Running head: LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD
Leveling the Playing Field
Professor Shaun Manzano
November 7, 2014
Affirmative action began as a government remedy to the effects of long-standing discrimination against minority groups and women. Thus, over the past 40 years, the agency has affected many different facets of life for the American people and a great deal of improvement has been accomplished. Specific examples of its impact are visible through improved employment and educational opportunities. These improvements were accomplished through policies, programs and procedures, set up to give preferential treatment to minorities ...view middle of the document...
After that came the executive order, demanding the equal treatment and employment in the armed services. This would essentially not happen until the 1950’s during the Korean War. It had taken two world wars and a large-scale depression just to get this far.
When President John F. Kennedy was elected he issued Executive Order 10925, which included a provision that government contractors take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin. Executive Order 10925 specifically sought out disadvantaged groups and sought to give them preferential treatment in hiring and employment practices. Also, during the 1960’s there was an ongoing societal movement. Later in time, this era would become known as the Civil Right Movement. The citizens of the United States, mostly the minorities, were tired of being segregated and mistreated, and this was their time to strive for equality in all aspects of life; they demanded their constitutional rights.
After Lyndon Johnson was elected president he planned to improve opportunities for African Americans while civil rights legislation was demolishing the legal basis for discrimination. Johnson has stated, "This is the next and more profound stage of the battle for civil rights," "We seek… not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result." The federal government began to institute affirmative action policies under the landmark Civil Right Act of 1964 and an executive order in 1965. Businesses receiving federal funds were prohibited from using aptitude tests and other criteria that tended to discriminate against African Americans. The Affirmative action programs were monitored by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Because of this affirmative action was broadened to cover women, Native Americans, Hispanics, other minorities and was extended to colleges and universities and state and federal agencies.
After President Lyndon Johnson there was President Nixon who continue to carry the torch to improve affirmative action. He created the Philadelphia Plan which It defined minorities and set up “target ranges,” rather than specific quotas. This plan also required contractors doing business with the federal government to commit themselves to self-determined numerical goals for minority. By withstanding challenges both in Congress and the courts, the Philadelphia Plan helped establish affirmative action as a way of life for American employers. Indeed, employers often embraced affirmative action as a good business practice.
The road to affirmative action was not a smooth and did have some bumps along the way. Affirmative action policies required that active measures be taken to ensure that blacks and other minorities enjoyed the same opportunities for promotions, salary increases, career advancement, school...