Affirmative action is positive action or steps that are
taken to increase the representation of women and minorities
in the areas where they have been historically excluded, like employment, education, and
business. Affirmative action is an attempt to redress long history of discrimination.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made affirmative action a
remedy federal courts could impose on violators of the Act. Affirmative action generates
controversy when race, gender,
and ethnicity is the basis of
The phrase affirmative action is
used to describe the policies that are designed to actively promote the status and occupational participation of groups of people
designated by shared characteristic. Affirmative action is intended to counteract
perceived disadvantagement of such groups.
The phrase affirmative action was
used in President John F. Kennedy's 1961 Executive Order 10925 which requires federal
contractors to "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."
Opposition to affirmative
Opposition to affirmative action is based on the grounds of "reverse discrimination and unwarranted
preferences." President Clinton strongly defended affirmative action, "Mend it,
but don't end it." Defenders of affirmative action affirm that granting modest
advantages to minorities and women is fair because they sufferred discrimination for
hundreds of years.
Affirmative action decisions are
not based on quotas and they don't give any preference to unqualified candidates.
Affirmative action decisions are not targeted to harm anyone through "reverse
Faye J. Crosby, Sirinda Sincharoen University of California and Aarti Iyer
University of Exeter.
Affirmative action is a controversial and often poorly understood policy. We outline how
affirmative action operates in employment and education settings and consider the major
points of controversy. Why affirmative action is needed. How affirmative action can have
unintended negative consequences. How affirmative action programs can be successful. We
review how psychologists have examined variations in people's attitudes toward affirmative
Manufacturing Discord: Media in the Affirmative Action Debate
Robert M. Entman, The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, Vol. 2, No. 4,
Depictions of intense conflict between African-Americans and whites have framed the news
media's coverage of the public debate over affirmative action. The conflict frame does not
describe the complicated, ambivalent state of white opinion as registered by the mechanism
of sample surveys. The conflict frame misrepresents any substantive clash of interests
created by affirmative action policies.
A Theory of Affirmative
Action in College Admissions - Qiang Fu
Fu: Assistant Professor, Department of Business Policy, National University of Singapore
We show that an academic quality-oriented college maximizes the test score of its incoming
class by adopting an admissions rule that favors the minority. A "handicapping"
rule increases competition and induces candidates to invest more in educational
attainment. We show that the non-minority responds to the affirmative action admissions
Affirmative action and other special consideration admissions at the University of
California, Davis, School of Medicine - R. C. Davidson and E. L. Lewis -
Department of Family and Community Medicine.
The use of race as a criterion for admission to medical schools and other professional
schools has become increasingly controversial. This study documents the experience of
students at one medical school, admitted through a special admissions process that
included race as one consideration.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AT SCHOOL AND ON THE JOB
Shannon Harper and Barbara Reskin Department of Sociology, University of Washington
Affirmative action addresses individuals' exclusion from equality of opportunity based on group membership
by taking into account race, sex, ethnicity, and other characteristics. This chapter
reviews sociological, economic, historical, and legal scholarship on affirmative action.
We first consider the emergence of group-based remedies, how protected groups are defined,
and proportional representation as a standard for inclusion. We then summarize the
research on affirmative action in education and in employment. The societal responses to
affirmative action, including attitudes, challenges, and political responses. As public
and judicial support for affirmative action has waned, employers and educators have
increasingly turned toward diversity as a rationale for including underrepresented groups.
Black Applicants' Reactions to Affirmative Action Plans: Influence of Perceived
Procedural Fairness, Anticipated Stigmatization, and Anticipated Remediation of Previous
Slaughter, Jerel E.; Bulger, Carrie A.; Bachiochi, Peter D.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Volume 35, Number 12, December 2005.
Abstract: This research was conducted to understand why Black applicants might react
negatively to affirmative action plans designed to benefit them.
Support for Race-Based Affirmative Action: Self-Interest and Procedural
Aberson C. L. - Journal of Applied Social Psychology,
Volume 33, Number 6, 1 June 2003.
