmative Action is any effort taken to expand opportunity for women or racial, ethnic and national origin minorities by using membership in those groups that have been subject to discrimination as a consideration. The Fourteenth Amendment states that no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. As a result, Affirmative action is not consistent with the Fourteenth Amendment. In this essay, I will first discuss the violation of Affirmative Action against the Fourteenth Amendment. Second, how Affirmative Action helps one group of people while leaving out the other groups of people.
     Affirmative Action has occurred in several cases throughout the Americans history and the case that I will be referring to is Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. This case presents a challenge to the special admissions program of the Medical School of the University of California at Davis, which is designed to assure the admission of a specified number of students from certain minority groups (253). In 1973 and 1974, Allan Bakke, a white male, who applied twice to the Medical School of the University of California at Davis, was rejected even though his grade point average and MCAT scores were higher than most of the applicants. With the fact that applicants that were admitted with the special admissions program had lower scores, Bakke alleged that the Medical School’s special admissions program operated to exclude him from the school on the basis of his race (258). This, he stated, violates his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Equal Protection Clause states that “No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The guarantee of equal protection cannot mean one thing when applied to one individual and something else when applied to a person of another color. If both are not accorded the same protection, then it is not equal (260). If everybody is guaranteed the same protection under the Constitution, then no one should be treated differently at the University. Hence, Affirmative Action violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
     To relate the idea that race is not the main problem and that everyone’s rights is protected under equal protection, the case of Plessy v, Ferguson fits into the category. In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, a Louisiana statute, passed in 1890, made it legal for railway companies carrying passengers in the state to “provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races.” Homer Plessy, a man of mixed ancestry, refused to surrender his seat in a white compartment of a railway car and was subsequently arrested for violation of the statute. What...

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