Affirmative Action is an executive order put in place by the United States Federal Government in 1965. According to the Federal Governments National Archives at Archives.org, the intention of Affirmative Action was to influence employers to “”not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin…and take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin (Archives.org).” This movement towards the concept of Affirmative Action went further than it’s original executive order. Affirmative action eventually lead to a multitiude of laws and policies that were put into place to make sure all areas of society gave equal opportunity to all minorities. From the workplace, to colleges, and entrance into housing developments, people in positions of power were not only not allowed to discriminate, but in certain situations reach a sort of “quota” to ensure there is no discrimination in application processes. This movement and concept reached for wider than the United States. Nationwide countries including the UK and South Africa have their own versions of Affirmative Action with similar constructs.
An obvious pro for Affirmative Action is the notion that discrimination in application processes will be reduced. It is an obvious human right to be judged by your abilities and past experience/action rather than your skin color or gender. Another pro would be the higher admission of disadvantage students being grated access into higher education. In certain situations high school students living in impoverished areas go to schools that would normally be overlooked during the admissions process. With Affirmative Action in place, colleges and universities are forced to ignore school rankings and consider applications from students who normally would not have been given a glance. A third pro is only considered a positive by some, but there are many that believe Affirmative Action is something needed by the US Government to compensate for the years of slavery and unjust treatment towards minorities. Furthermore, Affirmative Action helps break the cycle of racism and stereotypes by forcing individuals of different ethnicities to interact on the campus or workplace. By bringing people together individuals can quickly learn that stereotypes they may have heard or even believed are simply radical and unfair generalizations. A fourth positive effect of Affirmative Action is the assurance it provides that there will be less discrimination in the workplace. Ideally, our country wouldn’t need laws to ensure this, but unfortunately there are problems with discrimination and putting legislation in place to help prevent it makes sure that applicants wouldn’t be turned down due to their race or gender. Affirmative Action also offers a boost to students who don’t have the same advantages the average White male does. This includes access to quality teachers, parental support, and materials such as laptops. Students in these situations deserve this boost so their true potential can be reached. A sixth and final positive effect of Affirmative Action would be the push it gives towards the melting pot that is the United States. Mixing ethnicities by giving minorities a fair chance is a great way to bust stereotypes.
Cons against Affirmative Action are usually pointed out by those who are among the advantaged groups. One con of course is the possibility that a white employee of higher ability is passed over for a minority in the hiring process due to the organizations need to meet Affirmative Action regulations. Another con would be a similar scenario, except it is a white student with higher academic grades being passed over by a University for a minority with lower grades to meet their regulations and requirements. Due to both of those cons, a third con is created. Some argue that racism is further enforced due to these exceptions creating a bitter feeling towards the race or the individual minority that they believe was selected over them. From the employer and admissions side, we can see both a fourth and fifth con. Due to regulations put in place by Affirmative Action, employers and administrative officials may have no choice but to pass over qualified candidates due to them, ironically, being white. Some refer to this as “reverse racism”. A sixth con lies in the product of this selection process. If this bitterness is carries by a group of white men, they may see minorities as less educated or qualified despite their admission or position. They may believe that they only achieved their success due to taking advantage of Affirmative Action.
The case of Green V County School Board Of New Kent County made it all the way up to the Supreme Court in 1986 before a decision was made. After the Case of Brown v Board of Education had been decided, one county in Virginia had put in their own piece of legislation to ensure segregation among their two schools would continue. “Under that Act children were each year automatically reassigned to the school previously attended unless upon their application the State Board assigned them to another school; students seeking enrollment for the first time were also assigned at the discretion of the State Board. To September 1964, no Negro pupil had applied for admission to the New Kent school under this statute and no white pupil had applied for admission to the Watkins school. (Green v. County School Board Of New Kent County)”. These schools were on other sides of the county, but the ethnicity of the county’s population was evenly divided throughout. Both high schools had about 10 school buses and their routes were over-lapping each other. De-segregating the school would be an easy process. In 1986, the Supreme Court demanded that New Kent County come up with a new plan to actually attempt to successfully de-segregate the school district.
Based on the facts of the case of Green V County School Board Of New Kent County, I agree with the decision made by the Supreme Court. At the very least, demands to attempt desegregation had to be given at the minimum. If anything, the Supreme Court did not do enough to enforce the desegregation of this district. There should have been punishment handed out to those behind the legislation that clearly attempted to divert a decision made by the Supreme Court (Brown V Board). New individuals should have been implemented who actually had intentions of desegregating the schools beyond renaming them.