Affirmative action was created as an effort to improve employment and educational opportunities for members of minority groups, and it was an outcome of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. President Kennedy was the first to use the term in an Executive Order that directed government contractors to take “affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin”. In 1965, however, only five percent of undergraduate students were African American. As a result, President Lyndon Johnson signed an Executive Order in 1965 that required government contractors to use affirmative action policies in their hiring to increase the number of minority employees. Over the years, colleges and universities have adopted affirmative action in their admissions process.
Recently, a debate has begun regarding how fair affirmative action really is. Many news outlets have even released that President Trump’s Justice Department has decided to begin an investigation to target and sue universities that they believe have affirmative action policies that discriminate against White people in their admissions. A strong argument that many supporters of affirmative action policies have stated is that these policies are necessary in order to compensate for the centuries of racial oppression. Supporters believe that affirmative action compensates for economic disparities. Many also say that affirmative action policies have resulted in dramatically increasing the number of minority applications to colleges or universities.
Critics, like President Trump, believe that the affirmative action policies are outdated, and that they actually result in reverse discrimination in the admissions process. Critics also state that the policies do not help economically disadvantaged, but rather that they favor benefit middle and upper-class minorities. They hold a strong belief that affirmative action only continues to support racial prejudice. The idea of White victimhood is increasingly central to the debate of affirmative action. How is the myth of reverse racism in admission decisions an example of white fragility?