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Affirmative action was initiated during President Lyndon Johnson's term as a government remedy to the effects of long-standing discrimination against minorities ("Affirmative Action" par. 4). The use of racial quotas and minority set-asides led to court challenges of affirmative action as a form of reverse discrimination. It became a kind of quota system and had created a new racism in America. The controversy over affirmative action seems to pose a choice between two alternatives that have become a part of major debate.
Racial minorities are no longer disadvantaged, considering most young people applying for jobs and colleges today were not even born when legal segregation ended. With this, Americans deserve equal opportunities with the idea that hard work and merit, not race or birthright, should determine who prospers and who does not. However, the fault in special admissions programs is that they will use skin color as a more important factor than academic and personal merit. Those who deserve advancement may not receive it, due to affirmative action and its counterpart, reverse discrimination.
Preferences on applications tend to reward the advantaged members of minorities while hurting disadvantaged members of the majority groups (Kaufman par. 4). These preferences have marked minorities as inferior since they may be seen to succeed not through merit but through gift. Some fear that this has encouraged racial and ethnic identities as a means to win social services, dividing rather than uniting the nation.
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