Race and Affirmative Action Essay

2807 Words 12 Pages
Race and Affirmative Action

Race is an issue that is embedded in the nation’s history and continues to spur discussions on how the different minorities and ethnic groups must be treated fairly. Affirmative action is a recent attempt to solve the discriminations produced by racial inequality. However, affirmative action is also being scrutinized as scholars and the public debate the benefits and harms of affirmative action. A Historical View

Throughout the past 30 years, affirmative action has been the answer to racial inequality. The policy began in 1965 under President Johnson. It was used to redress issues of discrimination, following the civil rights laws and constitutional guarantees on
…show more content…
However, by the late 1970s flaws surfaced in the affirmative action policy. Reverse discrimination became an issue, epitomized by the Bakke case of 1978. A medical school that had accepted less qualified minority applicants had rejected Allan Bakke, a white male, two consecutive years. The school had a separate admissions policy for minorities. It reserved 16 out of 100 places for minority students. The Supreme Court voted that it was unconstitutional to set inflexible quota systems in affirmative action programs. The medical school had discriminated against a white applicant. In the same ruling, however, the Court upheld the legality of affirmative action in forms other than quota systems. In 1979 the Supreme Court reflected the Bakke decision. The Supreme Court ruled in AFO-CIO v. Weber, 444 U.S. 889 that race-conscious affirmative action efforts designed to eliminate a conspicuous racial imbalance in an employer's workforce resulting from past discrimination was permissible, as long as the actions were temporary and did not violate the rights of white employees. College admission imbalances have resurfaced as a problem for affirmative action. Recently, the Smith v. University of Washington case upheld the university's affirmative action program, although the program could no longer be used after the passage of Initiative 200 in 1998. Initiative 200 is a controversial