affirmative action

noun

Definition of affirmative action 

: an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women sought to achieve a multicultural staff through affirmative action also : a similar effort to promote the rights or progress of other disadvantaged persons

Examples of affirmative action in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of the use of race in college admissions despite perennial debate about affirmative action. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, "Justice Department seeks to uncover secrets about selective college admissions," 9 Apr. 2018 Similar concerns have been raised about how the court will handle LGBTQ+ issues, voting-rights issues, and other social justice issues, like affirmative action, with a new conservative on the bench. Mackenzie Long, Teen Vogue, "Brett Kavanaugh Announced as President Trump's Supreme Court Nominee," 10 July 2018 The argument that affirmative action has gone too far falls flat. Richard J. Reddick, Fortune, "How Undoing Affirmative Action Hurts America's Colleges," 5 July 2018 The Supreme Court has upheld race-conscious admission practices as recently as 2016, but affirmative action in higher education remains a contentious issue. Nick Anderson, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump administration moves to rescind Obama-era guidance on race in admissions," 3 July 2018 Women’s wins are the result of 15 years of electoral reforms, in which Mexico incrementally refined the affirmative action rules that compel political parties to nominate women. Magda Hinojosa, Washington Post, "Women won big in Mexico’s elections — taking nearly half the legislature’s seats. Here’s why.," 11 July 2018 His administration’s policy on immigration, foreign travel and affirmative action leave no doubt that Trump is unquestionably a bigot. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Donald Trump is Not Making White People More Racist, He's Making Them Act More Racist," 5 July 2018 But the unending conveyor belt of affirmative action plaintiffs means that the justices will never want for an opportunity to revisit their most recent take on the subject. Jay Willis, GQ, "The Trump Administration Is Hell-Bent on Ending Affirmative Action," 3 July 2018 The new affirmative action guidance could add to an already contentious fight over the next justice. Eric Tucker, Houston Chronicle, "Trump revokes Obama policy using race in school admissions," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affirmative action.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of affirmative action

1961, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

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The first known use of affirmative action was in 1961

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More Definitions for affirmative action

affirmative action

noun

English Language Learners Definition of affirmative action

: the practice of improving the educational and job opportunities of members of groups that have not been treated fairly in the past because of their race, sex, etc.

affirmative action

noun

Legal Definition of affirmative action 

: an active effort (as through legislation) to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups or women

More from Merriam-Webster on affirmative action

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about affirmative action

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