Is Affirmative Action Necessary in the 21st Century?

Affirmative Action in the 21st Century:

Affirmative action is one of the most divisive and controversial issue in the United States as it has continued to raise numerous debates between proponents and opponents. The proponents of affirmative action assert that it's necessary for equality while the opponents argue that its programs are completely opposed to the American ideals of individual rights based on its definition. However, much of the controversy surrounding affirmative action is attributed to the failure to differentiate between fair share and fair play. Consequently, the United States is caught up with justice since fairness contributes to many questions in the minds of several people who are not familiar with the original aims and objectives of affirmative action that focused mainly on justice as need or fair share. Notably, the present debate regarding affirmative action usually ends up generating more heat than light, similar to other debates like immigration, bilingual education, and multiculturalism.

Origin of Affirmative Action:

The history of affirmative action in the United States can be traced to the 1960s that emerged because of attempts by the civil rights movement to force the country to honor its initial contract, which is the belief that all people are created equal. Moreover, this concept emerged in efforts to make the United States honor the Pledge of Allegiance promises of justice and freedom for all. In this case, the idea of affirmative action was based on the promise of providing equal opportunity for all people despite of their national origin, religion, color, and sex (Rosado, 1997). During the initial years of the emergence of affirmative action, the concept was mainly addressed to the needs of various groups like African-Americans, American Indians, Asian-Americans, and Latinos. However, the founders and followers of the civil rights movement protested and died for this purpose and other unalienable rights that contributed to the establishment 1964 Civil Rights Act. Nonetheless, actions by the civil rights movement to promote affirmative action and prevent present and future discrimination did not necessarily address past inequities.

Divisiveness of Affirmative Action:

Affirmative action is a concept that emerged during a time when racism and discrimination were entrenched into the fabric of the American society and government. Notably, racism and discrimination in the American government and society have continued to be a characteristic of the United States well into the 20th Century. This is primarily because the laws and policies by the government encouraged discrimination across schools, unions, and employers. Therefore, the concept was developed to help deal with these phenomena that have hindered the ability of America to honor its original pledge.

However, affirmative action has developed to become one of the most divisive and controversial issues in the United States. This is primarily because affirmative action policies and programs have not been a cure for all discrimination in the American society and government. Nonetheless, the proponents of affirmative action argue that the purpose of these policies and programs is not to reverse discrimination or compensation for oppression and slavery (Jackson, n.d.). They also state that affirmative action is not government sanctioned sexism, racism or a denial of the American principles. On the contrary, opponents consider this concept as completely opposed to the American ideals of individual rights based on its definition.

As a result of the raging debate and controversies, affirmative action has continued to be a major divisive issue in the American society. The debates and controversies have also been fueled by the consideration on whether affirmative action is relevant in the 21st Century. Actually, debates on affirmative action are currently centered on whether it's appropriate and necessary in today's society or whether it's detrimental to the society and should be abolished.

Affirmative Action in the 21st Century:

The controversy surrounding affirmative action in the 21st Century is also associated with…