In its turbulent, history spanning nearly 40 years, the policy of Affirmative Action has been both applauded and criticized as a solution to racial inequality.
Affirmative Action is a policy that goes beyond Equal Employment Opportunity by requiring organizations to comply with the law and correct past discriminatory practices by increasing the number of minorities and women in specific positions.
During the years, affirmative action has been met with mixed feelings; supporters of the program believed it necessary for a desegregated society, while its adversaries were quick to point out its imperfections. .
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy, issued an Executive Order which established the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity with the mission to eradicate discrimination in employment in the government sector. The order required every federal contract to include the pledge that "The Contractor will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin. The Contractor will take Affirmative Action, to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." In other words, Affirmative Action was established to assure that candidates for positions would be judged without any deliberation of their race, religion, or national origin. These criteria were declared immaterial and taking them into account when considering a candidate for a job was prohibited. .
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act reiterated and widened the use of this rule. Title VI of the act declared that "No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.