The Influence of Attitudes on Race-based Affirmative Action

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The Influence of Attitudes on Race-based Affirmative Action

Abstract

President John F. Kennedy proposed the first major legislation to combat discrimination in the workplace, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which led to President Clinton’s Affirmative Action legislation in 1996. This legislation was based upon existent prejudices within the workforce and was aimed to correct past inequities as well as present ones. Although American society has advanced a great deal since 1964 and even since Affirmative Action legislation was implemented, basic theories of human behavior assert that individuals will always hold prejudices and practice discrimination. Affirmative action policies have been criticized by nonbeneficiaries who believe that its policies do little to end discrimination and instead create unfair job opportunities for beneficiaries. However, a considerable amount of research has shown that many Americans are in support of affirmative action and that those who are not in support of its policies are simply unaware of how affirmative action truly works.

Discrimination against minorities in the United States has existed for centuries, and each generation makes its own attempt to end this discrimination. The Civil War brought emancipation, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 helped protected groups gain employment, and the Affirmative Action legislation of 1996 completed the gaps left by the Civil Rights Act. Although prejudices in American society have diminished greatly since the Civil War and even since the Civil Rights Act was passed, discrimination is still present within the United States. Because there is no guarantee that employers will hire based solely upon merit and abilities, legislation is necessary to ensure that members of protected groups are not treated unfairly during the hiring and promotional processes. Affirmative action policies help regulate employment opportunities for women and minorities so that they are not robbed of job opportunities because of their status as a woman or minority member. Affirmative action policies act as the babysitters for organizations, and while they may need revision, they are certainly still necessary.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964
While Affirmative Action is a fairly new government policy, its roots lie in the Civil Rights Act of 1964; however, America’s attempt to end discrimin...

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