Week 1 Reading - Diversity Rationale

Week 1 Reading - Diversity Rationale - The Diversity...

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Rationale in igher Education: An Overvlew of the Contemporary Legal Context Adalberto Aguirre, Jr., and Rub6n Martinez HILE U.S. SOCIETY PORTRAYS ITSELF AS ROOTED IN A HISTORY OF EQUAL opportunity, institutionalized forms of discrimination limit the life Iv [chances of minority populations in the United States. The social struggles of the 1960s resulted in the formalization and expansion of social policy interventions intended to promote equal opportunity for socially oppressed groups (Aguirre and Martinez, 1993; Woodhouse, 2002). One of these social policy interventions became known as affirmative action. This public policy has been controversial since its inception in the 1960s because it challenges the racialized production of merit by trying to "close the gap" between the privileged majority (white) andunprivileged minority (non-white) in U.S. society (Greenberg, 2002). It is also controversial because it attacks unequal access to opportunity in society by trying to implement remedies that redress the "lingering effects" of discrimi- nation against racial and ethnic minority persons in U.S. society (Cunningham et al., 2002). Broadly conceived, affirmative action is a term that refers to measures or practices that seek to terminate discriminatory practices by permitting the consideration of race, ethnicity, sex, or national origin in the availability of opportunity for a class of qualified individuals that have been the victims of historical, actual, or recurring discrimination. With its roots in the Wagner Act of the 1930s, affirmative action became racialized in the 1960s, and since then has been the focal point of white Americans concerned with the rise of reverse racism, the stigmatizing effects of affirmative action, and the need for color-blind policies in society (Platt, 1997). The Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978), represents the first major attack on, and the first major defense of, affirmative ADALBERTO AGUIRRE, JR., is a Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of California- Riverside (Riverside, CA 92521-0491; e-mail: Aguirre@citrus.ucr.edu) and a member of the Social Justice Editorial Board. He has authored various books and articles on stratification and inequality, formal organization, the sociology of education, sociolinguistics, and psycholinguistics. RUBEN MARTINEZ, of the University of Texas at San Antonio (e-mail: rmartinez@utsa.edu), is a sociologist, educator, diversity consultant, and former senior administrator in higher education. The co-author of Chicanos in Higher Education (1993), his research interests include race and ethnic relations, bioregional sociology, environmental justice, and the education of ethnic minority populations. Social Justice
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Week 1 Reading - Diversity Rationale - The Diversity...

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