US civil rights

  • Created by: loupardoe
  • Created on: 12-02-19 14:06

affirmative action

  • the 20th century saw an ongoing argument between equality of opportunity and equality of results
  • from the middle of the century many civil rights advocates came to believe that minority rights and representation could not be guaranteed solely by giving rights to people
  • this would merely give the theory of rights and equality
  • if people wanted to see the practice of rights and equality, they had to work towards equality of results
  • the only way to overcome racial disadvantage was by introducing racial advantage through such policies as busing, quotas and affirmative action
  • busing- the mandated movement of school children between racially homogenous neighbourhoods to create racially mixed schools
  • quotas- a programme by which a certain percentage of places is reserved for people from previously disadvantaged minorities
  • affirmative action- a programme giving members of a previously disadvantged minority group a head start
  • given how disadvantaged african-americans had been during the 100 years after the civil war, many democrat politicians began to believe that the government needed to discriminate positively in favour of african-americans
  • many civil rights organisations had become convinced that the burdens of racism could be overcome only by taking race into account in designing suitable remedies
  • groups which had been disadvantged were now to be advantaged
  • rights in themselves would not deliver changes to society; benefits had to be added
  • affirmative action was meant to lead to diversity and multiculturalism
  • what is affirmative action to some is merely reverse discrimination to others
  • more conservative groups and many republican politicians came to believe that affirmative action programmes were both patronising to minorities and unfair to majorities
  • believed that the constitution and both federal and state laws should be colour blind
  • children of minority families should be given equal opportunity to attend the school of their choice
  • using busing or quotoas to achieve an artificial racial balance was wrong
  • would be largely up to the supreme court to umpire between these two views of american society

the supreme court and affirmative action

  • gratz v bollinger 2003- the court ruled that the University of Michigan's affirmative action-based admissions programme for its undergraduate students was unconstitutional because it was too mechanistic
  • all black, hispanic and american-indian applicants were automatically awarded 20 of the 150 points required for admission
  • grutter v bollinger 2003- the court ruled that the University Law School's admissions programme was constitutional because it used a more individualised approach in considering the racial profile of its applicants
  • the net effect of these two rulings was to permit universities to continue to use race as a plus factor in evaluating applicants, provided they took sufficient care to evaluate each applicant's ability individually
  • a majority of the court signed up to the idea that affirmative action programmes should not be seen as a permanent fixture of US society
  • urged universities to prepare for the time when it would no longer be necessary
  • the court suggested that this might occur within the next 25 years
  • regents of the university of california…


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