Affirmative Action policies were introduced in the 1960s by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson. The President recognized Black and Hispanic communities were not well represented in specific sectors. While the federal government did not have direct control over the hiring decisions in private business, it could exert some power in seeing increasing representation with federal contractors.
With now over fifty (50) years of experience, how have Affirmative Action policies shaped the US? What have some of the benefits been and what can other countries learn from America's experience? I invited Professor Harry Holzer of Georgetown University to discuss these questions in more detail. Professor Holzer has spent many decades studying Affirmative Action and its impacts on the labour market.
Who is Professor Harry Holzer?
Professor Harry Holzer is an American economist and public policy expert. He is currently the John LaFarge Jr. SJ Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University, where he also serves as a Senior Fellow at the Center on Education and the Workforce.
Holzer previously served as the Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Labor, and has held positions at several other academic and policy institutions.
Why Did the Federal Government Pursue Affirmative Action Policies in the 1960s?
The federal government pursued affirmative action policies in the 1960s as a response to the widespread discrimination and segregation that existed in many areas of American life at that time. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in employment, education, and other areas. However, simply outlawing discrimination was not enough to address the deep-seated inequalities that existed in American society.
In order to address the lingering effects of past discrimination and promote greater diversity and inclusion, the federal government began to implement affirmative action policies in areas such as education, employment, and contracting. These policies were designed to ensure that individuals from historically disadvantaged groups, such as African Americans and other minorities, had equal opportunities to succeed and were not held back by systemic discrimination or biases.
Affirmative action was seen as a way to promote greater equality and to address the historical injustices faced by minority groups. It was also seen as a way to promote greater diversity in institutions such as colleges and universities, which had traditionally been dominated by white, middle-class students. While affirmative action policies have been controversial and have faced legal challenges over the years, they continue to be used in many areas of American life as a way to promote greater equality and diversity.
Check out the full article here at: https://openmindspodcast.com
Professor Holzer: https://gufaculty360.georgetown.edu/s/contact/00336000014RcL5AAK/harry-holzer
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