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Johnson gave a very famous speech about it in 1965: You do not take a person who has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him up to the starting line, and then tell him that he's free to race against all the others and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.
Later, President Nixon was the first to set up specific federal guidelines to implement affirmative action policies.
Through the years, various court cases challenged the legality and constitutionality of affirmative action programs. Supreme Court finally ruled that the quota system used by the University of California was unconstitutional, but that affirmative action programs in general are legal and constitutional.
Or is a job applicant with 12 years of experience at a particular job that much more qualified than an applicant with 10 years of experience?We should understand that there are several different forms of affirmative action, practiced by different types of organizations (i.e., public versus private sector, large versus small company, etc.).When affirmative action was first implemented, one type that was often used was setting up a quota -- designating a specific number of hiring decisions, admission positions, or contractor awards to racial/ethnic minorities or women.Supporters of affirmative action counter argue that in theory, and if America were a pure meritocracy, yes people would be judged solely by their individual qualifications.But because of the history and legacy of systematic discrimination against Blacks and other groups of color, they have been put in positions that have not allowed them to maximize their full potential and therefore, have not been able to score as high on test scores, etc. Further, they argue that there are many ways to think of what it means to be "qualified." Supporters argue that of course, there should be a minimum set of standards that applicants need to achieve, whether that applies to college admissions or hiring.