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Chapter 10-2

PP247 Chapter 10-2: Unit 10 Reading 2

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Craig Beam

The Moral Status of Affirmative Action By: Louis P. Pojman Introduction Both sides of the affirmative action debate have good will and appeal to moral principle Society has shown itself committed to eliminating unjust discrimination Both are attempting to bring about a better society, one which is colour blind Differ profoundly on the morally proper means to accomplish this goal Definitions Discrimination judging one thing to differ from another on the basis of some criterion To be rational is to discriminate between good and bad arguments, and to think normally is to discriminate between reasons based on valid principles and those based on invalid ones Prejudice a discrimination based on irrelevant grounds A prejudicial discrimination in action is immoral if it denies someone a fair deal An attitude or action where unfairness is present where one should know or do better Bias signifies a tendency towards one thing rather than another where the evidence is incomplete or based on nonmoral factors Implies ignorance or incomplete knowledge Equal Opportunity offering everyone a fair chance at the best positions that society has at its disposal Only native aptitude and effort should be decisive in the outcome, not factors of race, sex, or special favours Affirmative Action the effort to rectify the injustice of the past by special policies When we look at a social problem from a backwardlooking perspective, we need to determine who has committed or benefited from a wrongful or prejudicial act to determine who deserves compensation for that act When we look at a social problem from a forwardlooking perspective, we need to determine what a just society (one free from prejudice) would look like and how to obtain that kind of society Weak Affirmative Action involves such measures as the elimination of segregation (namely the idea of separate but =), widespread advertisement to groups not previously represented in certain privileged positions, special scholarships for the disadvantaged classes (poor), using underrepresentation or a history of past discrimination, etc. Strong Affirmative Action more + steps to eliminate past injustice, such as reverse discrimination, hiring on the basis of racegender, etc. A Brief History of Affirmative Action Racial segregation was declared inherently and unjustly discriminatory and a violation of the constitution rights to = protection in 1954 following Brown v. Board of Education
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