Professor Bunce and Professor Strimbeck
Suffrage and Human Rights essay draft
October 2nd 2014
Human Rights and Affirmative Action
Affirmative action can be defined as an action or policy favoring those whose may tend to suffer from discrimination, especially with regards to education and employment. This policy has played a major role in many lives since the term was first used by President John F. Kennedy in the year 1961. Though many views of affirmative action have changed including the view of Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor writes, “Much has changed in the thinking about affirmative action since those early days when it opened doors in my life and Junior’s. But one thing has not changed: to doubt the worth of minority student’s achievement when they succeed is only to present another face of prejudice that would deny them a chance to even try” (245). Many believe affirmative action is still a positive thing. While others do not quite feel that the policy is needed at all or that it is discriminatory. The prejudices that were experienced by minorities can be argued is the reason affirmative action was put into place, many of these prejudices still survive today and others have vanished entirely. Because of these prejudices many other minorities have experienced other policies following affirmative action such as LGBT rights, and countless other Civil Rights acts.
In the year of 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson, gave a speech at Howard University that defined the rationale behind the contemporary use of affirmative action programs, to achieve equal opportunity, especially in the fields of education as well as in the workforce. With regards to opportunity; affirmative action is meant to break down “barriers” both visible and invisible, it is not meant to guarantee equal results but instead enforce the notion that if equality of opportunity were a reality, African Americans, women, people with disabilities and many other groups facing discrimination would be fairly represented in the nation's work force and educational institutions (Leadership Conference). When asked is affirmative action programs were “still needed to counteract the effects of discrimination against minorities” only 45 percent of American agreed, while on the other hand 55 percent of Americans supported the claim that these programs have gone too far in favoring minorities and should be ended due to the fact that they can be found to unfairly discriminate against whites (Bouie). Many opponents of affirmative action agree that yes, diversity in an educational and work place setting is important, but affirmative action only emphasizes racial prejudice, because there is no proven correlation between skin color, intelligence and skill , the affirmative action program is not necessary("Affirmative Action Overview"). In its 2002 to 2003 term the Supreme Court ended its term with much-anticipated decisions regarding affirmative action and gay rights.
The Supreme Court surprised many Americans with the extent of their rulings regarding these matters. Many may not think of affirmative action as being linked to gay or LGBT rights but they are indeed linked. Both can be labeled as civil rights, which can be defined as the right of citizens to political and social freedom and equality. Marriage has existed for centuries and until recently has been defined as the union between a man and a woman. Over those centuries an array of laws have been put into place regarding circumstances that may arise in unions between men and women (Sowell). There is still so many advances to be made with LGBT rights, currently many states have anti-gay and anti-gay laws, in fact these discriminatory laws are currently embedded in over 28 state constitutions(Alcu). Despite all the negatives there have also been many progressions with the LGBT rights movement such as the court ruling that section