Was I Entitled or Should I Apologize? Affirmative Action Going Forward
- Anita L. Allen
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
As a U.S. civil rights policy, affirmative action commonly denotes race-conscious and result-oriented efforts by private and public officials to correct the unequal distribution of economic opportunity and education attributed to slavery, segregation, poverty and racism. Opponents argue that affirmative action (1) violates ideals of color-blind public policies, offending moral principles of fairness and constitutional principles of equality and due process; (2) has proven to be socially and politically divisive; (3) has not made things better; (4) mainly benefits middle-class, wealthy and foreign-born blacks; (4) stigmatizes its beneficiaries; and (5) compromises the self-esteem and self-respect of beneficiaries who know that they have been awarded preferential treatment. By way of a thought experiment, imagine that after decades of public policy and experimentation, the United States public finally came to agree: affirmative action is morally and legally wrong. Employing such a thought experiment, this essay by a beneficiary of affirmative action—written in response to James Sterba’s Affirmative Action for the Future (2009)—examines duties of moral repair and the possibility that the past beneficiaries of affirmative action owe apologies, compensation or some other highly personal form of corrective accountability. Beneficiaries of affirmative action have experienced woundedness and moral insecurity. Indeed, the practice of affirmative action comes with a psychology, a set of psychological benefits and burdens whose moral logic those of us who believe in our own fallibility—as much as we believe in the justice of what we have received and conferred on others—should address.
- Allen, Anita L Affirmative action. In: Palmer, Colin eds. (2005) Encyclopedia of African-American culture and history: The Black experience in the Americas. MacMillan, New York, pp. 31-40
- Allen, Anita L Civic virtue, cultural bounty: The case for ethnoracial diversity. In: Macedo, Stephen, Tamir, Yael eds. (2001) Nomos XLIII: Moral and political education. NYU Press, New York, pp. 434-456
- Allen, Anita L Affirmative action: Moral success and political failure. In: Appelt, Erna, Jarosch, Monica eds. (1999) Combating racial discrimination: Affirmative action as a model for Europe. Berg Publishers, London, pp. 23-40
- Allen, Anita L The half-life of integration. In: Macedo, Stephen eds. (1996) Reassessing the sixties: Debating the political and cultural legacy. W.W. Norton, New York, pp. 207-227
- Allen, Anita L Legal rights for poor Blacks. In: Lawson, William eds. (1992) The underclass question. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, pp. 117-139
- Allen, Anita L. 1992–1993. The role model argument for faculty diversity. The Philosophical Forum, 26:267–281.
- Allen, Anita L. 1990–1991. On Being a Role Model. Berkeley Women’s Law Journal [renamed, Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law and Justice], 6:22–42.
- Carbado, Devon W, Harris, Cheryl I (2008) The new racial preferences. California Law Review 96: pp. 1139-1214
- Gratz v. Bollinger. 2003. 539 U.S. 244.
- Grutter v. Bollinger.2003. 539 U.S. 306.
- McCorvey, Norma, Meisler, Andy (1994) I am Roe: My life, Roe v. Wade and freedom of choice. HarperCollins, New York
- Onwuachi-Willig, Angela (2010) Another hair piece: Intersectional race and gender discrimination under title VII. Georgetown Law Journal 98: pp. 1079-1132
- Onwuachi-Willig, Angela, Campbell, Mary, Houh, Emily (2008) Cracking the egg: Which came first—stigma or affirmative action?. California Law Review 96: pp. 1299-1352
- Parents v. Seattle. 2007. 551 U.S. 701.
- Ricci v. DeStefano. 2009. 129 S. Ct. 2658, 557 U.S.
- Sterba, James P (2009) Affirmative action for the future. Cornell University Press, Ithaca
- Was I Entitled or Should I Apologize? Affirmative Action Going Forward
The Journal of Ethics
Volume 15, Issue 3 , pp 253-263
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Affirmative action
- African American
- Corrective justice
- Anita L. Allen (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA