Affirmative action in the United States
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Affirmative action in the United States is a set of laws, policies, guidelines, and administrative practices "intended to end and correct the effects of a specific form of discrimination" that include government-mandated, government-sanctioned and voluntary private programs. The programs tend to focus on access to education and employment, granting special consideration to historically excluded groups, specifically racial minorities or women.
The impetus toward affirmative action is redressing the disadvantages associated with past and present discrimination.
Further impetus is a desire to ensure public institutions, such as universities, hospitals, and police forces, are more representative of the populations they serve.
In the United States, affirmative action included the use of racial quotas until the Supreme Court questioned their constitutionality and mandated more indirect use of race.