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America and AffirmativeAction Affirmative action has been the subject of increasing debate andtension inAmerican society However the debate over affirmative action has become ensnared inrhetoric that pits equality of opportunity against the equality of results The debate hasbeen more emotional than intellectual and has generated more tension than shed light onthe issue Participants in the debate have over examined the ethical and moral issues thataffirmative action raises while forgetting to scrutinize the system that has created theneed for them Too often affirmative action is looked upon as the panacea for a nationonce ill with but now cured of the virulent disease of racial discriminationAffirmativeaction is and should be seen as a temporary partial and perhaps even flawed remedyfor past and continuing discrimination against historically marginalized anddisenfranchised groups in American society Working as it should it affords groupsgreater equality of opportunity in a social context marked by substantial inequalities andstructural forces that impede a fair assessment of their capabilities Perhaps the biggest complaint that one hears about affirmative actionpoliciesaimed at helping Black Americans is that they violate the 14th Amendment of theConstitution and the Civil Rights laws The claim is that these programs distort what isnow a level playing field and bestow preferential treatment on understanding minoritiesbecause of the color of their skin While this view seems very logical on the surfacemany contend that it lacks any historical support and is aimed more at preservingexisting White privilege than establishing equality of opportunity for all Any cursorylook at the history of this country should provide a serious critique to the idea of alevelplaying field Since the birth of this nation Blacks have been enslaved oppressed andexploited people Until 1954 when the Supreme Court handed down Brown v BoardBlacks were legally pushed to the margin of society where many were left to dwell inpoverty and powerlessness The Brown decision removed the legal impediments that hadso long kept Blacks in the impoverished peripheral Despite this long awaited victory
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