Civil Rights: Affirmative Action Essay

1449 words - 6 pages

In today’s society, the pressure to appear politically correct can play a major role in one’s social life. This pressure can even trigger people to support issues that are politically correct, such as affirmative action. Affirmative action is a highly controversial issue in the United States today, it has many supporters and it also has many detractors. This issue can separate many ethnic groups and even turn people of the same racial group against each other. There are many ideas that are thought of as a cure for racial inequality, but none fit the role better than affirmative action.
The roots of affirmative action may be traced back to the early 1960’s, during the Civil Rights Movement. It was in 1961 that President John F. Kennedy issued an Executive Order that first introduced affirmative action. This order included an establishment that government contractors “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated fairly during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” (University of California Irvine) Over the years, there have been many adjustments to affirmative action, but they all reiterated the same general idea. This idea is that there would be equal opportunity for all qualified persons, and to take positive actions in order to ensure there would be equal opportunity for all. (University of California Irvine) Affirmative action has been successful, it has increased the number of recruiting and screening practices by employers, raised employers’ inclination to hire denounced applicants, increased the number of minority or female applicants and employees, and it increased the likelihood that employers will provide training and evaluate the employees. (Holzer and Neumark, 240) All in all, affirmative action will benefit those involved more than it will hurt them, because it provides opportunities for those who may not normally receive an opportunity.
Affirmative action works to eliminate racism, in particular structural and institutional racism. Structural racism entails the normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics that routinely provide whites with advantages while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. (Good) It is a system of hierarchy that is primarily based on white supremacy, which gives white people power over all other races. Structural racism is all around, it is in history, culture, and interconnected with institutions and policies. Institutional racism on the other hand is discriminatory treatment, unfair policies and inequitable opportunities and impacts, based on race, produced and perpetuated by institutions. (Good) Institutional racism occurs when one person in an institution takes on the power of the institution and either promotes or harms other people based on race. Affirmative action works to eliminate these two types of racism, because affirmative action favors equality for all...

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