Affirmative Action

With the signature of Executive Order 10925 in 1961, President
John F. Kennedy created the President’s Commission on Equal Employment
Opportunity, and thus, began transforming the world of minorities, woman
and the handicapped to equal existence with Caucasian males (Shelton
10).Still, this was only the foundation for a debate, which had begun
decades prior to Kennedy’s presidency.As “…one of the most
significant public policies of the twentieth-century…” affirmative
action is surrounded by controversy and criticism (Soni 1).Affirmative
action is intended to benefit groups plagued with life-long
discrimination (LaNoue 1).Significantly, there are many definitions
and justifications given for affirmative action.The most recent
justification is cultural diversity (Carney 2).A comprehensive
definition of affirmative action may include, “…any effort taken to
fully integrate our society by expanding educational, employment and
contracting opportunities to the multitude of gender, ethic, national
origin, and handicapped-condition groups that have been and remain
locked out of full economic, social, and/or political participation in
our country” (Shelton 9).Through the examination of the history and
motive for affirmative action, one may better determine their ethical
Discrimination has been part of society since the beginning of
America.Initially, discrimination was limited to African-Americans, as
they served as slaves on plantations (Banfield 13).However, over the
years discrimination has spread to nearly every race and class.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt very limitedly began the grounds for the
establishment of the affirmative action program.In 1941 he signed
Executive Order 8802 “…which outlawed segregationist hiring policies
by defense-related industries which held federal contracts” (Skyes 1).
Next, President Johnson took another positive step in equali…

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