On March 6th,1961 President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925 which created The Committee On Equal Employment Opportunity. The purpose of this new mandate was to insure that projects financed with federal funds take "affirmative action" to ensure that hiring and employment practices are free of racial bias. Affirmative action seeks to protect minorities and women from descrimination in hiring practices by allocating jobs and resources. It was implemented as a policy by Federal agencies enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under the Civil Rights Act, government agencies and institutions receiving Federal Funds were required to create affirmative action programs. The Equal Employment Opportunity Act which was passed in 1972, set up a commission to enforce these programs. Many private companies have since followed suit, implementing voluntary programs in an effort to effect fair employment practices.
Affirmative action will become obsolete if and only if racism, and discrimination no longer exists, and everyone is guaranteed a level playing field. Until such a time comes to pass, Affirmative Action should always be implemented, as an integral part of the employment process in America. Especially given the fact that there is absolutely no sign racial bias, or prejudice disappearing, or becoming a thing of the past. I believe that employers should have the right to be discerning when they decide to hire anyone. But I also believe, given both the history and the current climate in this country minorities should be given equal opportunities to excel.
It is a widely held notion that African-American's and other minorities want a hand out in the form of Affirmative Action, and other social programs. But Affirmative Action and similar programs are designed to give minorities a hand up instead if a hand out. No one is asking for minorities and women to be given jobs that they are not qualified or trained for. The aim is to give those who have suffered the legacy of Jim Crow an opportunity to plant the seeds that will allow their dreams to come to fruition. It is all about opportunity, not charity or a form of welfare. The vast majority of African-Americans don't want anything given to them.
The chorus in one of my favorite James Brown songs says, "I don't want nobody given me nothing. Open up the door, I'll get it myself." Affirmative action keeps the doors of opportunity open to those of us who dare to get it ourselves.