Essay, Research Paper: Affirmative Action

Legal Issues

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Affirmative
action is described as the term meant taking appropriate steps to eradicate the
then widespread practices of racial, religious, and ethnic discrimination. The
history of affirmative action starts a long time before this definition was
stated during the early 1960's. It starts back to the Declaration of
Independence where it states all men are created equal. It moves toward the
Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which involved
the freeing of slaves, abolishing slavery, conferred citizenship on all persons
born in the United States, and guaranteeing voting rights to all citizens. There
were also many court cases that helped move forth into affirmative action. A few
examples would be Buchanan v. Warley, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of
Education. The latter court case was a real firestorm over affirmative action,
which ruled that all local, state, and federal laws that enforced segregation in
education was striked down. President John F. Kennedy first used the phrase
"Affirmative Action" when he issued Executive Order 10952. This order
created the Equal Opportunity Commission or the EEOC and contractors on projects
financed with federal funds to "take affirmative action to ensure that
applicants are employed, ant employees are treated during their employment
without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin." President
Kennedy also pushed for more legislation but was not alive to see it go through.
Proceeding Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson took over the fight and pushed for the
passing of Civil Rights Act of 1964, which barred discrimination in the variety
of private and public settings. It included prohibiting discrimination in
private facilities, outlawed discrimination in federally-funded-programs, and
prohibited discrimination by both private and public employers and so forth.
Still under Johnson's control, the Executive Order 11246, placed the
responsibility for affirmative action enforcement with the Department of Labor.
This lead to the OFCCP, which is the Department's Office of Federal Contract
Compliance Program, which made Affirmative Action stronger in for contractors
and made them submit affirmative action plans. LBJ did much for affirmative
action programs and did not receive direct assault until 30 years later by more
recent politicians. Nixon took over and helped affirmative action by producing
the Philadelphia Plan and supporting the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of
1972, which extended EEOC's jurisdiction. Nixon's support was short-lived to
receive votes and then turned his back to all. Moving forward to Regan's Long
legacy of trouble he made a strong oppression to affirmative action in the early
eighties to receive more votes from "an increasing amount of insecure white
middle class voters." He had an enormous negative impact on affirmative
action by cutting funds to the OFCCP and EEOC and to repel some to the acts that
had been passed prior. He was a on a constant attack to affirmative action
falsely labeling related programs as "racial quotas" and "reverse
discrimination." President Bush was not help with affirmative action,
staying very quiet about it and trying to stay out of the fight fore new laws.
When Clinton came to office he was a hope for the civil rights community by his
cabinet including four blacks, three women and two Hispanic men. He also had
more women and minorities in his executive appointments that any other
president. In 1995 he delivered a speech at the National Archives that announced
a five-month review of affirmative action. The newest let down to affirmative
action is proposition 209 that was proposed in California that ended affirmative
action to all state programs. People are saying that this Proposition will be
felt everywhere. In conclusion, Secretary of Labor Elizabeth Dole stated,
"Despite the growing awareness among corporate leadership of the
bottom-line value and economic imperative of including minorities and women in
senior corporate management progress has been disappointingly show, and barriers
persist which stop able people from achieving their full employment
potential."

BibliographyCozic, Charles P. Civil Liberties Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven
Press, Inc. Kluegel, James R. Beliefs About Inequality Americans' Views of what
is and What Ought to Be. New York: Aldine De Gryter. "Time Line of
Affirmative Action". Americans United for Affirmative Action.[cited 1997].
Available from http://www.auaa.org/timeline/ 1997
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