Affirmative Action: An Overview

By Reva Lingala

Affirmative action is a policy used to promote more opportunities for minority groups.By considering factors such as race, ethnicity, or gender, affirmative action aims to create fairer systems and foster diversity and inclusivity. However, the policy has been a subject of debate because of concerns over fairness, reverse discrimination, meritocracy, and other controversies. As of 2023, the Supreme Court has declared it unconstitutional to consider race as a factor in the college admission process. This has left people wondering the future for affirmative action, how effective it was, and how college admissions will change. 


Affirmative action was sent in place in 1965 when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246. The order put in place affirmative action in federal government hiring policies to ensure equal employment opportunities for minorities. In 1978, the Supreme Court case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, it was ruled that racial quotas in university admissions were unconstitutional, but race could be a consideration factor in admission. The 1995 case, Adarand Constructors Inc. v. Pena, stated that government affirmative action programs have to serve a compelling government interest.While some argue that affirmative action is still necessary to change ongoing disparities, others believe that it perpetuates reverse discrimination.  


One of the main goals of affirmative action is to expand education and employment opportunities to historically disadvantaged groups. With affirmative action policies, previously underrepresented communities are able to have access to higher education and jobs. This ensures that colleges and workplaces include diversity to enrich the environment. Affirmative action has been important in combating workplace discrimination. Employers are required to ensure equal employment opportunities, increasing the representation of minority communities. Workplace diversity has many benefits such as enhancing creativity, problem solving, and innovation by including a wide range of perspectives. 

College Admissions

Prior to the Supreme Court ruling of Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina, affirmative action was banned at public universities in nine states. Some colleges have chosen to admit a certain percentage of students from a school’s graduating class to ensure more diversity on their campus. However, this has shown that the number of Black, Hispanic, and Native American students enrolled has decreased and the gap has further increased. Some say that this allows more chances for white and Asians, but others are concerned for the amount of Black and Hispanic accepted into more selective colleges. 


Hi! My name is Reva and I am currently a senior in high school. I compete in speech and debate and mock trial which has led me to discover my passion for politics and law. I’ve always enjoyed writing which is why I decided to join Women in Politics. In my spare time I enjoy baking and going on walks.

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