Affirmative Action Is Dead, Long Live Affirmative ActionNaomi Zack (Lehman College (CUNY))
Philosophy, Race, and Justice
- Center for Humanities and the Public Sphere
- African American Studies
- Department of History
- Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law
Abstract: This paper builds on ideas in a chapter of my forthcoming book with Oxford University Press, Intersectionality: A Philosophical View, and it anticipates theses in a book in progress, Affirmative Action is Dead, Long Live Affirmative Action. With elite schools as a target, the US Supreme Court has struck down what’s known as Affirmative Action, whereby minority racial identities may be positive factors for admissions. However, more than a half century of resistance to the backlash against Affirmative Action ensures that the idea of Affirmative Action leads to new conceptions of it and progressive action on that basis. One ‘candidate’ for these efforts is consideration of class in place of race. However, there is “class” in the Marxist sense of identity tied to economics, and “class” as forms of ‘capital’ that can be taken up á l carte, so to speak. Along those lines, I argue for the importance of higher education for minorities as an egalitarian opportunity to pursue and develop leisure, an argument that resurrects the wrongness of Booker T. Washington’s aspirations for advancement through primarily or only the practical work and labor needed by dominant sectors of society.
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