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An Unequal World:
Disappointment in Affirmative Action
Affirmative action, “an effort to improve the educational and employment opportunities for minorities,” has done very little to alleviate the pressures minorities face in today’s society (Williams, 1997, 169). Affirmative action’s intention to create an equal entrance to jobs and education has caused a controversy on whether the system is helping or hurting society. There has been very little success in helping society from the program. Although blacks and other minorities have suffered many injustices and discrimination in the past, affirmative action is now granting them special privileges to obtain positions in educational facilities based solely on the color of their skin, not their merit. Affirmative action has also done very little to close the wage gap between minorities and whites (Williams, 1997, 175).
The historical ground-works for a plan of affirmative action were found within the Fourteenth and Fifteen Amendment of the Constitution, the various Civil Rights Acts in the sixties, and the Voting Act of 1965. In 1960, affirmative action became a part of a larger design during President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” (Jenkins, 1999, 177). In reaction to the history of discrimination in the United States, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was designed to create equal opportunity and treatment to all individuals regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (Wage Gap: Myths and Facts, 1993, 1). The original intent of affirmative action was to grant equal economic opportunities for those who were qualified, not to provide jobs and economic security based on a person’s skin color (Jenkins, 1999, 177). Affirmative action allows for a business or educational facility to include a certain set percentage of minorities within the establishment (Williams, 1997, 171).
“When a government creates a special advantage for one ethnic group...
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