However, there would be no struggle to roll back the gains achieved if affirmative action policies were ineffective.The implementation of affirmative action was America's first honest attempt at solving a problem, it had previously chosen to ignore. In a variety of areas, from the quality of health care to the rate of employment, blacks still remain far behind whites. Their representation in the more prestigious professions is still almost insignificant. Comparable imbalances exist for other racial and ethnic minorities as well as for women.
Yet, to truly understand the importance of affirmative action, one must look at America's past discrimination to see why, at this point in history, we must become more "color conscious".History Of Discrimination In America: Events Leading To Affirmative Action.
The Declaration of Independence asserts that "all men are created equal." Yet America is scarred by a long history of legally imposed inequality. Snatched from their native land, transported thousands of miles-in a nightmare of disease and death-and sold into slavery, blacks in America were reduced to the legal status of farm animals. A Supreme Court opinion, Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), made this official by classifying slaves as a species of "private property."
Even after slavery was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, American blacks, other minorities, and women continued to be deprived of some of the most elementary right of citizenship. During the Reconstruction, after the end of the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868, making blacks citizens and promised them the "equal protection of the laws." In 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment was passed, which gave blacks the right to vote. Congress also passed a number of civil rights laws barring discrimination against blacks in hotels, theaters, and other places.
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