Affirmative Action


Discrimination means to make distinctions on the basis of preference or prejudice[i]. Although many laws were established to fight discrimination affirmative action was created to help fix the damage that had been created by the oppression of certain races and sexes. When it came to hiring new employees in companies and the enrollment of students in college a lot of minorities were being discriminated against.


Although slavery ended, in the 1960s there was still evidence of discrimination mainly due to the fact that the amount of unemployment within minorities was higher than the amount of unemployment in majority. Not only was this evidence that discrimination had not ended but this showed that there was a struggle for survival from groups who had been discriminated against in the past. In 1961, the first Executive order was established to fight discrimination. An Executive order usually is established in a time of national crisis when the gravity of a situation cannot wait for congress to pass laws, and when those issues are emotionally charged and the attitudes and action of people are directed against another ethnic group (36 kornegay). At that time their was a struggle for equality and minorities were fighting for a right that they should have already had. The majority felt that what they had already established should stay the way it was. Although slavery had ended the mentality of blacks being a lesser race and of women not being included in the work force still existed and it was the governments duty to help eliminate these stereotypes that had been created by our past.


After the creation of the first executive order against discrimination, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 title V11 was created and it forbade discrimination in " hiring, promotion, transfer, training and pay, among all employers, employment agencies and labor unions engaged in industry effecting commerce (12 Drake and Holsworth). Although this act and executive order was created there was still discrimination occurring. In 1965, the Small Business act was created which required that a certain number of government contracts were reserved for small businesses owned by minorities. Also, in that same year Executive Order 11246 was created and it promoted the hiring of blacks and other minorities by companies/contractors that received government funds. The government had already identified a problem within our system, which affected the productivity of different groups of minorities (mainly blacks due to slavery) this is why these laws were created and amended to the situation at that time. Affirmative action was later created to also aid in the fight against discrimination.


Affirmative action required compliance by employers to set specific numerical targets as an indication of their commitment to nondiscrimination (13 Drake and Holsworth). Affirmative action was supposed to promote the process of hiring or selection regardless of an individuals race, sex, color etc. It was mainly established to promote equal opportunity.


With every new law or idea there are advocates and there are people who will oppose it, this applies to Affirmative Action. As explained in earlier paragraph affirmative action was created to help stop discrimination in conjunction with laws.


Some people who are against Affirmative Action claim that it is reverse discrimination. In a book called Discrimination, Affirmative Action, and Equal Opportunity one person stated " Affirmative steps to eliminate racially discriminatory practices rightly win the assent of all… But when, in the name of affirmative action for racial equality, the deliberately unequal treatment of races is introduced, we suffer from a national epidemic of doublespeak… The very term "affirmative action" has lost its honor and has become, for most, a euphemism for racial preference". Some people feel that affirmative action is a form of reverse discrimination because it is suppose to help hire minorities but, it also stops firms and other organizations from just looking at an individuals skills. Affirmative action makes firms and organizations focus on filling quotas of certain minority groups, which in turn, forces an individual who might be qualified for a position to be turned down due to the fact that they are in the majority. Due to this fact several cases have been presented in court trying to fight affirmative action and none have succeed yet. There are many other reasons