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affirmative action

             Down with the moral majority, "cause I want to be the minority" (www.
             As a result of affirmative action, many students share similar feelings of the members of Green Day when they sing Minority, the aforementioned quotation. Encyclopedia Americana defines affirmative action as, "a series of steps, procedures, policies and programs designed to overcome the present effects of past discrimination on members of a minority group" (Encyclopedia Americana). Affirmative action, however, has produced an outcome contrary to the purpose of its creation. Affirmative action, enforced at universities and in various occupations, appears unfair and unequal to middle-class, white Americans. .
             The roots of affirmative action can be traced to the mid--nineteenth century. During the 1860s President Lincoln, along with others, fought against slavery in the Civil War. In response to the victory of the North, the United States added to the Constitution the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection of rights of all individuals under the law. Despite this legislation, discrimination and segregation remained rampant for the next one hundred years. Then in the 1960s, Martin Luther King Jr. espoused the notion that the time had come to put an end to segregation and discriminatory practices in the United States. He verbally contested the government and, in response to his resistance and the social and political climate at that time, the United States passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, forbidding racial discrimination in "public accommodations" and race and sex discrimination in employment (www.now.org/nnt/08-95/affirmhs.html). President John F. Kennedy officially introduced the concept of affirmative action to the United States in 1961 with Executive Order 10925, which forbade government contractors from discriminating in hiring based on race, creed, color, or national origin (Rubio 144).

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