In 1972, affirmative action became an inflammatory public issue. True enough, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 already had made something called “affirmative action” a remedy federal courts could impose on violators of the Act. Likewise, after 1965 federal contractors had been subject to President Lyndon Johnson's Executive Order 11246, requiring them to take “affirmative action” to make sure they were not discriminating.
Diversity is desirable and won't always occur if left to chance.
Students starting at a disadvantage need a boost.
Affirmative action draws people to areas of study and work they may never consider otherwise.
Some stereotypes may never be broken without affirmative action.
Affirmative action is needed to compensate minorities for centuries of slavery or oppression.
It is condescending to minorities to say they need affirmative action to succeed.
It demeans true minority achievement; i.e. success is labeled as result of affirmative action rather than hard work and ability.
Once enacted, affirmative actions are tough to remove, even after the underlying discrimination has been eliminated.
Affirmative action leads to reverse discrimination.
Affirmative action lowers standards of accountability needed to push students or employees to perform better.
Students admitted on this basis are often ill-equipped to handle the schools to which they've been admitted.
AFFIRMATIVE RECRUITMENT: Special recruitment efforts undertaken to assure that qualified protected class members are well represented in the applicant pools for positions from or in which they have been excluded or substantially underutilized. Such efforts may include contacting organizations and media with known protected class constituencies. Open job posting and advertising and "equal opportunity employer" statements necessary in many situations are matters of nondiscrimination rather than measures of affirmative recruitment.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PLAN: The written document through which management assures that all persons have equal opportunities in recruitment, selection, appointment, promotion, training, discipline and related employment areas. The plan is tailored to the employer's work force and the skills available in the labor force. It prescribes specific actions, goals, timetables, responsibilities and describes resources to meet identified needs. The plan is a comprehensive results oriented program designed to achieve equal employment opportunity rather than merely to assure nondiscrimination.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Specific actions in recruitment, hiring, upgrading and other areas designed and taken for the purpose of eliminating the present effects of past discrimination, or to prevent discrimination.
Affirmative action developed during the four decades following the decision in brown v. board of education, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S. Ct. 686, 98 L. Ed. 873 (1954). In Brown, the Supreme Court held that public school Segregation of children by race denied minority children equal educational opportunities, rejecting the doctrine of "separate but equal" in the public education context. During the 1960s and early 1970s, the Civil Rights Movement as well as the Vietnam War inspired members of minorities and women to advocate collectively for increased equality and opportunity within U.S. society. These groups appealed for equal rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, and they sought opportunity in the public arenas of education and employment. In many ways, they were successful. As affirmative action grew, however, it drew increasing criticism, often from men and whites, who opposed what they viewed as "reverse discrimination."
The term itself refers to both mandatory and voluntary programs intended to affirm the civil rights of designated classes of individuals by taking positive action to protect them from, in the words of Justice william j. brennan jr., "the lingering effects of pervasive discrimination" (Local 28 of the Sheet Metal Workers' Int'l Assoc.v. EEOC, 478 U.S. 421, 106 S. Ct. 3019, 92 L. Ed. 2d 344 ). A law school, for example, might voluntarily take affirmative action to find and admit qualified students of color. An employer might recruit qualified women where only men have worked before, such as businesses that operate heavy equipment.
The idea of affirmative action was foreshadowed as early as the Reconstruction Era, which followed the U.S. Civil War. When that conflict ended, the former slave population throughout the South owned virtually nothing and had only a limited set of skills with which they could make a living. To help these newly emancipated citizens sustain a minimal economic base, the victorious General William T. Sherman proposed to divide up the land and goods from the sizable plantations of southeastern Georgia that were under his command and grant to each family of color "40 acres and a mule." The proposal ran into powerful political opposition, however, and it was never widely adopted.