Affirmative Action

Better Essays
Affirmative action is an attempt by the United States to amend a long history of racial and sexual discrimination. But these days it seems to incite, not ease, the nations internal divisions. Opponents of affirmative action say that the battle for equal rights is over, and that requiring quotas that favor one group over another is un-American. The people that defend it say that the playing field is not level, and that providing advantages for minorities and women is fair considering the discrimination those groups tolerated for years. This paper will discuss the history of affirmative action, how it is implemented in society today, and evaluate the arguments that it presents.

History of Affirmative Action

Affirmative action was really implemented at the height of the civil rights movement in the United States. Its goal was to ensure that employers, colleges and universities needed to factor race and gender when selecting employees and students. “Under affirmative action there would be an active effort to make sure that the workplace and the university included people of all races and both sexes.”(Hanmer 8). Prior to this in the United States, opportunity did not exist for all. Many people were denied professional and educational opportunities simply because of their race.

Affirmative action was to change the way employers hired. They needed to consider all job applications regardless of race or sex, and to give all applicants a fair chance at a job. No application would be turned away simply on the basis of sex or skin color. Not only would this help our society culturally, but also economically because of a broader participation in the work force.

Although affirmative action did include all minorities, it may have never become government policy if it were not for the civil rights movement that began 1950’s. The Civil War had ended slavery nearly a century before, but still many African Americans had never been granted full equality. Many states, particularly the South, passed laws “that were designed to segregate the white and black races and to keep African Americans in an inferior position in society.” (Hamner 21). These laws were called “Jim Crow laws.” Examples of some o...

... middle of paper ... essential in this country. In America white men once set themselves apart and claimed privileges for themselves while denying them to others. Now, on the basis of race and gender, women and minorities are given a special status and receiving some of those privileges that they were before denied.

Works Cited

Hanmer, Trudy J., Affirmative Action: Opportunity For All?. New Jersey: Enslow,1993.

Bergmann, Barbara R., In Defense of Affirmative Action. New York: BasicBooks, 1996.

Jencks, Christopher, et al "" The American Prospect 40 (September-October 1998): 44-53.

Goldman, Alan H., Justice and Reverse Discrimination. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1979.

Rowan, Carl T., The Coming Race War In America. Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1996.

Sowell, Thomas. """," Issues and Views, Spring 1996
Get Access