Affirmative action in the US

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Just as numerous policies adopted in the United States, affirmative action is one that has incessantly adapted to the country’s changing needs because of its flexibility. The first concrete reference to the term appeared in Kennedy’s Executive Order 10925 which pushed to take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed without regard to race (Sowell 124). This order’s intents were furthered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination more effectively and in a larger scope. In both these instances, affirmative action is seen as a means to abolish discriminatory hiring and primarily benefit African Americans in the workplace. The affirmative action that society is familiar with nowadays is a result of the Nixon administration’s established “result-oriented procedures” to incorporate larger amounts minorities and women into the workplace through target ranges rather than quotas. Over time, affirmative action has evolved from preferential hiring by race in the workplace to prevail in higher education admissions and governmental contracting and expanding to benefits additional groups such as females and disabled persons. As a result, preferential selection has gathered much attention and been tested in Supreme Court cases across the nation, such as University of California v. Bakke and Grutter v. Bollinger, both in which it was not declared unconstitutional (Sander and Taylor). Regardless of court decisions, affirmative action remains a controversial topic that is constantly debated by the American public. Due to its success in ameliorating the situations of numerous Americans, there is a large amount of support for affirmative action that has taken form across the nation. The predominant political parties associated with this view are the Democratic and Liberal Parties. Prominent democratic politicians in concurrence with affirmative action plans include Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson, both who believe the drawing back of affirmative action will result in a higher number of institutions no longer considering minorities in the application process, resulting in the re-segregation of the public and reduction of opportunities. One of the main arguments for preferential selection is that it ensures the inclusion of minorities that have been left behind in the past due to their systemic exclusion from opportunities, a belief greatly supported by African American Congressman Charles Rangel (Sowell 120). Likewise, factions supporting affirmative action state that the advantages given to minorities motivate them to become successful. Female enrollment in the workforce and in educational institutions has surpassed that of males since the extension of affirmative action programs towards their gender. The League of Women Voters and National Organization for Women have continually pushed to keep preferential hiring and acceptance for the aforementioned reasons, working to help women realize their potential and inspire them to pursue higher education and a secure job in their respective fields of preference. To add to the implements of affirmative action creating a better society, interest groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons take the stance that preferential hiring promotes diversity, which in turn yields a country more tolerant of variety through assimilation.

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