Was I Entitled or Should I Apologize? Affirmative Action Going Forward

Journal of Ethics 15 (3):253-263 (2011)
Abstract
As a U.S. civil rights policy, affirmative action commonly denotes race-conscious and result-oriented efforts by private and public officials to correct the unequal distribution of economic opportunity and education attributed to slavery, segregation, poverty and racism. Opponents argue that affirmative action (1) violates ideals of color-blind public policies, offending moral principles of fairness and constitutional principles of equality and due process; (2) has proven to be socially and politically divisive; (3) has not made things better; (4) mainly benefits middle-class, wealthy and foreign-born blacks; (4) stigmatizes its beneficiaries; and (5) compromises the self-esteem and self-respect of beneficiaries who know that they have been awarded preferential treatment. By way of a thought experiment, imagine that after decades of public policy and experimentation, the United States public finally came to agree: affirmative action is morally and legally wrong. Employing such a thought experiment, this essay by a beneficiary of affirmative action—written in response to James Sterba’s Affirmative Action for the Future (2009)—examines duties of moral repair and the possibility that the past beneficiaries of affirmative action owe apologies, compensation or some other highly personal form of corrective accountability. Beneficiaries of affirmative action have experienced woundedness and moral insecurity. Indeed, the practice of affirmative action comes with a psychology, a set of psychological benefits and burdens whose moral logic those of us who believe in our own fallibility—as much as we believe in the justice of what we have received and conferred on others—should address.
Keywords Affirmative action  African American  Apology  Corrective justice  Discrimination  Race  Reparation
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,105
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Louis P. Pojman (1998). The Case Against Affirmative Action. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 12 (1):97-115.
Leo Groarke (1990). Affirmative Action as a Form of Restitution. Journal of Business Ethics 9 (3):207 - 213.
Steven N. Durlauf (2008). Affirmative Action, Meritocracy, and Efficiency. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (2):131-158.
Ovadia Ezra (2007). Equality of Opportunity and Affirmative Action. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (1):22-37.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-10-18

Total downloads

64 ( #23,255 of 1,101,772 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

13 ( #13,765 of 1,101,772 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.