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1 11. Government Response to Social and Economic Inequality - Affirmative Action Learning Intentions (Pupils should be able to): 1.Explain what is meant.

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Presentation on theme: "1 11. Government Response to Social and Economic Inequality - Affirmative Action Learning Intentions (Pupils should be able to): 1.Explain what is meant."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 11. Government Response to Social and Economic Inequality - Affirmative Action Learning Intentions (Pupils should be able to): 1.Explain what is meant by the term “Affirmative Action”. 2. Describe the ways in which Affirmative Action operates in the US today. 3.Give two arguments for and two arguments against the Affirmative Action programmes.

2 2 Affirmative Action What is meant by the term Affirmative Action (A.A.)? A.A. or ‘positive discrimination’ is the name given to a set of programs which aim to reduce inequality in education and employment. Originally introduced to help Black Americans overcome historical disadvantage, A.A. programs today aim to help a range of disadvantaged Americans, including women and with those with disabilities, to access better education and employment.

3 3 How Does Affirmative Action Operate? In education A.A. operates by: Outreach Programmes – extra tuition is provided for those students (often Black or Hispanic) from disadvantaged backgrounds. Recruitment and Retention Programmes – funding is provided to assist disadvantaged groups with certain types of career e.g. in science or business management. Universities – would aim to ensure their student intake reflected wider US society i.e. campuses/departments would aim to include minority groups, both genders, disabled students, etc.

4 4 How Does Affirmative Action Operate? In employment AA operates by: Laws have been passed which aim to ensure companies with more than 50 employees do not practice discrimination in hiring or promoting people from disadvantaged groups. The Federal and some State Governments will award, where appropriate, contracts to companies that are minority owned or employ large numbers of people from disadvantaged groups.

5 5 Arguments for Affirmative Action: Minority groups, and others, need A.A. to overcome social and economic disadvantage and discrimination. A.A. creates a ‘level playing field for all Americans’. A.A. has helped to create a fairer US society. For example, 50% of Black Americans are middle class and many other groups have seen rises in their standard of living. Arguments Against Affirmative Action: A.A. is opposed by some Whites because they see it as ‘reverse discrimination’. For example, in 2003, A.A. was challenged in the Supreme Court (SC) when a white student (Bakke) claimed he was discriminated against for a place at Michigan University. The SC disagreed stating that race could be taken into account when allocating university places but that having a ‘quota’ for one group was ‘unconstitutional’.

6 6 Arguments Against Affirmative Action continued: Some critics of A.A. argue that to ensure A.A. is respected, some companies are forced to promote minorities (and others) who are not necessarily the most able people and this is bad for the US economy. A.A. is also opposed by some Blacks and others because they believe A.A. undermines their success i.e. Blacks and others only got into university because they were Black. Questions 1.Explain what is meant by Affirmative Action. 2. Explain the way Affirmative Action operates. 3. Give two arguments for and two arguments against A.A. Reading: Pulse: ‘International Issues’ pages or Leckie and Leckie: ‘Course Notes’ pages


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