African American Women And Affirmative Action

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African American Women and Affirmative Action

How does one correct centuries of discrimination without alienating the majority, who have benefitted from the mistreatment of minorities as citizens of this country? Before understanding how affirmative action has an effect on U.S. history, one must comprehend what it is and what the motive was behind it. Affirmative action was the effort to improve education and career opportunities for women and minorities to make up for past discrimination practices. On March 6, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order #10925, ensuring that all federally funded projects, such as repairing highways or funding public education, “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed,
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Bakke (1978), Allan Bakke, a white applicant who was denied admission twice by UC Davis School of Medicine, alleged that the university admitted students with lower GPAs and MCAT scores than him. Protesting on the streets was not effective enough as an approach as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bakke in a 5-4 vote. Racial “quotas”, or “goals” as minorities like to call them, were ruled unconstitutional; however, a school’s use of “affirmative action” to enroll more minorities was constitutional in certain cases. Even though affirmative action is supposed to help minorities equally, white women are the main beneficiaries. In fact, certain studies and data show that white women in particular benefit disproportionately. In 2013, Fisher v. University of Texas mirrors Regents of University of California v. Bakke (1978), in which Abigail Fisher, then 23, claimed that Texas University was accepting people who didn’t have the qualifications, further stating that she was denied solely because of her race. The truth was that affirmative action was not her problem; Fisher’s grades simply weren’t good enough. The acceptance rate at UT is 40% and even lower for in-state students outside of the top 10%. The chances of her being accepted were close to none, regardless of race. Although, Fisher was rejected by UT, she still had an advantage regarding both higher education and job opportunities, as anyone does when born with privilege. According to a decade old study, women
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