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Affirmative action

Few social policy issues have served as a better gauge of racial and ethnic divisions among the American people than affirmative action. Affirmative action is a term referring to laws and social policies intended to alleviate discrimination that limits opportunities for a variety of groups in various social institutions. Supporters and opponents of affirmative action are passionate about their beliefs, and attack the opposing viewpoints relentlessly. Advocates believe it overcomes discrimination, gives qualified minorities a chance to compete on equal footing with whites, and provides them with the same opportunities. Opponents charge that affirmative action places unskilled minorities in positions they are not qualified for and violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Since its inception, the definition of affirmative action has been ever-changing. Prohibiting discrimination in hiring, expanding the applicant pool to include more minorities, compensating for past grievances, and setting quotas have all been part of the definition. In theory affirmative action helps integrate minorities better into society and puts them on equal footing with whites; however, in reality affirmative action is widening the racial gap in America and therefore should be discontinued.When the Civil Rights Law passed, minorities, especially African-Americans, believed that they should receive retribution for the years of discrimination that they endured. The government responded by passing laws to aide them in attaining better employment as reprieve for the previous two hundred years of suffering. To many, these laws made sense. After all, the white race was partly responsible for their enslavement. However, the individual white male is not. It is just as unfair and suppressive to hold many white males responsible for past persecution now as it was to discriminate against many African-Americans in the generations before. Roger Wilkins, a member of the ...

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