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Affirmative action - Essay Example

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Affirmative action

Affirmative action generates intense controversy when it involves preferential selection-selection on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity.According to Wikipedia, Affirmative action describes policies aimed at a historically and socio-politically non-dominant group (typically, minority men or women of all races) intended to promote access to education or employment. Motivation for affirmative action is a desire to redress the effects of past and current discrimination that is regarded as unfair and to encourage public institutions such as universities, hospitals and police forces to be more representative of the population. This is commonly achieved through targeted recruitment programs aimed at applicants from socio-politically disadvantaged groups.The overall framework of affirmative action in the United States was established by Executive Order 10925, issued in March 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, but has evolved significantly. The original order required government contractors to take "affirmative action" to ensure equal treatment of applicants and employees "without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin."
Reservation in Indian law is a form of affirmative action whereby a percentage of seats are reserved in the public sector units, union and state civil services, union and state government departments and in all public and private educational institutions, except in the religious/ linguistic minority educational institutions, for the socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or the Scheduled Castes and Tribes who were inadequately represented in these services and institutions. The reservation policy is extended for the SC and STs in representing the Parliament of India & state legislative assemblies.
In its modern form, affirmative action can call for a recruiting officer faced with two similarly qualified applicants to choose the minority over the white, or for a manager to hire a qualified woman for a job instead of a man. Affirmative action decisions are generally not supposed to be based on quotas, nor are they supposed to give any preference to unqualified candidates. And they are not supposed to harm anyone through "reverse discrimination."
Dan Froomkin (n.d.) in Washingtonpost.com Staff states, "Affirmative action is the nation's most ambitious attempt to redress its long history of racial and sexual discrimination. But these days it seems to incite, rather than ease, the nation's internal divisions.
An increasingly assertive opposition movement argues that the battle to guarantee equal rights for all citizens has been fought and won - and that favoring members of one group over another simply goes against the American grain.
But defenders of affirmative action say that the playing field is not level yet - and that granting modest advantages to minorities and women is more than fair, given hundreds of years of discrimination that benefited whites and men."
Even though opponents of affirmative action routinely use terms like "preferences" or "quotas" interchangeably with the term "affirmative action", Affirmative action plans do not advocate "quotas" as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that quotas are illegal .Such opponents use what research psychologists have understood for many years-that framing the issue as one of "reverse discrimination" or implying unfair advantage reduces public support for such programs dramatically. Conversely, providing the public with ...Show more

Summary

Affirmative action was born of the civil rights movement three decades ago and it calls for minorities and women to be given special consideration in employment, education and contracting decisions…
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Affirmative action essay example
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