Eleventh in a series from AAHAWM honoring Black History Month
Affirmative action is a set of policies and programs designed to provide equal opportunities for historically marginalized groups, including Black people, in education and the workplace. The goal of affirmative action is to rectify the effects of past discrimination and to promote diversity and inclusion.
One of the main ways affirmative action has impacted Black communities is through its role in increasing the number of Black students in colleges and universities. Prior to the implementation of affirmative action policies, Black students were underrepresented in higher education. Affirmative action policies helped to change this by providing greater opportunities for Black students to access higher education.
Affirmative action has also played a role in increasing the number of Black people in the workforce, particularly in professional and managerial positions. Prior to affirmative action, Black people were often excluded from these types of jobs, and their representation in the workforce was limited. Affirmative action policies helped to open up these opportunities for Black people.
However, affirmative action has also been a source of controversy. Some argue that it is reverse discrimination against White people, and that it is no longer needed to address discrimination and inequality. Others argue that affirmative action has not gone far enough and that more needs to be done to address ongoing discrimination and inequality.
Despite its controversial nature, affirmative action has had a significant impact on Black communities. While it is not a solution to all issues of discrimination and inequality, it has helped to open up opportunities for Black people in higher education and the workforce, and it continues to be an important tool in the ongoing struggle for equality and justice.
- Affirmative Action, American Civil Liberties Union (https://www.aclu.org/issues/racial-justice/race-and-inequality/affirmative-action)
- Affirmative Action, The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (https://www.naacpldf.org/case-issue/affirmative-action/)
- Affirmative Action, The National Conference of State Legislatures (https://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/affirmative-action-in-the-states.aspx)