The History of Affirmative Action

n the schools, denied equal chance at acquiring good jobs and rejected from housing areas all reserved exclusively for the pale-skinned dominant culture of the west Europeans. This separation was made possible because of an ideology that believed white people were of a higher, more refined nature than those who had not yet been ‘cleansed’ of their barbarism. In many cases, minority members of society were restricted to slave or near-slave status even after the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865. Through a variety of tactics, the prevailing opinion of the ‘less civilized’ minority people of color was perpetuated by existing legislation and unfair practices that prevented these people from achieving the same kinds of success discovered by white people. Even after legislation now collectively referred to as the Jim Crow laws were abolished, inequality prevailed through shady or evasive business practices, finally forcing the enactment of countermeasures now known as Affirmative Action. Although controversial, this legal action was required in order to try to equalize the opportunity for all, extending the right for all free people to reach the potential they are willing to work for. Without affirmative action to help ensure equality, the balance in this country would still be heavily in favor of the ethnic majority and segregation would be much more blatant than it is today. Social evolution depends on widespread social acceptance of differences. It is a process that doesn’t seem to occur naturally in this country without the benefit of affirmative action polices. Since its enactment, affirmative action has succeeded in balancing the opportunities available to men and women of all ethnicities. Although the majority ethnic group, the white people, may now feel they are being treated unfairly simply because they have lost their stranglehold on the economic high ground, affirmative action has been successful in distributing opportunity on a more equal basis. A

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