An analysis of the way affirmative action works

Jones Over the course of the past decade, affirmative action programs in higher education have come under increasingly sharp attack. The law schools at the University of Texas and the University of Michigan have been sued by white applicants denied admission claiming that they were victims of "reverse discrimination.

An analysis of the way affirmative action works

In the Beginning Inaffirmative action became an inflammatory public issue. But what did this mandate amount to? The Executive Order assigned to the Secretary of Labor the job of specifying rules of implementation.

Through these contractor commitments, the Department could indirectly pressure recalcitrant labor unions, who supplied the employees at job sites. Its predecessor, Order No.

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At first, university administrators and faculty found the rules of Order No. The number of racial and ethnic minorities receiving PhDs each year and thus eligible for faculty jobs was tiny. Any mandate to increase their representation on campus would require more diligent searches by universities, to be sure, but searches fated nevertheless largely to mirror past results.

The Revised Order, on the other hand, effected a change that punctured any campus complacency: Some among the professoriate exploded in a fury of opposition to the new rules, while others responded with an equally vehement defense of them.

For several decades Anglo-American philosophy had treated moral and political questions obliquely. First, John Rawls published in A Theory of Justice, an elaborate, elegant, and inspiring defense of a normative theory of justice Rawls Properly understood, affirmative action did not require or even permit the use of gender or racial preferences.

Affirmative action, if it did not impose preferences outright, at least countenanced them. Among the yea-sayers, opinion divided between those who said preferences were morally permissible and those who said they were not.

The Controversy Engaged The essays by Thomson and Nagel defended the use of preferences but on different grounds. Thomson endorsed job preferences for women and African-Americans as a form of redress for their past exclusion from the academy and the workplace.

Preferential policies, in her view, worked a kind of justice. Nagel, by contrast, argued that preferences might work a kind of social good, and without doing violence to justice. Institutions could for one or another good reason properly depart from standard meritocratic selection criteria because the whole system of tying economic reward to earned credentials was itself indefensible.

Justice and desert lay at the heart of subsequent arguments. Preferential hiring seen as redress looks perverse, they contended, since it benefits individuals African-Americans and women possessing good educational credentials least likely harmed by past wrongs while it burdens individuals younger white male applicants least likely to be responsible for past wrongs Simon—19; Sher; Sher81—82; and Goldman—1.

What rights were at issue? Defenders of preferences were no less quick to enlist justice and desert in their cause. Justice and individual desert need not be violated. WarrenLikewise, James Rachels defended racial preferences as devices to neutralize unearned advantages by whites.

Given the pervasiveness of racial discrimination, it is likely, he argued, that the superior credentials offered by white applicants do not reflect their greater effort, desert, or even ability.

Rather, the credentials reflect their mere luck at being born white. Rachels was less confident than Warren that preferences worked uniformly accurate offsets.

Reverse discrimination might do injustice to some whites; yet its absence would result in injustices to African-Americans who have been unfairly handicapped by their lesser advantages.

If racial and gender preferences for jobs or college admissions were supposed to neutralize unfair competitive advantages, they needed to be calibrated to fit the variety of backgrounds aspirants brought to any competition for these goods. Simply giving blanket preferences to African-Americans or women seemed much too ham-handed an approach if the point was to micro-distribute opportunities fairly Sherff.

Affirmative Action | Overview

Rights and Consistency To many of its critics, reverse discrimination was simply incoherent. To count by race, to use the means of numerical equality to achieve the end of moral equality, is counterproductive, for to count by race is to deny the end by virtue of the means.

The means of race counting will not, cannot, issue in an end where race does not matter Eastland and Bennett Neither he nor other critics thought so.

An analysis of the way affirmative action works

Principle must hold firm.Racism, discrimination and Affirmative Action are concepts that go hand in hand. This sample essay examines if these terms are just related or interchangeable.5/5(1). Mar 17,  · In the intervening period, scholars have been looking more closely at how affirmative action works in practice.

Based on how they interpret the data that have been collected, some of these scholars have come to believe that affirmative action doesn’t always help the students it’s supposed to. Workforce Analysis Worksheet must be completed for each occupational title identified.

Part C Sponsors must use the most current and discrete statistical data available in determining availability estimates for the labor market area specified by the sponsor in Part B. Census data is one example of an appropriate source of statistical information. He had offered my appointment as an example of the way affirmative action works.

He pointed out that he himself had not been eligible for a special appointment even though his own parents emigrated to this country when he was two, were poor, and lived in a rough neighborhood. The book is a fascinating personal story, but more important for the light it sheds on the way “affirmative action” works in our universities.

Vijay—who used his authentic middle name, JoJo, “star point guard for my family’s beloved Celtics” on his applications—is the son of Indian immigrants, his mother a highly regarded Boston ob-gyn and his father an architect. The book’s story of how affirmative action works in practice will be familiar to many, but Vijay’s anecdotes and experiences make it especially revealing.

All of his target schools had noble policy statements affirming that they do not discriminate on the basis of race.

Merit and Affirmative Action