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Affirmative Action and Racial Preference: A Debate / Edition 1

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Overview

Racial preferences are among the most contentious issues in our society, touching on fundamental questions of fairness and the proper role of racial categories in government action. Now two contemporary philosophers, in a lively debate, lay out the arguments on each side.
Carl Cohen, a key figure in the University of Michigan Supreme Court cases, argues that racial preferences are morally wrong—forbidden by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and explicitly banned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also contends that such preferences harm society in general, damage the universities that use them, and undermine the minorities they were intended to serve. James P. Sterba counters that, far from being banned by the Constitution and the civil rights acts, affirmative action is actually mandated by law in the pursuit of a society that is racially and sexually just. The same Congress that adopted the 14th Amendment, he notes, passed race-specific laws that extended aid to blacks. Indeed, there are various kinds of affirmative action—compensation for past discrimination, remedial measures aimed at current discrimination, the guarantee of diversity—and Sterba reviews the Supreme Court cases that build a constitutional foundation for each. Affirmative action, he argues, favors qualified minority candidates, not unqualified ones. Both authors offer concluding comment on the University of Michigan cases decided in 2003.
Half a century after Brown v. Board of Education, issues pertaining to racial discrimination continue to grip American society. Ideal for courses in political, social, ethical, and legal philosophy, this penetrating debate explores the philosophical and legal arguments on all sides of affirmative action, but also reveals the passions that drive the issue to the forefront of public life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195148954
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/11/2003
  • Series: Point/Counterpoint Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

University of Notre Dame

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Table of Contents

Preface One, Carl Cohen Preface Two, James P. Sterba Cases
SECTION ONE: WHY RACE PREFERENCE IS WRONG AND BAD, Carl Cohen
Prologue: Wrongness and Badness
PART I: EQUALITY AND RACE PREFERENCE
1. Equality as a Moral Ideal
2. Affirmative Action
3. Race Preference: The Transformation of Affirmative Action
PART II: WHY RACE PREFERENCE IS WRONG
4. Race Preference Is Morally Wrong
5. Race Preference Is Against the Law
6. Race Preference Violates the Constitution
PART III: WHY RACE PREFERENCE IS BAD
7. Race Preference Is Bad for the Minorities Preferred
8. Race Preference Is Bad for the Universities that Give Preference
9. Race Preference Is Bad for Society as a Whole
Epilogue: The Future of Race Preference
SECTION TWO: DEFENDING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, DEFENDING PREFERENCES, James P. Sterba
1. A Legal History of Affirmative Action in the United States
2. A Definition of Affirmative Action
3. A Defense of Outreach Affirmative Action
4. A Defense of Remedial Affirmative Action
5. Remedial Affirmative Action and the U.S. Supreme Court
6. Racial Discrimination v. Sexual Discrimination
7. A Better Standard of Proof for Remedial Affirmative Action
8. A Defense of Diversity Affirmative Action
9. Objections to Affirmative Action
10. Affirmative Action outside the United States
Conclusion
SECTION THREE: REPLY TO JAMES P. STERBA, Carl Cohen
SECTION FOUR: REPLY TO CARL COHEN, James P. Sterba
SECTION FIVE: COMMENTS ON THE SUPREME COURT DECISION, Carl Cohen and James P. Sterba
Bibliography
Index

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