American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A policy or a program that seeks to redress past discrimination through active measures to ensure equal opportunity, as in education and employment.
- n. A policy or program providing advantages for people of a minority group who are seen to have traditionally been discriminated against, with the aim of creating a more egalitarian society through preferential access to education, employment, health care, social welfare, etc.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. a policy of making active efforts to improve the employment or educational opportunities available to members of minority groups or women; -- achieved by employers or schools by using various techniques, but excluding the use of simple quotas or outright discrimination against white males.
- n. a policy designed to redress past discrimination against women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and educational opportunities
“Even as we continue to defend affirmative action as a useful, if limited, tool to expand opportunity to underrepresented minorities, we should consider spending a lot more of our political capital convincing America to make the investments needed to ensure that all children perform at grade level and graduate from high school-a goal that, if met, would do more than affirmative action to help those black and Latino children who need it the most.”
“Political rightsMany of the landmark decisions about affirmative action in higher education are based on such issues as the value of diversity in the classroom, the nature of discrimination and disadvantage among those who might not gain admission to leading colleges and universities without the consideration of race, and the impact on white or Asian students of policies to consider race.”
“Some of this has to do with the success of conservatives in fanning the politics of resentment-by wildly overstating, for example, the adverse effects of affirmative action on white workers.”
“As recently as 1999, the black unemployment rate fell to record lows and black income rose to record highs not because of a surge in affirmative action hiring or a sudden change in the black work ethic but because the economy was booming and government took a few modest measures-like the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit-to spread the wealth around.”
“But his governing philosophy never congealed into a firm ideology-it was Nixon, after all, who initiated the first federal affirmative action programs and signed the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration into law.”
“Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition.”
“Statewide bans on affirmative action have tended to have the greatest impact on flagship universities like Michigan and on professional schools.”
“Ward Connerly, an African-American on the University of California Board of Regents who posed as a moderate but was a darling of conservatives, spearheaded a California ballot initiative, Proposition 209, to end affirmative action in public institutions and state programs.”
“In those circumstances, your decisions about whether affirmative action is an appropriate response to the history of discrimination in this country or whether a general right of privacy encompasses a more specific right of women to control their reproductive decisions or whether the commerce clause empowers Congress to speak on those issues of broad national concern that may be only tangentially related to what is easily defined as interstate commerce, whether a person who is disabled has the right to be accommodated so they can work alongside those who are nondisabled -- in those difficult cases, the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart.”
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