Affirmative action is a much-debated policy, in employment as well as in education, in the Supreme Court as well as on the street. Yet as this book shows, affirmative action is both sensible and effective, differing little from many other government programs that evoke no controversy. Why don’t Americans wholeheartedly support affirmative action?
In this timely and accessible book, Faye J. Crosby analyzes several different explanations offered by social scientists to answer this important question. Some explanations suggest that opposition stems from a belief that affirmative action functions as a governmentally sanctioned form of reverse racism or sexism, or that it is ineffective or socially disruptive. Other explanations locate the problem in the ignorance or prejudice of the people who oppose the policy.
Crosby concludes by offering a different explanation, proposing that the American failure to endorse wholeheartedly what is a fair and effective policy arises, ironically, from Americans’ infatuation with justice. Smitten with the concept of merit, says Crosby, we are perturbed by a policy that invites us to recognize the complications of social justice.
Faye J. Crosby is professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of many books and articles, including Justice, Gender and Affirmative Action, and Affirmative Action: The Pros and Cons of Policy and Practice. She also contributed to the preparation of one of the amicus briefs for the recent Supreme Court cases about affirmative action.
Sign up to the Yale newsletter for book news, offers, free extracts and more
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.