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Affirmative Action Essay

1823 words - 8 pages

Affirmative Action
Affirmative action is a government policy that gives opportunities to minorities, women, and any group who has been the victim of discrimination in the past. Affirmative action is the outcome of the 1960’s Civil Rights movement, growing out of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or gender. It was the 1978 Supreme Court decision, The Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, which allowed for the use of race-based preferences as a means of fostering diversity, allowing affirmative action to be used in admissions policies. It was created with the intention to provide equal opportunities for members of minority groups ...view middle of the document...

However, according to a 2007 report by the Pew Research Center, support for affirmative action among the American public has actually increased substantially in recent years, climbing from 58% in 1995 to 70% in 2007. Supporters of affirmative action make many arguments towards affirmative action, in the hopes of getting others to see the genuine good that affirmative actin policies bring to our society. Supporters believe that affirmative action is more of a process rather than an admissions policy. Colleges and universities take the extra initiative to reach out to minority groups, encouraging them to apply. Colleges and universities offer additional financial aid and provide on-campus resources to help better the student’s college education. Supporters also note the rising number of minority applications to colleges and universities due in part to affirmative action policies. It has also been proven that when affirmative action is eliminated, such as at Berkley College and UCLA since 1998, the minority student admissions fell 61 percent and 36 percent respectively, showing that affirmative action plays a major role in a minority students college education. Affirmative action supporters also believe that diversity in higher education provides a better educational atmosphere for all students, personally and intellectually. If affirmative action were to be eliminated, there would be fewer minority students enrolled in colleges, causing diversity to be fairly slim. Affirmative action policies are also necessary in order to compensate for centuries of racial, economic, and social oppression. Individuals with higher socioeconomic status have more opportunities than those of low socioeconomic backgrounds. Supporters believe that certain racial or ethnic groups are disadvantaged because they are frequently in lower income households and consequently are not exposed to the same resources as students from higher socioeconomic classes. Advocates support the notion of competition between students based on merit, but argue that affirmative action compensates for economic differences. College graduates, who have benefitted from affirmative action, have also said that they received better jobs, earned more money, and overall live better lives because of the fortunate opportunities they received through affirmative action.
Supporters of affirmative action continuously stress the severe importance of affirmative action, considering its contributions to enhancing both the college experience and society in general. However, opponents of affirmative action believe that the time has come to end affirmative action. Opponents believe affirmative action was created to ensure fair admission practices to bring change to a long period of racial discrimination. They believe the policy is outdated. “It’s time to pull the plug on race-based decision making”, says Ward Connerly, a Sacramento, California businessman and lead organizer of the Colorado and Nebraska ballot...

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