A Conservative Critic of Affirmative Action

A Conservative Critic of Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action: Ethnic Intensity and Public Policy, by Nathan Glazer. New York: Basic Books. 248 pp.

Nathan Glazer is troubled by what he thinks is affirmative action, even though he concedes that “eve have not quite reached the degraded condition of the Nuremberg laws.” Yet, on a deeper level, he fears what affirmative action could be, namely a spur to a change in the class structure. His arguments against affirmative action procedures are weak; his stronger fears of potential long-range consequences emerge upon a careful reading.

Glazer’s main thesis is that affirmative action— which requires a good-faith effort on the part of employers to increase the proportion of minorities and women among their employees and aims at integrating blacks in schools and in housing— threatens the American ideals of individualism and free choice and violates the principles of the American tradition.