Affirmative Action and Racial Equality
(1) Issue Identification
Many individuals do not know the meaning of the term “affirmative action.” In order to clearly understand the issue, one must first know the necessary terms associated with it. Affirmative action is a term given to an action or policy favoring those who tend to suffer from discrimination (i.e. African Americans, Asians, etc.). For example, certain scholarships for African Americans can be regarded as affirmative action opportunities. Another example of affirmative action could be an institutional program designed for African Americans. So why is it important? Affirmative action policies and programs are designed to insure that qualified individuals of minority groups have equal access to programs and are “to par” with other individuals of the same merit. Please note that I said qualified and of the same merit. Affirmative action does not place individuals in minority groups at an advantage. This is a common misconception by some people. Affirmative action can be seen in the college admission process, the promotion process for higher-level positions, and in other various areas. The goal is to
advance and promote equality through the policies. Please note that affirmative action was never meant to be an instant cure to inequality. In contrast, it was meant to promote equality. Many Americans, from all backgrounds, equally support affirmative action as an effective way of advancing equality. This has been shown through obvious differences and data. Without affirmative action, several individuals of minority groups would have disadvantages when it comes to promotions in their jobs, acceptance to medical school, and other areas. What does that mean? Basically, ending affirmative action would crush the dreams and goals of all the individuals of minorities and provide an unfair opportunity that could even be compared to that of the civil rights period. No matter what skin color people have, people share similar dreams. With affirmative action, we have come a long way. However, we still see a strong need for it as discrimination still exists everywhere.
(2) Evolution of the Controversy
Furthermore, the root of affirmative action in the quest to promote equality can date back all the ways to 1961. In 1961, racism and discrimination were evident all throughout the United
States. However in 1961, President John F. Kennedy first introduced the concept of affirmative action in executive order 10925. Later, it was enforced by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 as he issued executive order 11246 which gave the Secretary of Labor responsibility for administration and enforcement of the order mandating that contractors not discriminate against any employees or qualified applicants because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Later, in 1967, he even amended it to include gender! President Johnson clearly saw the issue of discrimination in the work place and in the...