Affirmative Action

Essay by jlpughCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 2004

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Affirmative Action in America

Affirmative action -- two words that can bring about emotionally charged

debate on the validity of this policy. Is it a fair practice, as proponents

argue, or simply a form o reverse discrimination? It's not always been easy

to decide on this issue -- for the Supreme Court or society. As its

intended, affirmative action means that people from a particular group

should enjoy special consideration or benefits in job placement or college

admissions. Usually, when one speaks of affirmative action, it is in

relation to racial discrimination (although women, as a minority group, are

also included), and some people feel that the government should have

unrestricted freedom in developing plans to make up for past offenses. Other

people argue that enforcing this plan is little more than an obviously

reverse discrimination, and it should not be allowed (McWhirter, 1).

The Supreme Court has placed affirmative action plans into two basic

groups - quota plans and race-plus plans.

Under a quota plan, a state or

local government has to use different criteria when considering someone of a

minority group for a job or admission to a university. There is usually a

quota for the number of people of the particular group who must be granted

benefits, based on percentage of the population. Race-plus uses as its

guidelines the particular racial characteristics of a certain group, and

this is to be considered a `plus' in making the decision on who does or does

not receive the benefits. (McWhirter, 1).

Affirmative action was designed to create an environment that is

nondiscriminatory; it means taking a second look at applicants so that

everyone who applies for a job or admission to college is treated fairly. In

theory, this sounds good.

This 30-plus year old policy was given its impetus...