Background: Affirmative action was first instituted by President John F. Kennedy by an Executive Order signed on March 6, 1961. This initiated a requirement that federally funded contracts and programs actively engage plans for employing minorities. Affirmative action grew overtime under subsequent Presidential orders and legislation to include women along with minorities for their active preferential placement in higher education enrollment as well as in employment.
The purpose of affirmative action is to level the playing field for applicants by opening the opportunity to classes of otherwise qualified individuals subjected to discrimination in hiring and education, due to a social legacy of racial, gender, and ethnic prejudice.
Nearly 60 years since JFK’s Executive Order, many now argue that affirmative action has served its purpose and that its cumbersome administrative requirements are a burden that schools and employers no longer need to bear. Others argue that the deep prejudices underlying the purpose of affirmative action continue to plague American society and justify its continuing importance to promote and ensure diversity in society’s critical settings of education and workforce.
For your Forum Essay: Take a Position For or Against Affirmative Action:
- Research and summarize the essential requirements of affirmative action. Where, how, and why is it applied?
- Consider the pros and cons of affirmative action based on your review of the required readings and your own research. Include case law in your analysis.
- Take a position either pro or against the continuation of affirmative action as a legal requirement of covered employers and universities. Present your position and discuss your reasons for your position. This should be more than just a personal opinion. Support your analysis with examples, which can include objective personal experience and observations.