A Glimpse at Affirmative Action

A Glimpse at Affirmative Action - Affirmative Action Sean...

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Affirmative Action Sean Hilton The Civil Rights Era gave rise to many of the major social movements that have shaped the last 50 years of life in America. Amongst the myriad issues raised during that tumultuous period was the claim that progressive measures should be taken to ensure that minorities receive fair representation and opportunities as equal American citizens. These “positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded” 1 would eventually be known as affirmative action. Indeed, the concept of affirmative action had been well established by the 1960s, as evidenced by several Federal programs during Reconstruction, such as the Freedman’s Bureau, that attempted to win rights and fair contracts for the newly freed slaves. 2 However, the movement to ensure the equal opportunities of American minorities in the workplace and in education lacked a unifying name until March 6, 1961, the date on which President Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925, in which he stated, “The contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” 3 Following this decree and the subsequent, more comprehensive order (Exec. Order 11246) from President Johnson in 1965, which resulted 1 Fullinwider, Robert. “Affirmative Action.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Online). 4 March 2005. <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/affirmative-action/>; accessed 12 Dec. 2007. 2 “Civil Rights 101: Affirmative Action.” CivilRights.org (2002) . <http://www.civilrights.org/research_center/civilrights101/economicjustice.html>; accessed 12 Dec. 2007. 3 Kennedy, John F. “Executive Order 10925.” (Washington D.C., 1978). The EEOC. <http://www.eeoc.gov/ abouteeoc/35th/thelaw/eo-10925.html>; accessed 12 Dec. 2007.
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in the formation of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance to uphold policies of impartiality and indiscrimination in the workspace, affirmative action developed as a social, as well as a federal, initiative. As affirmative action in labor and in education (the latter being the focus of this paper) has taken shape over the past 40 years, it has become an issue strongly defined by controversy and contention amongst the claim-makers who support it, and the opposition that fights to eliminate it. The Claim-Makers Race-based affirmative action in education is a proposed solution to the problem of unequal access to quality education that many claim-makers assert that minorities face in the United States. There are several groups of claim-makers that promote race-based affirmative action as an appropriate (if only temporary) solution to race problems that exist in United States schooling, and amongst those groups are Americans for a Fair Chance, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Leadership Council on Civil Rights, and
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A Glimpse at Affirmative Action - Affirmative Action Sean...

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