Affirmative Action

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There are thousands of examples of situations where people of color, white

women, and working class women and men of all races who were previously excluded

from jobs or educational opportunities, or were denied opportunities once admitted, have

gained access through affirmative action. When these policies received executive branch

and judicial support, vast numbers of people of color, white women and men have gained

access they would not otherwise have had. These gains have led to very real changes.

Affirmative action programs have not eliminated racism, nor have they always been

implemented without problems. However, there would be no struggle to roll back the

gains achieved if affirmative action policies were ineffective. Affirmative action is not

about opening opportunities for unqualified individuals, but instead is designed to

increase the number of qualified applicants for employment, no matter what gender or

race they may happen to be.

“ Affirmative action is not about quotas. It’s an attempt to open more

opportunities for women and people of color through aggressive recruitment and outreach

greater access to academic institutions and the work place and not exclude people on the

basis of race or gender (Holhut3). Affirmative action in the employment status consist of

publicizing job notices in places where everyone can see: recruitment: eliminating

discriminatory hiring and setting goals towards increasing opportunities for those that

were previously discriminated against. However, Affirmative action programs not only

take steps for women and minorities, but also disabled veterans, and emotionally and

economically disabled.

Affirmative action measures were established to fight racial discrimination. The

federal government mandated affirmative action programs to redress racial inequality and

injustice in a series of steps beginning with an executive order issued by president

Kennedy in 1961 (Thomas4). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made discrimination illegal

and established equal employment opportunity for all Americans regardless of race,

cultural differences, colo or religion. Subsequent executive orders in particular executive

order11246 issued by President Johnson in September 1965, mandated affirmative action

goals for all federally funded programs and moved monitoring and enforcement of

affirmative action programs out of the White House and into the labor department

(Holhut3). These policies and the government action that followed were a response to

the tremendous mobilization of African Americans and white supporters during the late

1950’s and early 1960’s pushing for integration and racial justice (Kivel2).

An area that affirmative action address is selective hiring programs. Many times

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