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affirmative action Essay

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     Affirmative action is an attempt by the United States to amend a long history of racial discrimination and injustice. Our school textbook defines affirmative action as “a program established that attempts to improve the chances of minority applicants for educational or employment purposes, although they may have the same qualifications, by giving them leverage so that they can attain a level that is equal to caucasian applicants” (Berman 522). There are people that support and oppose this issue. Opponents of affirmative action have many reasons for opposing this issue, one of them being that the battle for equal rights is over, and that this advantage made for people of color discriminates against people that are not of color. The people that defend affirmative action argue this advantage is needed because of how badly discriminated the people of color once were. Because of the discrimination that once was these people claim that they are at a disadvantage, and always have been, therefore equality of opportunity is needed. It is also said that affirmative action is used to encourage diversity and integration. This paper will discuss the history of affirmative action, how it is implemented in society today, and evaluate the arguments that it presents.
     In order to discuss how affirmative action was put into legislation, we must review the history of black americans and slavery. America’s Declaration of Independence stated that “all men were created equal,” but under the Constitution blacks were not created equal because first of all, they were not American citizens; they were considered to be property. This is seen in the Dred Scott v. Sanford case (1857) when Dred Scott, a slave is taken by his master to settle into other free states and back into the state of Missouri (not a free state). When his master died, he claimed to be free because he had lived in states where slavery was illegal. This case went to the Supreme Court, where it was ruled that Scott could not sue because he was not a citizen (Berman 508).
     Slavery was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, but blacks, other minorities, and women continued to be deprived of the right of citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868, making blacks citizens and promised them the "equal protectio...


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... admissions although many people do support it and use it as an advantage. Although affirmative action is used to give people a greater opportunity, it has been seen that it has been used in unjust ways. This is what the government hopes to omit.

Works Cited

Artze, Isis. “College Find New Ways to Diversify.” Hispanic. (2001): 64.
Berman, Larry, and Murphy, Bruce Allen. Approaching Democracy. New Jersey: Prentice Hall,      2001.
Bergmann, Barbara R. In Defense of Affirmative Action. New York: Basic Books, 1996.

Eastland, Terry. Ending Affirmative Action. New York: Basic Books, 1996.

“Excerpts From Clinton Talk on Affirmative Action.” Editorial. New York Times 20 July           1995:A9.
Gose, Ben, and Schmidt, Peter. “Ruling Against Affirmative Action Could Alter Legal           Debate and Admissions Practices.” Chronicle of Higher Education. (2001): 36.
Stonecipher, Harry C. A Place to stand. 21 Debated Issues in American Politics. New Jersey:           Prentice Hall, 2000.
     


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