Affirmative action is an attempt to correct unequal distribution of benefits (status, income and wealth, power and authority), and burdens associated with ethnic and gender differences. Affirmative action has been promoted by the Federal government since the mid 1960's, when president Lyndon B. Johnson ordered federal contractors to adopt affirmative action plans. (Congress and the Nation, 748). This paper will focus on the relevance of affirmative action in the American society.
It is important to acknowledge the truth of affirmative action's main claim: historically, African Americans and women have been victims of discrimination. Theoretically speaking, African Americans enjoy the same citizenship rights and protections as white Americans. While ground has been gained, the reality is that discrimination and racism are still very much a part of American culture and institutional practice. For instance, during the 19th century, women were barred from many professions like doctor, lawyer, etc. Predominantly, these positions were for white males. Women were in a crucial position because upon marriage, they often lost title to whatever pittance they were allowed to earn! (McElroy, 1 of 2). We must remember that affirmative action was established to address the continuing, real problems of discrimination. Minorities and women remain economically disadvantaged. The black unemployment rate for instance remains more than twice the white unemployment rate (Do Racial preferences count, 1 of 2).
In the United states, affirmative action has been a hot debate for quite a while. There have been both positive and negative thoughts concerning
affirmative action in the American society....
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...nthropoloty Newsletter. Sept. 1998: 3.
* Anderson, N. Charles. "Do Racial Preferences Help?: Affirmative Action Rights wrongs, Aids Economy." Detroit News. 25 Jan. 1998: 4-5B.
* O'Connor, Preimesberger, & Tarr (eds.). Congress and the Nation: A Review of Government and Politics. Vol. IX, 1993-1996. Washington DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc. 1998.
* De Han, Martin. Negative Aspects of Affirmative Action. October 1999. http://www.sru.edu/depts/cisba/comm/awalters/smgr/marteen/maxhpneg.htm.
* Singer, Peter. Practical Ethics 2nd edition. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1993.
* The Civil Rights Project. Harvard University. October 1999. http://www.law.harvard.edu/groups/civilrights/publications/index.html.
* McElroy, Wendy. What Does Affirmative Action Affirm? October 1999. http://www.zetetics.com/mac/affirm.htm.
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