Affirmative Action

Essay by eshlaA, March 2007

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Affirmative ActionAffirmative action are polices used by the United States to increase opportunities for minorities in hiring and promotions, college admissions and government contracts. The term minorities can be any under-represented group of race, gender, or ethnicity. President Kennedy first used the term affirmative action in a 1961 executive order designed to encourage contractors on projects finances with federal funds to racially join together their workforces. (Finkleman) The executive order declared that federal contractors should 'take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during their employment without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin'. (MSN Encarta) Although President Kennedy was the first to use the term affirmative action, it was President Richard Nixon who was the first to implement federal policies that guaranteed hiring of minorities.

Affirmative action began as a corrective measure for governmental and social discrimination against groups that have been discriminated against in areas like employment and education.

Affirmative action should only be used when there is a finding of discrimination or under-representation. Discrimination and under-representation is unfair treatment of individuals because they belong to a certain group. The group can be based on race, color, gender, or national origin.

Affirmative action is thought of by some to be part of Title VII. Although Title VII has affirmative action as part of the statutory remedies, affirmative action is actually a requirement imposed by Executive Order 11246. The Executive Order 11246 was Executive order 8802 and was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 25, 1941. The order only applied to defense contracts. This order went through many changes before the current version was signed into law on September 24, 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Although Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment, it does not enforce affirmative duties on the...