Affirmative Action


The affirmative action dates back to the executive order 10925 signedby President John Kennedy on March 6, 1961. As a social policy, itrefers to the positive steps adopted to increase the representationof the minorities and women in areas of education, employment, andculture from which they have experienced historical exclusion.

The goal of the affirmative action was to correct the country’sbrutal history of gender and racial discrimination by giving theminorities preferential treatments in job opportunities anduniversity enrollments (Slater, 2013). The policy also aimed atensuring and promoting equality of opportunities for all qualifiedpersons (Kennedy, 1961). The policy has not been successful becauseit places the minorities in a disadvantaged position such that theyare still unable to compete fairly with those from the dominant raceor gender. For example, Slater (2013) argues that in the hope ofgiving the minorities more education opportunities, eliteuniversities are forced to admit students with relatively low gradesjust because they come from the underprivileged races. I haveobserved that many of the students who receive preferentialtreatments are more likely to struggle academically.

Those who oppose the affirmative action argue that it divides thesociety along racial, nationality, religion, and gender lines byestablishing groups whose membership is defined by those labels.Besides, there is an argument presented by those who oppose thepolicy that says that the affirmative action tends to demean womenand the minorities by telling them that they are inferior as theyneed help to compete with the dominant race or gender (Slater, 2013). On the other hand, those who support the policy hold that it iseffective in increasing the number of women and minorities withinorganizations and institutions and as such, its compensatory natureoutweighs its possible detriments. Also, the supporters of the policyargue that sex and race play a pivotal role in job and educationopportunities as women and individuals from the minority races arejudged based on these characteristics even before their academicqualifications are reviewed. I think that the group that opposesaffirmative action offers a convincing case. Providing preferentialtreatment to individuals from the minority races has more negativesthan positive effects. As Slater (2013) argues, a person cannotcompete fairly with his/her colleagues or college mates if he/sheheld a lesser grade or qualification during the time of recruitmentor enrollment.


Kennedy, J. F. (1961). “Executive Order 10925: Establishing thePresident’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity.&quotAccessed from

Slater, D. (2013). “Does affirmative action do what it should?”Accessed from