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However, in 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court Case justified segregation, declaring that African Americans could be “separate but equal,” spurring rise of prejudicial and racist Jim Crow laws. The consequential 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and helped to undermine segregation, eventually dismantling largely segregated U.S. society.
Affirmative action was conceived to provide equal advantages to all peoples, and to address past governmental injustices by providing support for groups that have been historically discriminated against. Many people would argue that it is our government’s prime responsibility to correct inequities and to create a more just society.
Nevertheless, many take view that affirmative action is more of a patch than a cure-all. Opponents of affirmative action argue that affirmative action shares same purpose as concept of slavery reparations: it punishes majority for misdeeds of earlier generations. Further, while affirmative action may seem to make society more egalitarian, its critics argue that policies are anti-meritocratic and are, actually, a manifestation of “reverse-racism.”
The affirmative action debate lends itself to some important questions: Does government have a responsibility to correct social inequities? Does affirmative action accomplish its objective of creating a more just society, or is it simply “reverse-racism”?
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