The When Affirmative Action Was White: AnThe When Affirmative Action Was White: An

The 1930’s was a time of great change in the United States. Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president amidst the Great Depression and implemented his famous New Deal, a series of reforms, projects and programs designed to provide the country with relief, recovery, and reform. The New Deal paired with World War Two did help the economy and people’s morale recover. Some well known acts of the New Deal included the Social Security Act which provided pensions to those of old age and unemployment insurance; the Fair Labor Standards Act which implemented a minimum wage, overtime after forty hours, and set restrictions on child labor; and the GI Bill, which provided educational and housing benefits to veterans. These acts appear to be great, but they actually excluded various groups, most notably African Americans. Historically African Americans have been continuously discriminated against, and this was a time when they were pushing back and fighting for their rights, especially following World War Two. At the time, it seemed as though this was the goal of the New Deal because it never explicitly stated in the acts that specific racial groups were excluded. Instead, it was implied. When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold Story of Racial inequality in Twentieth Century America by Ira Katznelson sought to demonstrate that the New Deal and Fair Deal were prejudice toward African Americans and widened the gap between whites and blacks, thus shaping racial inequality in America since the 1930s. This was technically the beginning of a period of affirmative action, which is the implementation of policies favoring minority groups, specifically racial groups, who have been subjected to discrimination to end and correct the suffering they have endured. However, according to Katznelson, the affirmative action was really for white Americans because it helped them, despite them not being disadvantaged. Policymakers allowed this to happen by making a Faustian Bargain, meaning abandoning their values, morals, and principles in order to maintain a certain benefit. Essentially the Democratic Party neglected equality to get a wide range of benefits for the majority-the white working class and therefore widening the socio-economic gap between whites and blacks. Government policy has helped shaped racial inequality in the US since the 1930s through various acts which when not analyzed thoroughly seem great. However, they actually were designed to widen the socio-economic gap between blacks and whites because they were meant to exclude African Americans in practice.