Affirmative Action

MoneyBestPal Team
A set of policies and practices that aim to improve the opportunities and outcomes for historically disadvantaged groups, such as women.

Affirmative action refers to a combination of laws, regulations, and practices that work to increase opportunities and results for historically underrepresented groups, including women, members of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and those with disabilities. In many areas, including education, employment, government contracts, and social benefits, affirmative action is permitted.

The United States' history with affirmative action begins in the 1960s when President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order outlawing discrimination in federal contracting and establishing the Office of Federal Contract Compliance to carry it out. Also, discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in both work and education. These laws were created in an effort to rectify the legacy of slavery, segregation, and oppression that had denied African Americans and other minorities equal opportunities for decades.

Affirmative action, however, quickly came under attack from those who claimed that it violated the meritocracy concept and led to reverse discrimination against white men in the form of legal challenges and political resistance. In instances involving affirmative action, such as Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), and Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court has rendered decisions (2016). In order to ensure that affirmative action does not unreasonably impair the rights of non-beneficiaries, the Court has imposed strict scrutiny and narrow tailoring requirements in addition to upholding the constitutionality of affirmative action as a compelling state interest to promote diversity and address historical discrimination.

Affirmative action has a wide range of complex and debatable effects. Affirmative action has boosted minorities' and women's representation in higher education, the workforce, and government service, according to certain research. Affirmative action has also been linked to increased social mobility, a decline in racial animosity, and the promotion of an inclusive and tolerant society. Nonetheless, some detractors contend that affirmative action has lowered academic standards, branded recipients as less qualified, exacerbated racial divisiveness, and sustained a culture of victimhood and entitlement.

The topic of affirmative action is still divisive in American politics and culture. Affirmative action has been outlawed or curtailed in some states, including California, Florida, Michigan, and Washington, as a result of voter referendums or legislative measures. Affirmative action programs that certain groups, including Asian Americans, feel are unfair or discriminate against them have been contested. To address the continuing disparities and restrictions that women and minorities still encounter in a variety of disciplines and industries, some campaigners have argued for modifying or expanding affirmative action. The discussion around affirmative action speaks to more general concerns of how to define and accomplish diversity, fairness, and equality in a multiracial democracy.