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What Affirmative Action Is And How It Affects America

2095 words - 8 pages

What Affirmative Action is and How it Affects America

Everyone in America has certain rights today written in a government document called the U.S. Constitution, but who is to say that they are enforced? One could turn on the television, read the newspaper, or listen to the radio only to hear about how someone is treated unfairly due to this evil action referred to as discrimination. Almost everybody in this great country has experienced some form of discrimination be it age, sex, race, or ethnic background. Whose job is it to protect the citizens of America from being treated unfairly? This answer is best defined by two words: Affirmative Action. Interesting questions arise while speaking about this subject such as: What is Affirmative Action and where did it begin? What are some of the positive and negative aspects of this plan and what examples show Affirmative Action working toward its purpose? How does it affect America as a whole? What does the government have to say about it according to the White House Staff Report on Affirmative Action (Is There a Need For it)?
Affirmative Action is, generally speaking, a way to reduce America's discrimination towards minorities and woman. It is comprised of subjects primarily, but not restricted to, equal opportunity in the work force and in education. The government decided to begin the seemingly impossible endeavor of ending discrimination in the United States. Though this dream is unrealized, that is not to say that one day the U.S. will have all of the country's problems solved and Affirmative Action can put us one step closer to that dream. The developers of Affirmative Action had that dream in mind during it beginning in 1964.
Although there is opposition, most political scientists concur that the roots of Affirmative Action can be traced to the Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954. As stated in the "Online Directory of Supreme Court Decisions", the Supreme Court overturned the 'separate but equal' doctrine saying that it violated the fourteenth amendment. The statement 'Affirmative Action' actually originated from president Kennedy:
"The phrase 'affirmative action' was first used in a racial discrimination context in Executive Order No. 10,925 issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. This executive order indicated that federal contractors should take affirmative action to ensure that job applicants and employees are treated 'without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin'(J.F.K.)"(Pasour p.5).

Then in 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed. "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed racial discrimination in public accommodations and by employers, unions, and voting registrars. It also barred discriminatory poll taxes that Afro-Americans were required to pay in order to vote"(de Wit p.1). This act paved the way Affirmative Action. In years to come the citizens of America would cry for Affirmative Action for situations such as: Vietnam...

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