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Afiirmative Action. Essay

1113 words - 4 pages

Once upon a time, there were two people who went to aninterview for only one job position at the same company. The firstperson attended a prestigious and highly academic university, hadyears of work experience in the field and, in the mind of theemployer, had the potential to make a positive impact on the company'sperformance. The second person was just starting out in the field andseemed to lack the ambition that was visible in his opponent. "Who waschosen for the job?" you ask. Well, if the story took place before1964, the answer would be obvious. However, with the somewhat recentadoption of the social policy known as affirmative action, the answerbecomes unclear. After the United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Actin 1964, it became apparent that certain business traditions, such asseniority status and aptitude tests, prevented total equality inemployment. Then President, Lyndon B. Johnson, decided somethingneeded to be done to remedy these flaws. On September 24, 1965, heissued Executive Order #11246 at Howard University that requiredfederal contractors "to take affirmative action to ensure thatapplicants are employed . . . without regard to their race, creed,color, or national origin (Civil Rights)." When Lyndon Banes Johnsonsigned that order, he enacted one of the most discriminating pieces oflegislature since the Jim Crow Laws were passed. Affirmative action was created in an effort to help minorities leap the discriminative barriers that were ever so present when thebill was first enacted, in 1965. At this time, the country was in thewake of nationwide civil-rights demonstrations, and racial tension wasat its peak. Most of the corporate executive and managerial positionswere occupied by white males, who controlled the hiring and firing ofemployees. The U.S. government, in 1965, believed that these employerswere discriminating against minorities and believed that there was nobetter time than the present to bring about change. When the Civil Rights Law passed, minorities, especiallyAfrican-Americans, believed that they should receive retribution forthe years of discrimination they endured. The government responded bypassing laws to aide them in attaining better employment as reprievefor the previous two hundred years of suffering their race endured atthe hands of the white man. To many, this made sense. Supporters ofaffirmative action asked, "why not let the government help them getbetter jobs?" After all, the white man was responsible for theirsuffering. While this may all be true, there is another question tobe asked. Are we truly responsible for the years of persecution thatthe African Americans were submitted to? Affirmative action supporters make one large assumption when defending the policy. They assume that minority groups want help.This, however, may not always be the case. My experience withminorities has led me to believe that they fought to attain equality,not special treatment. To them, the acceptance of special...

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