Affirmative Action: The Debate Rages On

Essay by hunnyb_17College, UndergraduateA+, March 2004

download word file, 3 pages 4.3

In its thirty nine year history, affirmative action has been viewed as a milestone by supporters, and a millstone by opponents. Others regard it as both or neither -- as an essential, but deficient, cure for an intractable social disease. Established in 1965 by President Johnson, it was method of rectifying discrimination that had continued regardless of civil rights laws and constitutional promises. (Legal History) According a poll by the Public Agenda, 79% of Americans said it is important for colleges to have a racially diverse student body, while just 54% said affirmative action programs should continue. In a Gallup poll, 49% of adults said they are in favor of affirmative action and 43% were not. Blacks and Hispanics were more likely to be in favor of the procedure than whites. (USATODAY)

The actual expression "affirmative action" was initially used in President Lyndon Johnson's Executive Order #11246, which required each federal department to develop a "positive program of equal employment opportunity" regardless of race or color.

It also required federal service providers to take "affirmative action" to guarantee non-discrimination in hiring, recruitment, rates of pay, and promotion. Johnson amended Executive Order #11246 in 1967 to incorporate affirmative action for women (Legal History)

One of the fallacies about affirmative action is that it allows unqualified minorities to get into college based exclusively on their race. Affirmative action coerces universities to admit qualified minorities. Ethnic background is not the essential component; they look at volunteer work, scholastic scores, sports, extra-curricular activities, honors, essays, SAT scores, and economic background of all applicants. In 1996, Proposition 209 ended Affirmative Action in California. Since then, there has been a sharp drop in the admittance of minority students. At UCLA there was 43% drop in African-American enrollment and a 33% drop in Latino enrollment. At...