Examines attitudes toward affirmative action. Hypotheses related to self-interest
concerning perceptions of the benefits of affirmative action and hypotheses derived from
procedural justice research regarding the structure of policy statements. A survey of
undergraduate and graduate student participants found greater perception of benefits
resulting from affirmative action policies, defined in terms of increased opportunity and
increased satisfaction. Policies presented with justification received more support than
did policies presented without justification. Perceptions of the benefits of affirmative
action mediated ethnicity effects. Suggestions for increasing support for affirmative
action are provided.
Framing Affirmative Action - The Influence of Race on Newspaper Editorial
Responses to the University of Michigan Cases - John D. Richardson,
University of Colorado, Karen M. Lancendorfer, Michigan State University
The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, Vol. 9, No. 4, 74-94 (2004)
A content analysis of U.S. newspaper editorials examined framing of U.S. Supreme Court
rulings on affirmative action at the University of Michigan. Remedial action and no
preferential treatment, frames dominating affirmative action discourse in news media from
the 1960s to 1990s, were overshadowed in 2003 newspaper editorials by diversity, a frame
asserting that a mix of racially and ethnically different people serves to strengthen
organizations and society.
Gender, Race, and Affirmative Action - Operationalizing Intersectionality in
Amy C. Steinbugler, Temple University, Julie E. Press, Janice Johnson Dias, University of
Gender & Society, Vol. 20, No. 6, 805-825 (2006)
The authors operationalize the intersection of gender and race in survey research. They
investigate how gender/racial stereotypes about African Americans affect Whites
attitudes about two types of affirmative action programs, job training and education and
hiring and promotion. Gender/racial prejudice towards Black women and Black men influences
Whites opposition to affirmative action at different levels than negative attitudes
towards Blacks as a group.
Affirmative Action and Percent Plans as Alternatives for Increasing Successful
Participation of Minorities in Higher Education - Jorge Chapa, Latino
Studies at Indiana University, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Vol. 4, No. 3, (2005)
Following the U.S. Supreme Courts Grutter decision, universities must now make the
judgment that student diversity is essential to their educational mission.
Resistance to Affirmative Action - Self-Interest or Racism?
Cardell K. Jacobson, Department of Sociology, Brigham Young University
Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 29, No. 2, 306-329 (1985)
In this article racial threat or self-interest, new symbolic racism, and old-fashioned
racism are examined as predictors of attitudes about affirmative action programs.
Self-interest, new symbolic racism, and old-fashioned racism are all found to be related
to attitudes about affirmative action programs even when a variety of control variables
are included in the regression analyses.
United States: Supreme Court rules on affirmative action
Mark Tushnet, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University
International Journal of Constitutional Law 2004 2(1)
Affirmative action, Fourteenth Amendment and equal protection clause, distributive and
corrective justice rejected as basis for affirmative action, history of affirmative action
cases, diversity; "critical mass" versus quota, comparative constitutional
Job queues, discrimination, and affirmative action
TO Bisping and JR Fain, Department of Economics, Oklahoma State University, USA
If employers have different Becker-type discrimination coefficients for different demographic groups, then the implementation of affirmative
action may have a differential impact on those groups. We find that a job queue existed
before the implementation of affirmative action and that affirmative action changed the
ordering of the job queue in manner that had a negative impact on nonwhite males.
Affirmative Action Under Fire - The Current Controversy and the Potential for
State Policy Retrenchment
J. Edward Kellough, University of Georgia, Sally Coleman Selden, Syracuse University,
Jerome S. Legge, University of Georgia
Review of Public Personnel Administration, Vol. 17, No. 4
The controversy over affirmative action has grown to such a point in recent years that
many observers have questioned whether the policy can long endure. This article examines
the rise of recent anti-affirmative action policy proposals. A modest positive
relationship is found between the size of a state's minority population and the expression
of anti-affirmative action sentiment.
A Theory of Affirmative Action.