Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action

Contrary to what many conservatives assert, preferential treatment is not something new to our patterns of public policy. Moreover, it has an ethical basis in what might be called a “higher public purpose”—that of undoing and compensating for a long history of discrimination and white supremacy.

When conservatives complain that affirmative action is “reverse discrimination,” it is largely an ideological ploy; they don’t extend their indictment to government programs that privilege and thereby foster mobility for assorted businesses, veterans, and farmers, among others. In any event, job market breakthroughs for African-Americans in the last three decades have hardly diminished job opportunities for white males.

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