Affirmative Action

Goal/Definition: affirmative action is taking positive, specific steps to overcome the history and current practice of discriminations by having employers, schools, and government contractors make a special effort to include people of color and women in predominantly white and/or white workforces, student bodies, and business.


Affirmative action in the Constitution:

· 5th Amendment-Forms the basis of affirmative action (along with the 14th amendment): “…[no person] shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”
· 14th Amendment – “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the Inited States; nor shall any state deprice any person of life, liberty or property without process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

President Lyndon B. Johnson began enforcing affirmative in 1965; however, the seeds of affirmative action were planted in the 14th amendment and Brown v. Board of Education. The goal was to end employment discrimination since at that time, most jobs were domination by white males.

Contextualize the issue:
· Affirmative action became prevalent in the 1960’s during the civil rights movement. It affects primarily minority groups and white males. Some people think that since affirmative action has been going on for so long and that racial discrimination is becoming less of an issue, affirmative action should be overturned.
· Affirmative action both united and divided people. It united people the minority groups because they came together with a common goal to get equal opportunity as the whites, but it somewhat divided whites and minorities because the minorities were taking job spots from the whites.

When is affirmative action practiced?
· Jobs: employers practice affirmative action by looking to hire more women and minorities, especially in white male-dominated jobs.
· School: administrations recruit students from minority school and mentor, tutor and give them scholarships.
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Current Standing of the Issue:
· Regents vs. Bakke – A white male was trying to apply to college, but was denied entry because the college was reserving spots for other minority groups, even though he had better scores and grades.
· Grutter vs. Bollinger- The Supreme Court upheld the right for a Michigan Law School to practice affirmative action, as long as race is one of the admission factors.
· United States vs. Virginia (1996)- A military training school in Virginia was not allowing women into their school, but the Supreme Court ruled that unconstitutional, and enforced affirmative action on that school.

· Some employers might show favorites even within the minority groups and/or women. Others feel that it is reverse discrimination by giving preference on the basis of race, ethnicity, or gender, and violates the 14th amendment.

· Walker, Samuel. Civil Liberties in America. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2004. Print. Contemporary World Issues.
· Kranz, Rachel. Affirmative Action. New York: Facts on File, 2002. Print.

Just Just to throw in some humor :)