Affirmative Action is a laudable program that has provided significant justice for women and minorities, compensates for centuries of disadvantage, and helps to raise the standard of living of all the citizens around the country.
The concept of compensatory justice for wrongs that were committed against a race of people on a massive scale is a part of the American tradition. America has a long history of reparations regarding the Japanese in World War II, Native Americans, and General Sherman's promise of 40 acres to the freed slaves at the end of the Civil War (Burch, 2008, p.121). As moral agents, citizens not only have an obligation to compensate those that have been wronged by society, "it would be unjust to prevent [them] from living up to [their] responsibilities" (Radzik, 2003, p.328). In addition, it gives the African Americans a fast track to catch up to the society that had left them behind centuries earlier.
Catching up in the free market of education or employment cannot be done when a person is severely disadvantaged, and Affirmative Action simply removes the disadvantage. By 1965, the white dominant class had a near monopoly on education, the professions, and upward mobility.