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Affirmative Action in the United States

Autor:   •  November 17, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,542 Words (7 Pages)  •  2,152 Views

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Affirmative action in the United States means giving better treatment to members of specific groups such as minorities, and woman in right of entry to universities or employment in government and businesses. Affirmative action was first introduced by President Kennedy in 1961 to balance discrimination, which still existed despite civil right laws, and constitutional guarantees which were created by President John F Kennedy. Affirmative action is a policy that was not initiated until the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Affirmative action was created to help minorities, and woman who have struggled with civil rights, but it also has backfired in some cases. It is a civil rights act that is effective today, this policy has helped minorities, and woman. It has also lead to problems dealing with reverse discrimination.

Executive Order 10925 makes the first reference to "affirmative action". President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925 in 1961, as a result the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity was created. What this committee accomplished was, mandating projects and financing with federal funds. They would "Take affirmative action", which ensured that the hiring and employment practices are free of racial bias. The Civil Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964. Three years later Johnson extended affirmative action to include women as well. This was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.

Other Civil Rights policies were made in an attempt to eradicate de jure discrimination. De jure discrimination is discrimination based on laws, for example requiring black and white students to attend different schools during the segregation period. The Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, or national origin. This policy also sought to alleviate de facto discrimination. De facto discrimination was the fact that disadvantaged groups had fewer opportunities and benefits due to prejudice and social economic conditions, for example higher education.

Historically women and other minorities, specifically the black community in society have been deprived of privileges by men and the white population. Even though slavery was abolished in 1865 due to the thirteenth amendment, blacks did not have equal rights. Though women were accepted as an important part of the society, they were not given equal opportunities on many issues. This is the reason why affirmative action was first created, to ensure that minorities were treated fairly. It was also created as a direct result to end segregation. The United States was attempting to compensate for mistreatment and segregation of blacks, minorities and rights not given to woman. A solution that made it possible for the United States to accomplish this was by creating this policy.

Messerli (2011) wrote "affirmative action generally means giving preferential treatment


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