Affirmative Action: Public Opinion vs. Policy

Affirmative action is a policy or practice that gives preference to individuals belonging to groups that have been traditionally disadvantaged in society, such as women or ethnic minorities. The goal of affirmative action is to level the playing field so that all people have an equal opportunity to succeed.

Affirmative action programs were first implemented in the United States in the 1960s as a way to address the effects of discrimination and segregation. Since then, they have been controversial, with some people arguing that they are necessary to ensure equality and others asserting that they are reverse discrimination.

Public opinion on affirmative action varies depending on how the question is asked, but overall, support has declined in recent years. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that 49% of Americans said they favored “affirmative action programs designed to help blacks and other minorities get better jobs and education,” while 46% said they opposed such programs.

When it comes to policy, the Supreme Court has ruled that affirmative action can be used in college admissions, but only if race is one of several factors considered and there is a “compelling interest” in achieving diversity. Affirmative action programs have also been challenged in court on the grounds that they discriminate against white people, but these challenges have generally been unsuccessful. Despite the declining support for affirmative action, it remains a controversial topic in the United States.

When Justin Ketcham, a white student from the suburbs, remembers affirmative action, he thinks about what happened when he wrote out applications for scholarships to attend Stanford University after being accepted as a senior in high school. The organizations that responded informed him that their funds were set aside for women or minorities. To Americans like Ketcham, it’s a question of justice.

If he can compete academically with a minority student and both seek the same opportunities, he should have an equal shot at getting them. Ketcham is not alone in his thinking. A series of recent polls show that most Americans oppose the use of affirmative action in college admissions.

A poll from Quinnipiac University released this week found that 61 percent of respondents believed colleges should not consider race when making admissions decisions, while 34 percent said they should. The poll also found that white voters opposed affirmative action by a margin of 67 to 28 percent, while black voters supported it by a margin of 63 to 30 percent.

But despite this widespread opposition to affirmative action, many states continue to practice it in some form. California, for example, has had a ban on the use of race in college admissions since 1996, but colleges there have found ways to work around it. And while some states have outlawed affirmative action altogether, others have continued to embrace it.

The Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could have a major impact on the future of affirmative action. The case, Fisher v. University of Texas, centers on a white student who alleges she was denied admission to the university because of her race. If the court rules in her favor, it could dealt a major blow to affirmative action programs across the country.

It is not right to try to balance scales the other way in order to rebalance them, according to the typical white male. Students like Ketcham are also more inclined than others to suggest that affirmative action is a program intended to eliminate workplace prejudices that no longer exist. When Hillary Williams, a black insurance company manager from the inner city, considers affirmative action, she thinks about how she had to train three successive white males for a position nobody asked her about taking.

Affirmative action is United States public policy that is intended to correct past and present discrimination in education, employment, and contracting against persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, age and certain veteran statuses.

Affirmative action began as a government effort to ensure that employers do not discriminate against job applicants on the basis of race or gender. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order that established the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity (CEEO) and prohibited discrimination in federal employment. The committee was tasked with investigating allegations of discrimination and taking appropriate action to remedy any violations.

Affirmative action policies were later expanded to include contractors who do business with the federal government. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed an executive order that required federal contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that they do not discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Affirmative action policies have evolved over time in response to court rulings and changing demographics. In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke that while racial quotas in education are unconstitutional, race could be considered as a factor in admissions decisions. The Court held that the use of racial preferences is permissible if they are intended to further a “compelling governmental interest” such as diversity in higher education.

Today, affirmative action policies are used in a variety of settings, including education, employment and government contracting. Affirmative action programs are designed to level the playing field for historically disadvantaged groups, such as women and minorities. These programs typically focus on increasing the representation of these groups in areas where they have been traditionally underrepresented.

There is significant public debate surrounding affirmative action programs. Some argue that these programs are necessary to address past and present discrimination against marginalized groups. Others contend that affirmative action policies are outdated and unfairly discriminate against white men. The Supreme Court has ruled on a number of high-profile cases involving affirmative action, but the issue remains highly contested.

Affirmative action has been a policy that has seen both its successes and failures, and it seems as if the public opinion on the matter has constantly been in conflict with what the policy is actually trying to achieve.

Affirmative action was first introduced in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy in an executive order that called for ” Affirmative Action” to promote “full equality of opportunity.” The goal of affirmative action was to level the playing field for minorities so they would have an equal chance at success.

The policy was later expanded under President Lyndon Johnson who said that affirmative action should be used to “combat discrimination” and not just achieve equality of opportunity. This expansion marked a shift in focus from simply providing equal opportunities to actively combating discrimination.

Affirmative action policies began to be challenged in the late 1970s when it was used as a justification for racial quotas. In the 1978 case of Bakke v. Regents of the University of California, the Supreme Court ruled that while affirmative action was constitutional, the use of racial quotas was not.

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