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Affirmative Action

Essay by   •  September 8, 2010  •  2,879 Words (12 Pages)  •  1,459 Views

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When people talk about the civil rights movement, the first thing that comes to mind is the famous speech "I have a dream" by Martin Luther King. His dream in short was to have equality among human beings. For the past thirty years, this country has been revolutionizing humanitarianism because there is greater concern for human welfare than one hundred years ago. The revolution began during the 1960's, and during that era this country was drastically involved in changing the civil rights of minority groups. From this concern, a program called affirmative action evolved. Like other civil right movements, the affirmative action movement was implemented to promote equality.

Like some Americans, I am strangely confused when anyone talks about affirmative action. The reason that I have such confusion is the way people word the term affirmative action. If you ask one person who is in favor of affirmative action, his or her response is going to be different from someone who is against it. So when I am asked what I think about affirmative action, my answer seems to be twisted because I really don't know what affirmative action is. The only exposure I have had to the term affirmative action is that which is taught in the classroom. Since this was such a controversial subject, the scope was very narrow, mostly terms. My key understanding is that of a definition, which I can hardly recall. I don't know whether affirmative action is a law or if it is a subset of a bunch of different laws that were passed during the civil rights movement. I am also unaware if people protected under this program like the special treatment if there is any.

My attempts to answer the question of what I think I know start with the idea that since affirmative action evolved from the civil rights movement, its aim is to protect certain minority groups as well as women. I think that the idea is used in a business context because there are other discriminatory laws in place to protect outside of work. I can remember from past schooling that there was a Supreme Court case that a white male sued a school institution because he was anti discriminated against because the school had a affirmative action program in place.

I would like to know exactly what affirmative action is and then decide a stance on whether I support or oppose the use of affirmative action programs. The main reason that I want to know this is because I am a white male and I need to know if I am just competing with other job applicannot

s or with the government. As soon as I graduate from college I want to know what I am up against when I apply for a job. Lets suppose that I go out and apply for a job, and get into a finial interview because I along with one other person was the most qualified. However, after that last interview my employment possibilities are rejected because the company has to hire a woman to meet some status set by the government. This is why I want to know this. The second and less serious reason that I want a stance on affirmative action is because it makes good conversation at tea parties and business gatherings.

My research began when I caught the last two minutes of a television program aired on TLC. During that last two minutes I heard a brief testimony of a white American man that was outraged because he had to hire a less qualified person because of the affirmative action policy. At that point I knew that I had to know about this affirmative action. That night I turned on my computer and started searching the web for this affirmative action policy. My search started on yahoo.com where I typed affirmative action in the search box. My search produced 77 different site matches that listed the term affirmative action in the title. I started finding out what affirmative action was; however none of the sites published information against affirmative action. I did however find an article from the Washington Post, which stated that there was a debate of affirmative action: "Angry white men blame affirmative action for robbing them of promotions and other opportunities" (Foomkin). So this got me in a mind set that maybe white American men are discriminated against. My research led me to go to a to find the historical events of the implementation of affirmative action and what it was. Because I could not find that much information about the opposition of affirmative action, I knew that I had too go to the library. While I was down at Metro, I found only one library book about business ethics, which had only a short chapter about affirmative action. I knew that wasn't enough, so I went to the Jefferson County library where I found a book about the end of affirmative action. The interview was the last step and I knew that it would be hard. I took a different approach to the interview. Instead of interviewing a white male, I decided to interview an African American to determine their viewpoint on affirmative action.

What is affirmative action actually? According to The American Heritage College Dictionary, the term affirmative action refers to a policy or program that seeks to redress past discrimination by increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups. In 1954 the Supreme Court decided in the case of Brown v. Board of Education that segregating schooling based upon race was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court rejected the older doctrine that stated that separate but equal institutions were legally acceptable (Shaw and Berry, 416). The decision by the Supreme Court to eliminate segregation helped launch the civil rights movement in this country. In 1961 President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925 which stated

the contractor will not discriminate against any employee or applicannot

for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin. The contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicannot

s are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin. Such action shall include, but not be limited to, the following: employment, upgrading, demotion or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; layoff or termination; rates of pay or other forms of compensation; and selection for training, including apprenticeship. (Parker)

Following the Executive order the Civil Rights Act was passed, including Title VII that prohibits employment discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Within one year, another Executive Order was developed and delivered by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. Executive Order 11246 instructed contractors to develop positive action, aimed at undoing the grossest inequities of

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