"Affirmative Action"

Essay by KaterroonyHigh School, 10th gradeA, April 2003

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Affirmative action has become a hot topic these days. Should it stay or should it go? Or should we just revise it to fit today's times? Some people are extreme to the right; others to the left, many sit on the fence, but whatever the stance, almost everyone has an opinion on affirmative action.

Let me start by explaining exactly what affirmative action is and what it means to us (us being Americans, not a certain race or gender). It came about in the Civil Rights movement in 1964. Affirmative action is the active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of minority groups and women. For example, in a business, the management personnel are deciding to whom to give a job promotion. There are two employees to choose between-a woman and a man. They are equally qualified in every way. Who will get the job? Most likely the woman will, because of affirmative action.

The same goes for an admissions officer looking at two applicants-one white male, one black male. The black male will most likely be accepted.

Is this fair? Yes, according to many civil rights activists. They believe although the nation is anti-discrimination, there remains certain authoritative individuals who will profile according to race or gender, and not grant equal opportunities. After hundreds of years of discrimination, the country cannot expect for it to completely disappear in a matter of just under 40 years. As a whole, America has made many advances to being "color-blind", but it will not be there anytime soon, according to some. This is why affirmative action's help is still needed to level the playing field. This stems from white men holding 95 to 97 percent of high-level corporate jobs. Also, for every dollar a man earns, white women earn 74...