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Affirmative Action

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Essay title: Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action

Although many people believe that affirmative action gives an unfair advantage in education and the workforce, to minorities in the United States, this is very rarely the case. The attack on affirmative action is only the latest in a series of efforts to roll back the rights of people of color. Affirmative action puts no one at a disadvantage, and was created and intended for aiding the less fortunate. The history of the United States is laced with a racist legacy. From the 18th century, when slavery was first introduced, to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's and even today, minorities, particularly African Americans have been denied of racial equality. Though the pain and suffering of past generations of African Americans can never be forgotten, it can be prevented by affirmative action. Furthermore, if affirmative action is what it takes to achieve racial equality in the United States then those who oppose the process are inherently racist, without realizing it.

Affirmative action is a complex policy, designed to end discrimination in hiring, college admissions, and the awarding of contracts. Before the policy was instituted, blacks faced an inevitable treatment of "last hired, first fired." A black man could easily expect to lose his job to a white man, no matter how strong his qualifications. This concept of "white privilege," has been explored by many predominant thinkers. Peggy McIntosh points out that because of the color of their skin, whites will never understand what it is to experience racial pain and inequality. She provides examples of what she as a white person is freely able to do, and that these conditions do not always apply for members of other races. McIntosh points out that blacks are denied equal jobs, housing, wages, and education. More importantly, however, she explains how subtly racism exists today. McIntosh writes,

"I can turn on the television...and see people of my race widely represented. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systematic racism for their own daily physical protection" (McIntosh).

Clearly these aspects of African American life should be enough to warrant the institution of affirmative action, so why is it that so many people oppose the process?

Many whites believe that affirmative action takes away their opportunities. One might argue that two students applying to college, one black and one white are viewed differently. Though both students may be equally qualified, the college accepts the black student, following affirmative action. The white student

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