History of Affirmative Action Essay

Updated May 6, 2022

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History of Affirmative Action Essay essay

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Affirmative action was first created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to prevent discrimination and promote equality within society. The policy was placed by the government to help make employment, educational, and business opportunities more attainable to those historically disadvantaged due to their race, religion, or gender, as well as other factors. This policy has not been without controversy. Many people believe that this policy causes people to view the minority or lower classes to be less qualified and given special treatment, causing the loss of respect from their peers. At the time this law made sense

In 1967, President Johnson expanded the policy of affirmative action to include the protection of Caucasian women. This group has overwhelmingly received the most benefits for this policy. According to the Department of Labor, six million Caucasian women are employed in higher leadership positions than any other group under affirmative action. Other groups under affirmative action have also gained in the same field, the number of executives of color have grown within companies in the past ten years, but these numbers are not even close to how Caucasian women have benefited (Daniels, 2014).

The affirmative action policy is used to benefit members protected under the policy during a tie-breaker between two equally-qualified candidates for a position within a workplace or school. Mike Reilly, the executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, stated that institutions should use non-race factors first to determine the qualification of a student. Non-race factors could include merit-based qualifications like grades and extracurricular activities. After using non-race factors options, institutions can add race as a factor to ensure that a student body “represents a broad range of characteristics” (Rozen, 2018).

Affirmative action has been under a lot of controversies for many years. The biggest argument against affirmative action is that it is an outdated policy that was established at a time where racial inequality was at its highest. Nowadays, affirmative action causes the formation of reverse discrimination by favoring one group over another, based on racial preference rather than academic achievement. Another argument against affirmative action is that the policy does not necessarily help economically disadvantaged students. A study by the Hoover Institution found that affirmative action tends to benefit middle- and upper-class minorities, even though the premise of affirmative action is to give an opportunity to people who are facing disadvantages (Bautsch, (2014)).

Many institutions stress the idea that affirmative action creates diversity within the environment, but people argue why is diversity only associated with race or gender, not unusual characteristics. This ideology assumes that only minorities can add certain ideas or perspectives to a learning or working environment (Stanford, 1996).

I will say that I am a Caucasian male, so I have never experienced the effects of affirmative action; however, I personally don’t see the benefits of affirmative action. I believe that affirmative action at its time was a great policy to develop racial equality, but I do see that affirmative action is beginning to strengthen stereotypes within the hiring and admirative process. The best example of this idea in action is the Harvard University admissions trial, where Harvard is being accused of discriminator actions against Asian-American applicants. The applicants argued that the school considers race too much, forcing Asian-Americans to meet a higher bar to get in. While the U.S. Asian population is 5.8% Harvard’s Class of 2021 is 22.2% Asian.

A different policy that we should consider instead of a race-based affirmative action is to consider class barriers that an applicant had to overcome. This policy was proposed by Sheryll Cashin. She believed that affirmative action is to focus on the idea of race and gender and lost focus on the premise of helping disadvantaged individuals that are looking for a better opportunity. This allows for students within low-class communities that are limited by funding for their schools a better chance to improve their outcome. (Roach, 2014).

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History of Affirmative Action Essay. (2022, May 06). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/history-of-affirmative-action-essay/


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