This essay Affirmative Action has a total of 1573 words and 8 pages.
After the United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, it
became apparent that certain business traditions, such as seniority status and
aptitude tests, prevented total equality in employment. Then President, Lyndon
B. Johnson, decided something needed to be done to remedy these flaws. On
September 24, 1965, he issued Executive Order #11246 at Howard University that
required federal contractors ?to take Affirmative Action to ensure that
applicants are employed . . . without regard to their race, creed, color, or
national origin (Civil Rights).? With the signing of that order, and without
knowing it, President Johnson created reverse discrimination.
Affirmative Action was created in an effort to help minorities leap the
discriminative barriers that were ever so present when the bill was first
enacted, in 1965. At this time, the country was in the wake of nationwide civil-
rights demonstrations, and racial tension was at an all time high. Most of the
corporate executive and managerial positions were occupied by White Males, who
controlled the hiring and firing of employees. The U.S. government, in 1965,
believed that these employers were discriminating against Minorities and
believed that there was no better time than the present to bring about change.
This action, that started with good intentions, would later lead to a different
and more complex form of discrimination.
When the Civil Rights Law passed, Minorities, especially African-
Americans, believed that they should receive retribution for the earlier years
of discrimination they endured. The government responded by passing laws to
aide them in attaining better employment as reprieve for the previous two
hundred years of suffering their race endured at the hands of the White Man. To
many people the passing of these laws was an effort in the right direction.
Supporters of Affirmative Action asked, ?why not let the government help them
get better jobs?? After all, the White Man was responsible for their suffering.
While this may all be true, there is another question to be asked. Are we truly
responsible for the years of persecution that the African Americans and other
Minorities were submitted to? I am not so sure.
It is true that past generations of White Men are partly responsible
for the suppression of the African-American race. However, the modern White
Male is not responsible for the past. It is just as unfair and suppressive to
hold White Males responsible for past persecution now, as it was to discriminate
against many African-Americans in the generations before. Why should an honest,
hard-working, open minded, White Male be suppressed, today, for past injustice?
Affirmative Action, in it's current function seems to accept and condone the
idea of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Do two wrongs really make a
right? Definitely not, in my opinion. If Affirmative Action accomplished
strictly what it was set out to do, that would be fine, but all it seems to be
doing is turning around the tables, instead of alleviating the problem at hand.
Affirmative Action supporters make one large assumption when defending
the policy. They assume that Minority groups want help. This, however, may not
always be the case. My experience with Minorities has led me to believe that
they fought to attain equality, not special treatment. To them, the acceptance
of special treatment might be an admittance of inferiority. They ask, ?Why
can't I become successful on my own? Why do I need laws to help me get a job??
These African Americans want to be treated as equals, not as incompetents. In
my Idealistic world neither Black, White, Mexican, Asian, Woman or Man should
need nothing, except their skills.
In a statement released in 1981 by the United States Commission on
Civil Rights, Jack P. Hartog, who directed the Affirmative Action Project, said:
"Only if discrimination were nothing more than the misguided acts of a few
prejudiced individuals, would Affirmative Actions plans be ?reverse
discrimination.? If today's society were operating fairly toward Minorities and
Women, would measures that take race, sex, and national origin into account be ?
preferential treatment?? Only if discrimination were securely placed in a well-
distant past, would Affirmative Action be an unneeded and drastic remedy". What
the commission failed to realize was that there are hundreds of thousands of
White Males who are not discriminating, yet are being punished because of those
The Northern Natural Gas Company of Omaha, Nebraska, was forced by the
government to release sixty-five White Male workers to make room for Minority
employees in 1977 (Nebraska Advisory Committee 40). Five major Omaha
corporations reported that the number of White managers fell 25% in 1969 due to
restrictions put on them when Affirmative Action was adopted (Nebraska
Topics Related to Affirmative Action
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