Affirmative Action

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Related to Affirmative Action: Affirmative Action Plan

Affirmative Action

A series of policies a government or organization pursues to help a given demographic group, especially a historical minority, in work and/or education. Affirmative action may be mild; for example, race may be one of a number of factors a university considers when deciding admission. On the other hand, it may impose stringent requirements; for example, a government may oblige companies to abide by gender quotas when hiring.

Affirmative action as a policy is quite controversial. Proponents argue it helps engender equality among groups in society. Critics contend it does (or at least can) reward less qualified persons at the expense of more qualified persons.

The term "affirmative action" is predominantly American. The concept is called positive discrimination in the United Kingdom, employment equity in Canada and reservation in India.
References in periodicals archive ?
Support for both types of affirmative action programs differs markedly by political party identification.
Research in cognitive psychology has shown that we all harbor biases and that race-conscious affirmative action policies assist in addressing those biases.
"One irony is that race-based affirmative action, as it is practiced in highly selective institutions, really doesn't help the vast majority of Black and Latino students in this country," Cashin said during the recent Lumina Ideas Summit: New Pathways to Higher Education Diversity event.
We must realize that affirmative action is not meant to be permanent.
Last September, to make a political point about affirmative action, Shawn Lewis, the Berkeley student, helped organize an "affirmative action bake sale" on the Berkeley campus.
The amorphous and malleable idea of "diversity" provided much needed buoyancy to affirmative action, especially in the 2003 University of Michigan affirmative-action cases when 65 major companies, including American Express, Coca Cola, and Microsoft, asserted that maintaining racial diversity in institutions of higher education is vital to their efforts to hire and maintain a diverse workforce.
While affirmative action seeks to level the playing field and provide equal opportunities for all persons regardless of their "differences" (Miller & Katz, 2002, p 5).
Richard Nixon and the Rise of Affirmative Action is divided into three parts.
Affirmative action is now an integral part of the appointment process at virtually every college and university in the United States.
Affirmative action isn't necessarily without merit.
Many of the themes of the quantitative literature are replicated in the qualitative studies on affirmative action: it is predominantly whites who have been interviewed; and they have drawn a distinction between affirmative action in principle and in practice.
The ban effectively rolls back the clock on employment, education, and government contracting, says David Waymire, spokesman for One United Michigan, a coalition of more than 200 organizations in support of affirmative action, including the AFL-CIO, the NAACP, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

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