Affirmative Action was centered around 1961 because women and minorities were being discriminated against. By definition, affirmative action is “the encouragement of increased representation of women and minority-group members, especially in employment” (Dictionary. com). The main controversy of affirmative action is whether or not it is still necessary, and if it should be abolished all together.
It was originally intended to benefit cultural groups that were thought to suffer from discrimination in the past, however, now some people believe that those cultural groups are already being represented to the fullest extent, and that affirmative action is no longer necessary. On the other hand, other people believe that affirmative action is the only reason their ethnicity is represented among colleges, or the workplace.
There is no doubt that discrimination was a huge problem in the history of the U. S. , but now the issue has changed from ‘women and minorities are being discriminated against’ to ‘are these groups now being over represented? ’. As a college student, you may or may not benefit from affirmative action and the implications it has on policies; everyone is impacted by affirmative action.
Both sides of the argument have solid cases, the pro side believing that affirmative action allows minority groups to have a fair chance of college admittance and employment, whereas the con side believes that it is unconstitutional and prevents more qualified people from a college and job opportunity, causing the dispute of whether or not we still need affirmative action to be controversial. Although it is widely believed that college admission boards are required to fill quotas, this is a false myth. Affirmative action programs are not allowed to have a set number of admittance spots set aside for minority groups (AAUW).
For instance, “since 1987 women owned businesses have increased by one hundred and three percent. In 1999 women owned almost nine million business” (AAUW). Some argue that this is direct evidence of the benefits of affirmative action. Some advocates of affirmative action believe that because African Americans have a high success rate in athletics, it will lead other people to think they are having high success rates economically, and therefore do not need affirmative action to help them get into the workplace. However, what they want people to know is that African Americans are helped by fourteen percent due to affirmative action Figure 1).
People are split over whether affirmative action reduces the effects of the past discrimination, or if it does not do anything at all, and just aggravates people; Americans are bringing up new aspects of the effects of affirmative action. Affirmative action may not have helped African Americans quite as much as women. “Blacks continue to have twice the unemployment rate of whites” (Pritchett), and “only thirty-five percent of all African Americans high school graduates attend college versus the fifty percent of white students” (Pritchett).
Others believe this means affirmative action is not helping the African Americans, and is still causing discrimination. “During the time of slavery, African Americans were not given an equal opportunity to establish jobs or a good education, setting them back in the modern market” (SocialistWorker. org). Another common concern with lots of controversy is the effects of affirmative action on reverse racism. Caucasian students have been complaining for years because they believe they were cheated out of a fair chance to have a proper education.
For instance, the majority of whites believe that affirmative action will greatly hurt their education endeavors, whereas blacks and hispanics heavily believe that it will increase their chance of college admittance (Huffpost. com). “In 1978, the landmark Regents of California v. Allan Bakke case made racial quotas unconstitutional. Bakke, a white student, sued after twice being denied admission to medical school, challenging the special admissions used to admit minority groups” (Justia. com).
The question now arises, is there a way to help minority groups discriminated against in the past without denying other majority groups opportunity? The main way the government is planning to do that is by modifying existing policies. So far, the idea suggests that policies could be heavily enforced for training purposes, such as high school, but not in the job market or for college admissions. That way, all races and cultures are receiving proper training and education, but it also allows those that excelled to be awarded jobs and college positions, also regardless of race or gender.
This way, “Women and minorities in education and employment... remain essential to ensure equal access to all professions at all levels, through recruitment, outreach, and training” (AAUW). Most people agree that it is ignorant to believe that racism no longer exists in our society, education system, and workplace, but what is argued over is how to go about alleviating that racism. Everyone deserves equal opportunity regardless of race or gender.
Affirmative action became a highly debated subject after Justice Powell stated in the Supreme Court’s 1978 ruling in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U. S. 265 (1978), “that a university could take race into account as one among a number of factors in student admissions for the purpose of achieving student body diversity” (Springer), causing “a large diversity of affirmative action programs in student admissions, financial aid and in faculty employment” (Springer). However, in the last few years, those programs were appealed at many universities all over the country. It is expected in the next ten years that political and legal challenges will take place, as everyone tries to uphold their believed rights.
This highly controversial topic of affirmative action will continue on for many years, separating many peoples groups and cultures, some of which believe they have a right to overturn affirmative action, and others believing affirmative action should stay just the way it is. Overall, affirmative action helps whites by two percent and minorities by fourteen percent, but has hurt caucasians by thirteen percent and minorities by five percent (Personally). Hopefully, someday, America will be able to come to an equal decision that the majority will agree with.