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Affirmative Action to Balance Inequalities

This paper will be concerned with affirmative action. The federal laws pertaining to affirmative action stem from Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Among other things, these laws require that employers refrain from discriminatory practices in the workplace. Furthermore, they require employers "to make additional efforts to recruit, employ and promote qualified members of groups formerly excluded" (Berry 17). This active approach is designed to rectify the discriminatory practices of the past while at the same time helping to insure greater equality for minorities and women in the future.

There are those who think that affirmative action is not working toward balancing the inequities of the past and feel that instead it merely provides preferential treatment to a handful of minority employees. These opponents of affirmative action are for the most part white males who fear that they may become victims of reverse discrimination if members of the minorities compete with them for the same jobs. The threat of reverse discrimination is based on the idea that affirmative action requires employers to fulfill a particular quota of minority employees. In order to meet this quota, employers may hire minority members and pass over white males who are equally or perhaps better qualified for the job. Opponents of affirmative action were particularly alarmed by the 1979 Supreme Court case of Steelworkers v. Weber which they claimed permitted "racial discrimination against white employees if black employees were the beneficiaries" (Fein 50).

Despite the alarm of the opponents of affirmative action, it can be seen that the practice is actually a meaningful attempt to balance past inequities in American society. Discrimination against certain minority groups in the past has created a situation in which "these groups enter the economic or political struggle with such handicaps that their members wind up disproportionately clustered...

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Affirmative Action to Balance Inequalities. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:45, May 21, 2019, from