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Quiz about Race and Means
Quiz about Race and Means

Race and Means Trivia Quiz


This quiz attempts to take an unbiased look at the history of affirmative action in American society and politics, from the latter half of the twentieth century to 2000s. It shouldn't require any expert knowledge, though.

A multiple-choice quiz by adams627. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
adams627
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
330,625
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
2573
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 24 (5/10), matthewpokemon (10/10), srandall (7/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. The origins of affirmative action in US history lie in the period soon after the Civil War, in an era typically referred to as Reconstruction. In a famous historical document, the Equal Protection Clause stated that: "No state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." In which historical American text do those words famously appear? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. The first time the term "affirmative action" was used in American politics was in Executive Order 10925, which acknowledged the creation of "affirmative action to ensure that all applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." Which president signed that order into law in 1961? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. One of the most important texts relating to affirmative action in the twentieth century was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964. Title VII of the law deals most strongly with employer discrimination and affirmative action. According to the law, for which one of the following attributes was discrimination allowed in hiring prospective employees? (Hint: Remember, it was the 1960s in the United States) Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. In 1969, President Nixon signed a law that would force contractors to hire minority workers, one of the earliest affirmative action programs. The plan, which might have included programs designed to repair Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, was named after which northeastern city? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. In 1971, the Supreme Court case Griggs v. Duke Power Co. was argued. The power company had a history of segregating its positions so that African-Americans worked in its Labor department, and after the Civil Rights Act was passed, the company began using IQ tests or high school diplomas as criteria for employment in other, more prestigious departments. What did the court decide for the case? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Another significant Supreme Court cases in affirmative action history was settled in 1978. Allan Bakke's lawsuit protested reverse discrimination that prevented his acceptance into a prestigious institution. Which institution rejected Allan's application, despite his markedly better qualifications than other candidates? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. To replace controversy over affirmative action based on race or ethnicity, some people in the early 21st century called for the elimination of physical characteristics as a basis for such a program. They argued that to eliminate disparate inequality in society, affirmative action should be based on which of the following? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. In the late 20th century and early 21st, one of the strongest critics of affirmative action was a Supreme Court justice who argued that the program "lowers the bar" for minorities and therefore limits a feeling of achievement to high-strivers. Which second African-American Supreme Court justice vehemently argued against affirmative action in cases like Grutter v. Bollinger? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. In 2009, the Supreme Court overturned part of its ruling in the Bakke case by its decision in Ricci v. DeStefano. Officials in New Haven, CT, had thrown out test scores for an examination to promote certain individuals to management positions, because African-Americans performed notably poorer on the test. In what public service job were Ricci and company denied a management position? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. By 2010, five states had banned affirmative action in employment practices. Four of them were California, Nebraska, Florida, and Washington state. What was the fifth state on the list, notable for a large African-American population working in the automobile industry? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The origins of affirmative action in US history lie in the period soon after the Civil War, in an era typically referred to as Reconstruction. In a famous historical document, the Equal Protection Clause stated that: "No state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." In which historical American text do those words famously appear?

Answer: Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution

Affirmative action, at its heart, is the subjective selection of people, based on ethnicity, religion, race, or other characteristics, for certain positions in an institution. Usually, affirmative action is used to promote minorities to positions by establishing target numbers of each group. It is not present only in the United States; for example, countries as diverse as Canada, Malaysia, India, Israel, Finland, and many others use affirmative action for specific government positions.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution is often considered the most significant of the "Reconstruction Amendments" (the 13th Amendment banned slavery; the 15th gave African-Americans the right to vote). In addition to the Equal Protection Clause, it contains the Citizenship Clause, which gave all people born in the United States citizenship (a right negated by the decision in Scott v. Sandford). It also contains the Due Process Clause, which essentially forced state governments to acknowledge personal freedoms given by the Bill of Rights.
2. The first time the term "affirmative action" was used in American politics was in Executive Order 10925, which acknowledged the creation of "affirmative action to ensure that all applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." Which president signed that order into law in 1961?

Answer: John F. Kennedy

The 1960s were a time of political and social change in the United States. In 1954, Thurgood Marshall successfully argued in front of the Supreme Court that segregation of schools was unconstitutional, in the famous Brown v. Board decision. The Court ruled that segregation was "inherently unequal" and ordered integration, famously declaring that it should happen "with all deliberate speed."

