Presidents and Affirmative Action


In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order #11246 at Howard
University that required federal contractors to undertake affirmative action to
increase the number of minorities that they employ. He wanted to ensure that
minorities were recruited to have real opportunities to be hired and then
eventually get a promotion.

In 1969, the Department of Labor exposed widespread racial discrimination of the
Construction Department so President Richard M. Nixon decided to encorporate a
system of "goals and timetables" to evaluate federal construction companies
according to affirmative action. This idea of "goals and timetables" provided
guidelines for companies to follow and comply with affirmative action
regulations.

During the presidency of Gerald R. Ford, he extended affirmative action to
people with disabilities (3) and Vietnam veterns (4) but there were no goals or
timetables for these two groups. This type of affirmative action required
recruitment efforts, accessability, accommodation and reviews of physical and
mental job qualifications.

President Jimmy Carter consolidated all federal agencies that were required by
law to follow the affirmative action play into the Department of Labor. Before
Carter did this, each agency handled affirmative action in its own individual
way, some were not as consistant as other agencies were. He created the Office
of Federal Contract Compliance Program (OFCCP) in 1978 to ensure compliance with
the affirmative action policies.

Affirmative action began to go downhill when Ronald Reagan and later George Bush
came into office. Affirmative action lost some gains it had made and was mor or
less ignored by the Republicans in the White House and in Congress. Affirmative
action was silently being "killed" by our federal administrators. But among this
destruction there was one positive aspect, the passage of Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990 (5).

Finally to the Presidency of Bill Clinton. The Republicans are attempting to
scare people into changing their party lines by misusing affirmative action.
They are saying that affirmative action is nothing more than a quota (6) or
reverse discrimination (7).

As you can see, there have been many additions to the policy of affirmative
action. People from the Vietnam War, people with disabilties, and minority
groups have made gains in the workforce but more research needs to be conducted
as to the qualifications of all of these people to make sure that race is not a
determining factor in the giving and receiving of jobs. The best person for the
job, no matter what race, should be given the job.