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Why & with What Success has Affirmative Action been used to Promote Equality in the USA?

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Why & with What Success has Affirmative Action been used to Promote Equality in the USA? The introduction of affirmative action came with the realisation that the rights and appropriate representation of minorities couldn't be guaranteed solely through legislation. This conviction had been proven by persistent discrimination against minorities despite civil rights laws and constitutional guarantee. The combination of attempts made on the part of the Supreme Court and Congress to combat inequality included: amendments to the constitution, landmark decisions e.g. declaring segregated schools unconstitutional in the Brown v. Education Board of Topeka Case and a passage of civil rights legislation in the 1960s such as the 1964 civil rights act which outlawed racial discrimination in public places, required employers to provide equal employment opportunities and stated that uniform standards should be applied for establishing the right to vote. However, these attempts were counteracted by the existence of de facto segregation and Southern states choosing to ignore the rulings. ...read more.


Its hard form- which is the most effective involves use of goals, timetables and quotas which reserve a certain percentage of places for socio-politically disadvantaged groups. The Supreme Court upholding the legality of affirmative action in the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke case (1978) paved the way for progress in affirmative action and a number of successful applications. Enforcement of equal opportunities was also driven by support from Presidents Nixon and Clinton as well as others. Although the affirmative action took a setback in the 2000 and 2001 Michigan cases, when the court ruled affirmative action was no longer justified as a way of redressing past oppression and injustice, the Court did decide that race can be one of many factors considered by colleges when selecting their students and promoted the importance of diversity at all levels of society. Affirmative action has had successful results: it boosted the income, promotion and labour force participation of both women and minorities e.g. ...read more.


white men. Instead of promoting equality, it promotes prejudice and resentment towards the beneficiaries of affirmative action from those who have been adversely affected. This may cause minority groups to be targeted even more. Affirmative action can be seen as unfair and unjust because those who suffer (i.e. those who don't get the job or who don't get admitted to a particular university) should not be held accountable for crimes they did not commit; they were not part of the system that oppressed minorities in the past. Furthermore, since all people should have equal rights, no individual's rights should be sacrificed to compensate for another's. From this point of view, affirmative action appears to have done more harm than good. Success of affirmative action had a number of setbacks. Even the landmark affirmative action case of 1978 limited further application by outlawing inflexible quota systems employed by affirmative action programmes were. During the 1990s, the Supreme Court increasingly restricted the programme's scope and use. ...read more.

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