Kennedy, elected in 1960 against Richard Nixon, became a standard-bearer for affirmative action. He issued Executive Order 10925 on March 6, 1961, beginning the first policy of affirmative action in the country. The order would later be the founder of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Kennedy justified the document by saying that discrimination negatively affected the American economy and security, and that affirmative action would end the divisiveness caused by years of slavery and racism.
3. One of the most important texts relating to affirmative action in the twentieth century was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964. Title VII of the law deals most strongly with employer discrimination and affirmative action. According to the law, for which one of the following attributes was discrimination allowed in hiring prospective employees? (Hint: Remember, it was the 1960s in the United States)

Answer: Political affiliation

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 has a fascinating history. President Kennedy had fought hard for the bill to pass, but after his assassination in 1963, new president Johnson became a fervent advocate for the law. In the Senate, the bill was opposed by staunch southern leaders like Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd, who filibustered for 14 hours against the Act. However, Hubert Humphrey finally mustered the support to end the filibuster and vote for cloture, which succeeded in passing the law.

The most significant omission from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was political affiliation. The law states, "The phrase 'unlawful employment practices' shall not be deemed to include any action or measure taken by an employer ... with respect to an individual who is a member of the Communist Party of the United States." Basically, employers couldn't discriminate against race, sex, or religion, but they were legally excused from hiring Communists. Also, employers were allowed to discriminate against their employees on the basis that either race, sex, religion, color, or national origin were characteristics that affected an individual's capacity for a specific job. In the Supreme Court case Dothard v. Rawlinson, the Court ruled that height, sex, and weight were valid discriminatory criteria for hiring men rather than women as prison guards.
4. In 1969, President Nixon signed a law that would force contractors to hire minority workers, one of the earliest affirmative action programs. The plan, which might have included programs designed to repair Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, was named after which northeastern city?

Answer: Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Plan was first passed in the earlier 1960s, but it was declared illegal by the US Comptroller General in 1968. President Richard Nixon, who was looking to salvage his reputation with civil rights, introduced a Revised Philadelphia Plan in 1969.

The plan was notable because it was the first government program to actually document quotas for minority workers and timetables for goals to be reached. The quotas for the long term were actually consistently less than the percentage of minority workers in construction in Philadelphia at the time.

Some citizens, angered about the affirmative action, sued against the bill, but lost. The first program succeeded, and in 1992, Congress passed a law that gave its support to affirmative action programs modeled after the Philadelphia Plan.
5. In 1971, the Supreme Court case Griggs v. Duke Power Co. was argued. The power company had a history of segregating its positions so that African-Americans worked in its Labor department, and after the Civil Rights Act was passed, the company began using IQ tests or high school diplomas as criteria for employment in other, more prestigious departments. What did the court decide for the case?

Answer: For Griggs: Tests used to determine employment must be related to the job at hand.

In Griggs v. Duke Power Co, the Supreme Court ruled that because the IQ tests or high school diplomas were broad tests not related to the qualifications necessary for work at the power plants, they violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Such tactics were intentionally being used to limit minority employment at the power company, and therefore were discriminatory according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

A seemingly-similar, but fundamentally different case arose in 1976, in the case Washington v. Davis. Two African-American workers sued a company for using a verbal aptitude test to determine employment. They contended that because Caucasians disproportionately outperformed African-Americans on the test, the test violated the Civil Rights Act. However, the Supreme Court here found that the test was a legitimate qualification, and importantly, that an "official action will not be held unconstitutional solely because it results in a racially disproportionate impact." The vote was 7-2 (William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall dissented) and laid the foundation for future lawsuits relating to affirmative action.
6. Another significant Supreme Court cases in affirmative action history was settled in 1978. Allan Bakke's lawsuit protested reverse discrimination that prevented his acceptance into a prestigious institution. Which institution rejected Allan's application, despite his markedly better qualifications than other candidates?

Answer: The University of California

In 1973 and 1974, a Caucasian Californian named Allan Bakke applied to the University of California's medical school program. Bakke's application was superb: his GPA and MCAT scores were much higher than the average applicant to the university, and his personal interview was notably successful. However, he was rejected twice, and the second time, he filed a lawsuit. Bakke claimed that a special admissions process, which established quotas for affirmative action students, violated his own Fourteenth Amendment rights, by making race a significant factor in university admissions. He noted that his objective scores were significantly higher than those of less-qualified but more racially or ethnically-diverse admittants. Such favorability toward minority groups is critically called "reverse discrimination."

