Реферат: Affirmative Action Essay Research Paper We didnt

Affirmative Action Essay, Research Paper

?We didn?t land on Plymouth Rock, my brothers and sisters? Plymouth Rock

landed on us!? Malcolm X?s observation is brought out by the facts of

American History. Snatched from their native land, transported thousands of

miles? in a nightmare of disease and death? and sold into slavery, blacks

were reduced to the legal status of farm animals. Even after emancipation,

blacks were segregated from whites? in some states by law, and by social

practice almost everywhere. American apartheid continued for another century. In

1954 the Supreme Court declared state-compelled segregation in schools

unconstitutional, and it followed up that decision with others that struck down

many forms of official segregation. Still, discrimination survived, and in most

southern states blacks were either discouraged or prohibited from exercising

their right to vote. Not until the 1960?s was compulsory segregation finally

and effectively challenged. Between 1964 and 1968 Congress passed the most

sweeping civil rights legislation since the end of the Civil War. It banned

discrimination in employment, public accommodations (hotels, motels,

restaurants, etc.), and housing; it also guaranteed voting rights for blacks in

areas suspected of disenfranchising blacks. Today, several agencies in the

federal government exercise sweeping powers to enforce these civil rights

measures. But is that enough? Equality of condition between blacks and whites

seems as elusive as ever. The black unemployment rate is double that of whites,

and the percentage of black families living in poverty is nearly four times that

of whites. Only a small percentage of blacks ever make it into medical school or

law schools. Advocates of affirmative action have focused upon these differences

to support their argument that it is no longer enough just to stop

discrimination. Liberal Democrats feel that the damage done by three centuries

of racism now has to be remedied, they argue, and effective remediation requires

a policy of ?affirmative action.? At the heart of affirmative action is the

use of ?numerical goals.? Opponents call them ?racial quotas.? Whatever

the name, what they imply is the setting aside of a certain number of jobs or

positions for blacks or other historically oppressed groups. Conservative

Republicans charge that affirmative action really amounts to reverse

discrimination, that it penalizes innocent people simply because they are white,

that it often results in unqualified appointments, and that it ends up harming

instead of helping blacks. The issue of preferences to address historical

patterns of racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination has received a great deal

of attention nationally. Whether in government contracts, private sector hiring,

college admissions, or state hiring practices, opponents in the issue have

engaged in often-heated debates. In Michigan, legislation to limit or eliminate

affirmative action has been introduced this session. A good example of this

legislation was proposed on March 18,1998 and it is called SJR N (S-2). This

resolution proposed an amendment to the Michigan Constitution to prohibit

discrimination based on sex or ethnicity and to prohibit the state and its

political subdivisions from using religion, sex, color, ethnicity, or national

origin as a basis for discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to

any individual or group in employment, public education, or public contracting.

The present system violates the fundamental principle of equal protection of the

law against discrimination on the basis of immutable characteristics of race,

sex, color, ethnicity, and national origin. SJR N (S-2) was intended to end this

practice and return Michigan to the goal of a colorblind society. II. SJR N

(S-2) is on the Conservative side of things, in that, the legislation is trying

to stop ?reverse racism?.. There really is no moderate way to look at

affirmative action; you can either be for it or against it. Sen. Bill Bullard

Jr. was the chair and sponsor of this bill, but when he met with the other

members of this committee it was stated in the minutes of the meeting that

??the issue will not be voted on today?, nor does he (Bill Bullard) intend

to press for a vote in the Legislature this year. There will be future

opportunities for all who wish to contribute to this dialogue to have their

views heard. The committee then had a long list of testimony from those who

opposed SJR N (S-2). It was then stated that this constitutional amendment if

approved by a two-thirds vote of the Senate and House of Representatives, would

be submitted to the voters at the next general election. The bill was never

brought before senate, it was basically killed in committee. III. Bill Bullard

the Republican State Senator from District 15 stated his views on affirmative

action from this statement. Indicate the principles you support (if any)

concerning affirmative action. State government agencies should take race and

sex into account in the following sectors: a) College and university admissions

Senator Bullard opposed all the affirmative action questions because he is a

Republican, and if one has a viewpoint against affirmative action it is

considered a conservative one. How does presidential candidate George W. Bush

feel about affirmative action? He Opposes quotas and racial preferences,

supports affirmative «access» to open the doors of opportunity through

programs such as the Texas 10 percent plan, where those who graduate in the top

10 percent of their class are automatically admitted to any state college or

university, and advocates needs-based contracting and breaking down government

contracts to smaller sizes to encourage entrepreneurship in all communities.

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