Background: Affirmative action was first instituted by President John F. Kennedy by an Executive Order signed on March 6, 1961.  This initiated a requirement that federally funded contracts and programs actively engage plans for employing minorities.  Affirmative action grew over time under subsequent Presidential orders and legislation to include women along with minorities for their active preferential placement in higher education enrollment as well as in employment. The purpose of affirmative action is to level the playing field for applicants by opening opportunity to classes of otherwise qualified individuals subjected to discrimination in hiring and education, due to a social legacy of racial, gender, and ethnic prejudice.  Nearly 60 years since JFK’s Executive Order, many now argue that affirmative action has served its purpose and that its cumbersome administrative requirements are a burden that schools and employers no longer need to bear. Others argue that the deep prejudices underlying the purpose of affirmative action continue to plague American society and justify its continuing importance to promote and ensure diversity in society’s critical settings of education and workforce.

LISTEN TO THE FOLLOWING PODCAST FOR PREPARING THIS DISCUSSION affirmative action: content from this web address

Podcast: The Viability of Affirmative Action in 2020; Politics in the Workplace with Dr. Linda Ashar and Dr. Gary Deel.

Also you can:

Listen to the episode outside the classroom directly on APU Edge.


Listen on your mobile device by searching for “APU Politics in the Workplace” on your favorite podcast listening platform OR click to find this episode on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher.

Here is a PDF of the Podcast Transcript


For your Discussion Essay:   Take a Position For or Against Affirmative Action: 

  • Research and summarize  the  essential requirements of affirmative action. Where, how, and why is it applied?
  • Consider the pros and cons of affirmative action based on your review of the required readings and your own research. Include case law in your analysis.  
  • Take a position either pro or against continuation of affirmative action as a legal requirement of covered employers and universities. Present your position and discuss your reasons for your position. This should be more than just a personal opinion. Support your analysis with examples, which can include objective personal experience and observations.
  • In replies to each other in this Discussion, please pursue a respectful but robust debate on this topic. Do not simply seek out posts that agree with your view. Rather, engage the opposite. 
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