Affirmative Action for the Future
Publication Year: 2009
At a time when private and public institutions of higher education are reassessing their admissions policies in light of new economic conditions, Affirmative Action for the Future is a clarion call for the need to keep the door of opportunity open. In 2003, U.S. Supreme Court's Grutter and Gratz decisions vindicated the University of Michigan Law School's affirmative action program while striking down the particular affirmative action program used for undergraduates at the university. In 2006 and 2008, state referendums banned affirmative action in some states while upholding it in others. Taking these developments into account, James P. Sterba draws on his vast experience as a champion of affirmative action to mount a new moral and legal defense of the practice as a useful tool for social reform.
Sterba documents the level of racial and sexual discrimination that still exists in the United States and then, arguing that diversity is a public good, he calls for expansion of the reach of affirmative action as a mechanism for encouraging true diversity. In his view, we must include in our understanding of affirmative action the need to favor those who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, regardless of race and sex. Elite colleges and universities could best facilitate opportunities for students from working-class and poor families, in Sterba's view, by cutting back on legacy and athletic preferences that overwhelmingly benefit wealthy white applicants.
Published by: Cornell University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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In 2003, I wrote a debate book on affi rmative action with Carl Cohen of the University of Michigan. Cohen, a long time critic of affi rmative action, had used the Freedom of Information Act to secure data about Michigan’s affi rmative action programs. He then gave this data to the Center for Indi-vidual Rights, which brought the lawsuits against the University of Michi-...
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In Grutter v. Bollinger (2003)—the U.S. Supreme Court’s most impor-tant decision on affi rmative action—Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, writ-ing for the majority, seemed to put a time constraint on the justifi cation of race-based affi rmative action. She ended her opinion with the claim “we expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer ...
1. Current Racial and Sexual Discrimination
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Surveys in the United States today show that white Americans over-whelmingly publicly ascribe to principles of racial equality and integra-tion.1 At the same time, 80 percent of whites recently surveyed deny that racial discrimination against people of color is a signifi cant problem.2 In another survey, 70 percent of whites believe that blacks are treated equally ...
2. A Legal History of Race- and Sex-Based Affirmative Action
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The fi rst use of the phrase “affi rmative action” in the United States is com-monly attributed to Executive Order 10925, issued by President John Ken-nedy in 1961.1 Two years later, when Kennedy proposed the legislation that became the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he and leading liberals of the 1960s assumed that by simply banning discrimination government could create ...
3. How Best to Define Affirmative Action
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The degree to which people in general are in favor of affi rmative action largely depends on how that policy is described. For example, a Los Angeles Times poll showed that 58 percent of African Americans “opposed special preferences based on race and not merit,” and a Washington Post/ABC poll showed that roughly two out of three women “oppose preferential treat-...
4. A Defense of Outreach Affirmative Action
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Outreach affi rmative action is easily the most defensible form of af-fi rmative action. Even strong critics, like Louis Pojman, Thomas Sowell, and Carl Cohen defend this particular form of affi rmative action. Thus, Pojman supports what he calls “weak affi rmative action,” which includes the “widespread advertisement to groups not previously represented in ...
5. A Defense of Remedial Affirmative Action
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Although the U.S. Supreme Court has adopted different positions at dif-ferent times, it has always held that it is permissible to adopt remedial affi rmative action as compensation for identifi able acts of purposeful dis-crimination committed by that very institution. Of course, it is rare for an institution that is engaging in affi rmative action to actually admit that it ...
6. Objections to Remedial Affirmative Action
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The remedial affi rmative action that I have defended in the previ-ous chapter has been criticized in various ways. Specifi cally, critics have 1) It is not required to compensate for unjust institutions of the distant past.2) It confuses the legitimate goal of eliminating discrimination with the ille-With respect to the fi rst objection that affi rmative action is not required ...
7. A Defense of Diversity Affirmative Action
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Unlike remedial affi rmative action, diversity affi rmative action is not grounded in the ideal of remedying discrimination, whether present or past. Rather its goal is diversity, which in turn is justifi ed in terms of either the educational benefi ts it provides or its ability to create a more effective work force in such areas as policing and community relations, or achieving ...
8. Objections to Diversity Affirmative Action
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The diversity affi rmative action that I have defended in chapter 7 has been criticized in various ways. Specifi cally, critics have claimed that this form of affi rmative action is objectionable for the following reasons:2) It is unfair to the white males against whom it discriminates.In support of the fi rst objection, Charles Murray claims that affi rmative ac-...
9. Affirmative Action around the World
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In his 2004 book, Affi rmative Action Around the World, Thomas Sowell argues that not only are the consequences of affi rmative action bad for the United States, but also that a study of affi rmative action in other countries suggests that things could get worse for the United States if it pursues its More specifi cally, Sowell summarizes what he thinks we can learn from ...
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Following the U.S. Civil War, there was a fl urry of legal activity that attempted to remedy the injustices of slavery. The withdrawal of federal troops from the South in 1877, together with new oppressive state laws and supportive Supreme Court decisions, however, ushered in a period of Jim Crow laws, culminating in the Supreme Court’s separate but equal deci-...
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Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2009