Affirmative Action


Affirmative Action originally began in the United States to remedy the past discrimination against minorities, particularly African-Americans. It was introduced during President Lyndon Johnson’s administration under the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. This legislation, along with an executive order in 1965, helped African Americans by forcing businesses receiving federal funds to stop using aptitude tests and other criteria that tended to discriminate against people of color. Eventually, these laws expanded to incorporate women and other ethnic minorities including American Indians and Hispanics. Laws have also broadened Affirmative Action to public universities as well as businesses. Today Affirmative action is still going strong. It has manyimportant positive aspects, but it also has several negative affects, one of which is “reverse discrimination. The way Affirmative Action works, its meaning and maybe even purpose have changed over the years dramatically.


Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines affirmative action as “an active effort to improve the employment or education opportunities of members of minority groups and women.” Some of the other areas of emphasis are age, religion, and ethnic origin.