COVID-19 and Affirmative Action: A Response

Filosofia Theoretica: Journal of African Philosophy, Culture and Religions 11 (2):127-148 (2022)
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Abstract

Ovett Nwosimiri argues in a paper he published in 2021 that affirmative action and preferential hiring policies are no longer appropriate for South Africa because of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The case he makes is that since COVID-19 has impacted people of all races, there should no longer be any consideration of race in hiring policies and practices. He claims that continued preferential hiring practices unfairly discriminate against non-designated groups. I argue that this claim presumes that the pandemic has been a devastating but equalizing force in economic opportunity and participation for people in South Africa. I show that this claim is simply false and that the falsity of his claim undermines Nwosimiri’s case. Nwosimiri does not take account of the false premise his case is founded on because of his inappropriate methodological choice to ignore empirical evidence that has bearing on his argument.

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Phila M. Msimang
University of Stellenbosch

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