Affirmative Action

Close your eyes, now imagine a world of love; not hate, a world of equality; not preference. Now, imagine a colorblind society. That is what most of American society wants. That is the reason Affirmative Action was birthed by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. That is also the reason that Proposition 209 was voted for in 1996. These two historical events are driven by the desire of equality.
What is Affirmative Action? According to Geraldine Leshin, it is "Taking positive or active steps to accomplish the public policy goal of equal employment opportunity." What is Proposition 209? Its a new law that has been passed that "prohibits the state of California and local governments from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, public education or public contracting (San Jose Mercury News)."
Affirmative action was implemented for important reasons. "Broadly defined, affirmative action refers to efforts to increase educational and employment opportunities for minorities and women. More specifically, it applies to various programs and policies designed to increase the number of minorities and women hired by government and industry and admitted into colleges and universities."(Faundez, 213)
Affirmative action is important especially in the work force. Before affirmative action, minorities and women felt, and seemed to be, discriminated against being chosen for the job. Affirmative action was to help with the "increasing of opportunities for those that were previously discriminated against"(Lemann, 145). Affirmative action was created to not only help Black-Americans, but to help "many groups beyond women and minorities including the disabled, veterans, economically disadvantaged and others."(Nicolaus, , 87)
Affirmative action also aids in the areas of contracting and education. With contracting,, "affirmative action helps firms owned by women and minorities, or firms that can show a disadvantage"(Lemann, 110) Affirmative action in education also reaches out to disabled students, women, minorities, economically disadvantaged students, veterans, etc. It helps them in many ways like: " early outreach programs, recruitment and retention programs, efforts in admissions to diversify the student population, and specific financial aid opportunities."(Edwards, 213)
So as you can see, Affirmative action was proposed and accepted for a great many reasons that constantly create controversy. Not only minorities have supported affirmative action. Most people would imagine all minorities love affirmative action and strongly voted for it and thatís why it passed. Thatís part of the reason, but we must not forget two major supporters of Affirmative action. One of these supporters is an unsuspected group of men; namely, the Angry White Guys for Affirmative Action. Yes, a group of white men! These men are angry because they feel that being a white man gives them more privileges than are fair. Paul Rockwell, the president of Angry White Guys for Affirmative Action says:
We hear a lot about Ďangry white malesí today. Well, we too are angry white males. But contrary to the caricature, we support affirmative action. As white men whose own families got free medical care, or unquestioned access to higher education through the GI Bill, who shared in the social uplift of the New Deal, we support affirmative action for those who are still left out. And we are not tear-jerk liberals, or millionaires who can afford to appear magnanimous. It is out of our own self-interest, as direct beneficiaries of social engineering, that we support programs of inclusion.
Ryan Mendoza from the Yale Daily News applauds the Angry White Guys because he says, "Although Affirmative Action treats innocent white males unequally, it does not deprive them of any genuine equal opportunity rights. Affirmative Action only eliminates undeserved increases in their prospects of success."
The other group that supports the survival of Affirmative Action is the organization "California Votes NO on 209." They firmly believe in Affirmative Action for the same reasons the others do, "Affirmative Action refers to programs that seek to remedy past discrimination against women, minorities, and others by increasing the recruitment, promotion, retention, and on-the-job training opportunities in employment and by removing barriers to admission to educational institutions."
Affirmative Action supporters are fighting to keep it alive because they fear that things like Proposition 209 will destroy all that has been fought to obtain. They fear that non-discriminatory affirmative action programs by state