AffAction - Addressing Inequality Affirmative Action...

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Addressing Inequality Affirmative Action Meanings of “Affirmative Action” Aggressive Equality: seek underrepresented groups as applicants, document that you are not discriminating against them, statistical patterns part of the documentation Preference at the Margin: among equally-qualified applicants, prefer the underrepresented Different Standards: Quotas, set-asides, different qualifications Affirmative Action in the 1960s Was promoted to address the problems of overt discrimination Long-term defense of employment discrimination by overt racists & by employers who did not want any interference in their practices “Can’t legislate equality” the motto of resistance Where did the opponents of equality go after 1966? Myths about Affirmative Action It caused racial hostility It caused perceptions of black inferiority It turned a situation of racial equality into a situation of “reverse discrimination” Employers would practice racial equality if left to their own devices Unfortunately, discrimination in favor of whites is still common. How Does Discrimination Happen? Conscious, overt prejudice Statistical discrimination Reflection of customers, wider society Unconscious discrimination Sliding standards
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Comfort with people like yourself Irrelevant hiring criteria that discriminate Customs & practices that make people feel unwelcome, discourage applications Employment Aggressive equality is the most common Some use of preference at the margin (especially where workforce diversity is important) Different standards are rare Quotas are illegal Quota-like practices have been imposed by courts when companies were found guilty of discrimination. Some companies voluntarily have quota-like practices. Aggressive Equality Employers are required to use objective hiring criteria and to keep data to demonstrate Serious effort to advertise positions broadly Objective qualifications of those hired & not Assumption that equality in hiring will, in the long run, lead to a work force that mirrors the pool of qualified applicants Statistical monitoring Goals and timetables Debates about nature of the pool of qualified applicants Resistance to Aggressive Equality Burden of documenting Concerns that “goals and timetables” become quotas in practice “People skills” and “attitude” are hard to measure, are important in many jobs, and are deeply affected by cultural similarities among people A desire to discriminate and get away with it Preference at the Margin If roughly equal, prefer those underrepresented. NOT “solely because of race” Not legally required unless the employer has been found guilty of discrimination Sometimes seen in public employment where there is a substantial minority clientele: Police, teachers etc.
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Businesses voluntarily favor diversity to satisfy a diverse customer base
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