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Affirmative Action Case Study

The term “affirmative action” was first used by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, giving a name to a new method of battling discrimination, which had continued to exist and spread throughout the country in spite of newly enacted civil rights laws and constitutional guarantees. President Kennedy mandated affirmative action in employment practices, stating that employers must not take into account the origin, color, race or religion of their potential employees. Affirmative action is designed to guarantee that diversity is attained and upheld in universities and places of work. The strategy also helps build open-minded societies for the reason that it exposes the public to diverse beliefs and concepts that may differ from their own.

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Despite its beneficial intentions, affirmative action has not come without its share of dispute and controversy. One example of how affirmative action can call into question even the beliefs of justices of the Supreme Court is the case of a white woman named Barbara Grutter (Grutter v. Bollinger, 2003). When the University of Michigan Law School refused her admission, Grutter filed a suit claiming that she had been denied admission because of her race—an argument that she made based on the University of Michigan Law School’s stated preference of race as the “main factor” in their admission procedures. The Supreme Court ruling in Grutter’s case, in fact, supported the school’s admissions procedures, which advantaged “diminished minorities.” The dissenting justices claimed that the ratio of African American applicants was identical to the ratio of African Americans accepted into the school, making the school’s system a hardly disguised and unlawful quota scheme. Nonetheless, the resolution upheld the use of affirmative action as a practice. This Supreme Court verdict is considered one of the most significant pronouncements on affirmative action to date.

The dispute raised by the case revolved around the fact that Barbara Grutter had applied to the law school with a 3.8 GPA but was not been accepted allegedly because of her race. The real issue behind the case was that the school incorporated a race-based admissions process, and Grutter felt that she was a victim of the University of Michigan Law School’s unfair admissions policies. The oxymoron of affirmative action in the Grutter case is reflected by what critics refer to as the “inverse bias,” meaning reverse unfairness to people like Barbara Grutter—people who feel they have become the minorities and who were not, in reality, minorities before the act. At the same time, the statement made in the previous sentence does not indicate the author’s disagreement with the policy, but it does point toward the criticism of the strategy that is described in the policy itself.

The federal government, on the other hand, has retained a relatively neutral spot. Although the Supreme Court has barred the use of hard quota systems in schools, affirmative action as a policy has been upheld by the federal government and is lawful all over the United States with the exception of California and Texas, where additional acts have been implemented. Still, the argument remains on how the American civilization can accurately learn diversity.

The negative and enduring influence of the Grutter verdict, concrete and representational, is that the supporters of racial discrimination are opposed to a colossal amount of evidence (Cahn, 2010). The good thing about it is that regardless of the conflict between the supporters and the opponents of the so-called inverse bias strategy, this policy gradually equalizes the degree of petulance among the civilians of the United States.

In regards to the question of how successful affirmative action has been in correcting societal inequalities connected to the Grutter case, the answer is always going to be “scarcely.” It is not downright true due to the fact that the inequalities affect the perception of who are the citizens of the United States. It is accurate for the reason that the jury decision was repeatedly tangled because of the jury’s irresistible desire to show complaisance to Grutter who seemed to be victimized by the act of discrimination.

Hopefully, the policy will eliminate lots of court verdicts that are subjective, unreliable or present uncovered inclination, shown in the case study. The court was not practically expected to reach the end of moving ahead or profiting the well-being of Grutter, who has been underprivileged by prejudiced perception (Duppert & Sankaran, 2014).

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In conclusion, it is worth noting that the policy of affirmative action is perceived differently in different states, and the Grutter case has led to various discussions and opinions even to this day. Affirmative action will continue to be a pressing issue in the United States in the years to come as supporters and opponents debate the meaning of equality and fairness. In the end, the Grutter v. Bollinger case is a strong example and confirmation of the original purpose of affirmative action: to incorporate diversity in institutions of higher education and places of work, which beyond doubt will help construct a more progressive and tolerant culture, motivating the public to adopt a mixture of philosophies and unbiased ideas.


Cahn, Steven M. (2010). The Affirmative Action Debate. (2nd ed.).: Routledge.

Dupper, Ockert & Sankaran, Kamala. (2014). Affirmative Action: A view from the Global South. (4th ed.).: African Sun Media.

Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003)

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