In the beginning, it seemed simple enough. In 1961, John F. Kennedy, then president of the United States of America, established the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity by executive order. The goal was to curb discrimination by the government and its contractors, who were now required to ?not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin. The Contractor will take affirmative action, to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.? Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 expanded this idea of affirmative action by declaring that ?No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.?
An ideal was established. A vision of people with all kinds of backgrounds taking advantage of equal opportunities and reaching comparable goals in their lives arose. But it soon became apparent that, in order to be able to compete, these people would need the same tools, the same educational background, indeed, the same abilities. The next U.S. president, Lyndon B. Johnson, said it best in his 1965 commencement address at Howard University: ?You do not take a person who for years has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, ?You're free to compete with all the others,? and still justly believe that you have been completely fair. Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of op...
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...or her personality and true skills. A given group of people of the same race, origin, religion and background may be a minority when compared to American ?mainstream? culture, but very much a majority in its own right. To summarize my beliefs, affirmative action is not well implemented at this time because its underlying social ideas and trends are in need of some fundamental changes ? away from assimilation into a unified American culture and more towards recognition, acceptance and support of the unique attributes, talents and even shortcomings of particular groups and the individuals that are part of these groups. We absolutely need to continue providing equal opportunities to all, but we also need to support whatever course minority groups and individuals decide to take and meet that decision with equal approval and acceptance in a truly multicultural society.
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