Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Affirmative Action: Has the Election of Barack Obama Changed the Discussion?

Osuagwu, Eze (2014): Affirmative Action: Has the Election of Barack Obama Changed the Discussion? Published in: Journal of Politics and Law , Vol. 7, No. 4 (16 December 2014): pp. 120-126.

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With the election of an African American as President, many would think that the question of affirmative action and equal opportunity has been finally laid to rest in the United States. This perception may be true for the proponents of affirmative action, whom over the years believe that the struggle for civil rights and equal opportunity can only be seen to fruition if an African American emerges as President. However, the struggle to eliminate racial discrimination and social inequality cannot be achieved in one swift. It requires consistent policy directions aimed at achieving a balance in the distribution of income. This paper looks back into the origin of affirmative action; from the executive orders of President Kennedy through the decisions of the Supreme Court, and finds that matters of affirmative action have always been controversial on whether racial preferences or class distinction should be the guiding principle. The argument however, is whether the election of Barack Obama as President has reduced the agitation on racial preferences, and placed more emphasis on class distinction, as his economic and social agenda for broadening the middleclass stipulates.

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