Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: December 15, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971966 | Print ISBN: 9781412940504 | Online ISBN: 9781412971966| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Affirmative action is a cornerstone of efforts to increase opportunities for African Americans in the United States. It has played a major role in dismantling discriminatory and racist practices in education and in the workforce. By definition, affirmative action requires positive and confirmatory actions to increase the number of African Americans in public and private institutions. Affirmative action relies on outreach, recruitment, job training, employment, and admissions in order to increase the number of women and racial minorities. Such policies serve as an instructive catalyst for moving beyond legal and theoretical jargon of desegregation and laws that simply ban discrimination. This entry explores affirmative action: its historical background, related legal decisions, attendant debates, and its impact on higher education. Although now applied to education and to employment, affirmative action was first used to address workplace and labor issues. In 1935, the National Labor Relations Act required employers to take affirmative ...