Initially, civil rights laws had sought to right discriminatory wrongs. Equal opportunity was frequently seen as proportionate representation based on census data. Discrimination was not only found in the intentional act of a real estate agent or an employment office, it was also found in housing patterns and wage rates. However, in the decades that followed, affirmative action became synonymous with "reverse discrimination" as whites began to resent opportunities afforded nonwhites. In the late 1970s, the courts began to strike down affirmative action programs that were designed to give minorities an opportunity to compete for federal contracts, by challenging programs that utilized "quotas."


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