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over the net Affirmative Action

Affirmative action works. There are thousands of examples of situations where
people of color, white women, and working class women and men of all races who
were previously excluded from jobs or educational opportunities, or were denied
opportunities once admitted, have gained access through affirmative action. When
these policies received executive branch and judicial support, vast numbers of
people of color, white women and men have gained access they would not otherwise
have had. These gains have led to very real changes. Affirmative action programs
have not eliminated racism, nor have they always been implemented without
problems. However, there would be no struggle to roll back the gains achieved if
affirmative action policies were ineffective. The implementation of affirmative
action was America's first honest attempt at solving a problem, it had
previously chosen to ignore. In a variety of areas, from the quality of health
care to the rate of employment, blacks still remain far behind whites. Their
representation in the more prestigious professions is still almost
insignificant. Comparable imbalances exist for other racial and ethnic
minorities as well as for women. Yet, to truly understand the importance of
affirmative action, one must look at America's past discrimination to see why,
at this point in history, we must become more "color conscious".
History Of Discrimination In America: Events Leading To Affirmative Action. The
Declaration of Independence asserts that "all men are created equal."
Yet America is scarred by a long history of legally imposed inequality. Snatched
from their native land, transported thousands of miles-in a nightmare of disease
and death-and sold into slavery, blacks in America were reduced to the legal
status of farm animals. A Supreme Court opinion, Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857),
made this official by classifying slaves as a species of "private
property." Even after slavery was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in
1865, American blacks, other minorities, and women continued to be deprived of
some of the most elementary right of citizenship. During the Reconstruction,
after the end of the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868,
making blacks citizens and promised them the "equal protection of the
laws." In 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment was passed, which gave blacks the
right to vote. Congress also passed a number of civil rights laws barring
discrimination against blacks in hotels, theaters, and other places. However,
the South reacted by passing the "Black Codes, " which severely
limited the rights of the newly freed slaves, preventing them in most states
from testifying in courts against whites, limiting their opportunities to find
work, and generally assigning them to the status of second or third class
citizen. White vigilante groups like the Klu Klux Klan began to appear, by
murdering and terrorizing blacks who tried to exercise their new rights.
"Legal" ways were also found for circumventing the new laws; these
included "grandfather clauses", poll taxes, white only primary
elections, and constant social discrimination against and intimidation of
blacks, who were excluded form education and from any job except the most
menial. In 1883, the Supreme Court declared a key civil rights statute, one that
prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, unconstitutional. And in
1896, Plessy v. Ferguson (163 U.S. 537 [1896]), the Court declared that the
state of Louisiana had the right to segregate their races in every public
facility. Thus began the heyday of "Jim Crow" legislation. In Justice
John Marshall Harlan's lone dissent, he realized it was a mockery. He wrote,
" We boast of the freedom enjoyed by our peoples above all other peoples.
But it is difficult to reconcile that boast with a state of the law which,
practically, puts a brand of servitude and degregation upon a large class of our
fellow citizens, our equals before the law. This thin disguise of 'equal'
accommodations for passengers in railroad coaches will not mislead anyone, or
atone for the wrong this day done." Not until sixty years later, in Brown
v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (347 U.S. 483 [1954]), was Plessy
overturned. Chief Justice earl Warren declared the unanimous opinion of the
court by saying: "We cannot turn the clock back to 1868, when the Amendment
was adopted, or even to 1896, when Plessy v. Ferguson was written." In
today's world, "separate educational facilities are inherently
unequal." This decision sparked racial tensions all across America. in
1957, President Eisenhower had to call federal troops into Little Rock,
Arkansas, after the state's governor forcibly barred black children from
entering white schools. In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested and fined, for not
moving to the back of a public bus, ... more

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A Timeline of the Holocaust

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic annihilation of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and their collaborators as a central act of state during World War II. In 1933
approximately nine million Jews lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three European Jews had been killed.
Although Jews were the primary victims, hundreds of thousands of Roma (Gypsies) and at least 250,000 mentally or physically disabled persons were also victims of Nazi genocide.
As Nazi tyranny spread across Europe from 1933 to 1945, millions of other innocent people were persecuted and murdered. More than three million Soviet prisoners of war were
killed because of their nationality. Poles, as well as other Slavs, were targeted for slave labor, and as a result, almost two million perished. Homosexuals and others deemed
"anti-social" were also persecuted and often murdered. In addition, thousands of political and religious dissidents such as communists, socialists, trade unionists, and Jehovah's
Witnesses were persecuted for their beliefs and behavior and many of these individuals died as a result of maltreatment.

The concentration camp is most closely associated with the Holocaust and remains an enduring symbol of the Nazi regime. The first camps opened soon after the Nazis took power
in January 1933; they continued as a basic part of Nazi rule until May 8, 1945, when the war, and the Nazi regime, ended.

The events of the Holocaust occurred in two main phases: 1933-1939 and 1939-1945.

I. 1933-1939:

On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor, the most powerful position in the German government, by the aged President Hindenburg who hoped Hitler could lead the
nation out of its grave political and economic crisis. Hitler was the leader of the right-wing National Socialist German Workers Party (called the Nazi Party for short); it was, by 1933,
one of the strongest parties in Germany, even though * reflecting the country's multi-party system * the Nazis had only won a plurality of 33 percent of the votes in the 1932 elections to
the German parliament (Reichstag).

Once in power, Hitler moved quickly to end German democracy. He convinced his cabinet to invoke emergency clauses of the Constitution which permitted the suspension of
individual freedoms of the press, speech, and assembly. Special security forces * the Special State Police (the Gestapo), the Storm Troopers (S.A.), and the Security Police (S.S.) *
murdered or arrested leaders of opposition political parties (communists, socialists, and liberals). The Enabling Act of March 23, 1933, forced through a Reichstag already purged of
many political opponents, gave dictatorial powers to Hitler.

Also in 1933, the Nazis began to put into practice their racial ideology. Echoing ideas popular in Germany as well as most other western nations well before the 1930s, the Nazis
believed that the Germans were "racially superior" and that there was a struggle for survival between them and "inferior races." They saw Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and the
handicapped as a serious biological threat to the purity of the "German (Aryan) Race,"[footnote #1] what they called the "master race."

Jews, who numbered around 500,000 in Germany (less than one percent of the total population in 1933), were the principal target of Nazi hatred. The Nazis mistakenly identified
Jews as a race and defined this race as "inferior." They also spewed hatemongering propaganda which unfairly blamed Jews for Germany's economic depression and the country's
defeat in World War I (1914-1918).

In 1933, new German laws forced Jews to quit their civil service jobs, university and law court positions, and other areas of public life. In April 1933, a boycott of Jewish businesses
was instituted. In 1935, laws proclaimed at Nuremberg stripped German Jews of their citizenship even though they retained limited rights. These "Nuremberg Laws" defined Jews
not by their religion or by how they wanted to identify themselves but by the blood of their grandparents. Between 1937 and 1939, new anti-Jewish regulations segregated Jews
further and made daily life very difficult for them: Jews could not attend public schools, go to theaters, cinemas, or vacation resorts, or reside, or even walk, in certain sections of
German cities. ... more

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