The idea that different subcategories of humans exist, and that depending on one’s point of view, some subcategories are inherently inferior to others, has been around since ancient times. This concept eventually gained the label of “race” in 1789, a “zoological term generally defined as a subcategory of a species which inherits certain physical characteristics that distinguish it from other categories of that same species.” (Tivnan 181). Although slavery has been by and large eliminated in virtually every part of the modern world, the concept used to rationalize its implementation, “racism”, still plagues most modern cultures. Races that were once enslaved, or are minorities within their society, are often discriminated against in a variety of ways. This attitude can result in actions as severe as the Holocaust of World War II, or as minor as a dismissive glance from a salesman at an uptown department store. In America, an active war has been waged on discrimination since minorities and women rallied for equal rights in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. In the last 35 years, the American government has made strides toward ending discrimination altogether, enacting social policies designed to give the downtrodden minorities a leg-up in a white-dominated society. One such policy, Affirmative Action, generally refers to programs that give preferential treatment to minority groups based on socioeconomic status and which try to correct past injustices inflicted upon said groups. This use of racial criteria to award opportunities in fields like education and employment has sparked major debates over reverse discrimination and moral obligation in today’s America. Many claim that blacks in America have a “moral claim” to compensate them for the “paramount injustice” inflicted upon them, slavery (Tivnan 202). Although slavery ended nearly 200 years ago, racism was tolerated and even encouraged by the American government …
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