Essay about Affirmative Action: A Means to End Inequality

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Affirmative Action: A Means to End Inequality Throughout the United States, many types of inequality can be identified. What exactly does this statement mean? First, defining inequality would help one best approach this matter. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines inequality as “the quality of being unequal or uneven” through” a lack of evenness b: social disparity c: disparity of distribution or opportunity d: the condition of being variable” (Merriam Webster). Now the question is clearer, as identifying types of inequality is equivalent to recognizing the different groups that exist within the boundaries of the U.S. For instance, people can be grouped based on income, the level of education, or their position in their…show more content…
The concept of affirmative action formally appeared when president Franklin D. Roosevelt called on governmental defense departments “not to discriminate against any worker because of race, creed, color, or national origin” (Roosevelt 1941). In 1961 President John F. Kennedy created Executive Order 10925 and coined the phrase “affirmative action,” a policy that emphasized themes that were analogous to Roosevelt’s (Wilcher 1). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination by large employment agencies and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs were created to implement “civil rights laws in employment” (Skrentny 1). Several moderately effective legislative measures have been taken since these executive orders such as President Jimmy Carter’s Executive Order 12138 which created a National Women’s Business Enterprise Policy (Wilcher 1). Today, affirmative action has specifically come to be regarded as those policies which are aimed at correcting inequalities that exist because of past discriminatory practices. Even today, affirmative action remains a hotly debated topic. In early 2003, groups of college students held rallies and protests, in support of and opposing affirmative action, leading up to legal briefs concerning the University of Michigan’s admissions policy were due to the U.S. Supreme Court in the cases of Grutter v.
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