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Victoria Reeve
Jessica McCallum
Junior Humanities
16 November 2016
Argument For Affirmative Action
When will the day come when we can all see each other as just human? How close is that
day? It is too far away; it should already be here. Hope, lies in the form of affirmative action.
Affirmative Action was made to provide more equal opportunities for minorities and women
that white males typically are more prone to acquiring. The policy came from the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s executive order 11246, and the Equal Protection
Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (www.u-s-history.com) It remains today
as a means to support minority groups. We currently live in a world where segregation and
racism still exist and minorities still have disadvantages in life; as a result affirmative action is
necessary to compensate victims of oppression, to create inclusive communities and role models,
and to provide equal opportunities to everyone regardless of color or sex.
People of majorities have oppressed people of minorities for centuries. First it was the
Native Americans, then the African Americans, and then the Mexicans/Spaniards with only more
to follow. These races were kicked down into the mud and run over a few times at the starting
line and are still healing, limping to catch up. As an example, African Americans have inhabited
the United States for around 387 years. Out of those 387 years, 245 years encompassed slavery,
100 years incorporated legal segregation, and only about 42 of those years have African
Americans been ‘included’ in first class citizenry. That is less than a lifetime, and even then they
were still oppressed just not as publically. It is only fit that the people who have caused these
absurdities are the ones to have the responsibility to fix them. Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. (1996), a
professor at Harvard Law School claims, "[Affirmative action] is a small but significant way to

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compensate victims of slavery, Jim Crow laws, discrimination and immigration restrictions."
After years of unjust laws, it is time to make things right. Affirmative action is a small but
significant way to start to achieve this.
Affirmative Action does not just help the older generation of minorities, it also affects the
younger generation by creating a diverse, inclusive community and role models for the younger
generations to look up to. Professor Brooks concludes in Affirmative Action Works on pg. 368
“For the point is that affirmative action, by placing minorities and females in positions of
authority, promotes racial and genders inclusion; it breaks down old patterns of racial (or
gender) segregation, and hierarchy and changes outwards and visible signs of yesterday's racial
(or sexual) distinctions.” With this as a goal, we will see an improvement in our society and way
of life, intellectually, as we gather more diverse perspectives and skill sets. We can also further
continue this goal by providing a more diverse selection of role models for children to strive for.
Louis P. Pojman says, “We all have need of role models, and it helps to know that others like us
can be successful.” We need children of all races and gender to be inspired to achieve greatness,
and they need someone to look up to, someone that looks like them. It reassures them that if
people that ‘look like them’ can do it, they can as well. With this in mind children will start
getting into more and more various jobs and positions which will in turn ultimately create a more
diverse society in the future.
Furthermore, we still need affirmative action because it is but a mere fact, discrimination
and white supremacy still exist. Stephen Satris, from Cornell University, notes in his 1992 book,
Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Moral Issues, “Such thoughts are rarely openly
expressed these days, and racial segregation and discrimination do not have legal support. One
wonders, though, how much attitudes have actually changed. The law can change, but old
attitudes persist, and they can be even be preserved and passed down from generation to
generation.” People’s minds are not easily changed and if one looks around they are sure to

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notice that segregation, racism, and stereotypical thinking still exist. The law can be easily
changed but the not the minds of the people that are to follow them. Racism is still very alive
even though the law says that we are equal. It is still felt among the citizens of minority, and their
fear is still prevalent. Affirmative action is necessary in continuing equal opportunity and making
sure that everyone gets a good education, “...without affirmative action, the percentage of Black
students at many selective schools would drop to only 2% of the student body. This would
effectively choke off Black access to top universities and severely restrict progress toward racial
equality.” (Bowen & Bok, 1998). As racism is sadly still prevalent in our world, we require
such programs as affirmative action to be available to make opportunities available to everyone
regardless of race.
We currently live in a world where not all people are seen as humans, and where some
lives matter more than others just because their skin is paler. We are responsible for this,
therefore we must change this. Affirmative action is one leap in the right direction. It
compensates, unifies and provides equal opportunities, so we must nurture it.

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Works Cited
"Affirmative Action." Affirmative Action. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.
Ogletree Jr., C.J. (1996). The case for affirmative action. Stanford Magazine, September/October.
Retrieved November 14, 2016
PIous, S. (1996). Ten myths about affirmative action. Journal of Social Issues, 4, 27.
"The Case Against Affirmative Action." The Case Against Affirmative Action. N.p., n.d. Web. 15
Nov. 2016. <http://www.csus.edu/indiv/g/gaskilld/business_computer_ethics/the%20case
%20against%20affirmative%20action.htm>.
"UnderstandingPrejudice.org: Ten Myths About Affirmative Action."
UnderstandingPrejudice.org: Ten Myths About Affirmative Action. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov.
2016. <http://www.understandingprejudice.org/readroom/articles/affirm.htm>.
"United States American History." United States American History. N.p., n.d. Web. 16
Nov. 2016. <http://www.u-s-history.com/>.