In 1972, Congress passed two important laws that helped expand job opportunities to black workers. Called affirmative action laws, they required governments and public institutions to hire more minorities, including black and female workers, because of past discrimination against these minorities as a group. Since the laws were passed, there has been a huge increase in the number of minorities in all areas of employment. Nearly 20 years later, supporters believe affirmative action is still needed to make sure all people have the same access to jobs and other opportunities. Others say that affirmative action laws are no longer necessary because of equality that has already been achieved nationwide.
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