-- This term has two very different definitions! Never use this
term without indicating the version you are using!
Therefore, in current practice, the government defines Affirmative Action in terms of "desirable" racial and sexual discrimination which favors races and ethnicities who appear on the official gov't list of historically disadvantaged. Today, our government aggressively prosecutes employers who do not employ the "correct" number of individuals from their official list of historically disadvantaged.
Several very large, powerful Federal agencies with civil rights enforcement powers are responsible for forcing U.S. employers to hire proportionate numbers of preferred minorities: The U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Also, the U.S. Offic of Personnel Mangement is largely responsible for enforcing racial quotas among Federal government employers and agencies.
In 1978 these same four Federal agencies produced joint guidelines mandating, as a matter of law, that all employers must give special hiring preferences to non-white individuals which the government has arbitrarily defined as "disadvantaged". A complete copy of these Uniform Guidelines is available on this web site. The 1978 Uniform Guidelines remain the law of the land in 2004. The Guidelines are frequently cited by these Federal agencies -- DOJ, DOL, and EEOC -- when they file legal briefs in opposition to the many reverse discrimination lawsuits by whites and other non-preferred groups who suffer racial discrimination and exclusion under these policies.
Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity, and Equal Employment Opportunity -- AA, EO, and EEO -- are used interchangeably and today all of these terms stand for "preferences" or "reverse discrimination" or "affirmative discrimination" -- take your pick.
Sidebar 1: In Bill Clinton's Dec. 1997 "town meeting" on affirmative action he asked his pre-selected, fawning audience "Do you support Affirmative Action?" What he did not have the courage to ask them was "Do you support race-based and gender-based hiring or promotion?" Now that would have been a great question!
Sidebar 2: In the Spring of 2000, Bill Clinton told a fawning audience of corporate supporters of racial quotas (including Eastman Kodak): "The point is, it [racial quotas] won't diminish white guys. It'll make life more interesting. But the struggle is to understand it that way. This is not a matter of homogenizing this country. It's a matter of celebrating, relishing our differences."
See also President Lyndon Baines Johnson's 1965 Executive Order 11246 ordering race-neutral Affirmative Action.
See also the entire text of the 1978 Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures which mandate so-called race-sensitive employment practices (quotas) for ALL U.S. employers.
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