The Court was divided in the Bakke decision. Justice Powell became the tiebreaking vote, and he found an intermediate opinion between the other eight justices. He concluded that while race could not be used as a direct way to exclude a candidate, it could be used as part of a holistic admission process.
7. To replace controversy over affirmative action based on race or ethnicity, some people in the early 21st century called for the elimination of physical characteristics as a basis for such a program. They argued that to eliminate disparate inequality in society, affirmative action should be based on which of the following?

Answer: Family income

Income-based affirmative action is a proposed substitute to race-based affirmative action and gives this quiz its title (Race and Means). Supporters of the idea note that despite decades of affirmative action, very little has changed in the American socioeconomic landscape. Economic inequality in society still exists strongly on racial lines. They argue that helping low-income families rather than minorities will improve that statistic.

Others contend the point. One argument against income-based affirmative action is that academic qualifications and income are practically directly proportional. Economic-based affirmative action could help a student from a struggling family pay for a prestigious university. However, those students rarely have the test scores or GPAs present in higher-income families that would lead to success at the Ivy League college.
8. In the late 20th century and early 21st, one of the strongest critics of affirmative action was a Supreme Court justice who argued that the program "lowers the bar" for minorities and therefore limits a feeling of achievement to high-strivers. Which second African-American Supreme Court justice vehemently argued against affirmative action in cases like Grutter v. Bollinger?

Answer: Clarence Thomas

The arguments for and against affirmative action are potent. Critics of affirmative action often call the policy reverse discrimination and say that it limits the achievements of more meriting students. Used in the college admissions process or when hiring individuals, affirmative action can choose individuals who aren't always the most qualified students. Other opponents, like Thomas, take the tack that affirmative action detracts from a successful minority's achievements, because he or she got a "helping hand."

On the other hand, though, sociological studies have shown that discrimination is still present in the United States. Proponents of the program point to surveys that show the overwhelming economic and social inequality in different races: Caucasians and Asian-Americans tend to have higher incomes and stronger test scores than African-Americans. A 2005 study at Princeton compared admissions rates of races at five top colleges in the United States and found that African-American students, while still making up a significant minority, "earned" approximately 230 "extra points" on their SAT. To clarify, such applicants could be accepted with SAT scores below the school's mean by virtue of their race. Without affirmative action, social scientists argue that class inequalities will never disappear, because minorities are still discriminated against.
9. In 2009, the Supreme Court overturned part of its ruling in the Bakke case by its decision in Ricci v. DeStefano. Officials in New Haven, CT, had thrown out test scores for an examination to promote certain individuals to management positions, because African-Americans performed notably poorer on the test. In what public service job were Ricci and company denied a management position?

Answer: Firefighting

Nineteen New Haven firefighters brought charges against the city for nullifying the results of a promotion exam because of its "disparate impact" on the African-American minority. According to statistics, Caucasians had approximately twice as much success as African-American counterparts. City officials nullified the test results because they were afraid of a backlash about the resulting racial impact on the crew.

The main plaintiff, Ricci, had given up a second job and studied for hours to prepare for the exam, and was understandably outraged when his passing score was dismissed.

The firefighters declared reverse discrimination, and the case made it to the Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 that the decision violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
10. By 2010, five states had banned affirmative action in employment practices. Four of them were California, Nebraska, Florida, and Washington state. What was the fifth state on the list, notable for a large African-American population working in the automobile industry?

Answer: Michigan

Michigan was the fifth state on the list and one of the earliest to pass legislation against affirmative action, mostly because of two resonant Supreme Court decisions in 2010, both relating to admissions in the University of Michigan. In Gratz v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the college's admissions process depended too heavily on race and was therefore unconstitutional, an observation contrary to the opinion in Regents v. Bakke.

In Grutter v. Bollinger, a white Michigan applicant to the university's law school named Barbara Grutter successfully sued in a similar vein. Grutter's argument, like Bakke's, was reverse discrimination.

The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision included a famous quote by Sandra Day O'Connor: that although prejudice and discrimination were still present in the country, they would not be 25 years hence, and there would be no need for affirmative action.
Source: Author adams627

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