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In Defense Of Affirmative Action Hardcover – March 21, 1996

2.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this brief book, American University economist Bergmann makes a partially convincing defense of affirmative action, focusing on its role in the workplace rather than in university admissions or in the awarding of contracts. While she observes that affirmative action plans involve efforts at outreach and diversity training, she acknowledges that such programs "do have quotalike aspects" and claims that such goals are justifiable, at least for a certain duration. She cites evidence-from statistics and studies using equally qualified white and black "testers"-that employment discrimination remains significant and that we need a systematic program that "pushes" employers to think differently: "The purpose of affirmative action is to supply that push." She offers decent rebuttals of many opponents of affirmative action, noting that we don't have an ironclad adherence to "merit" (what about veterans' preferences?), and that affirmative action based on class rather than race wouldn't be effective. However, a true defense of the policy requires a more nuanced journalistic investigation of how it actually works.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Scientific American

Makes the most persuasive case to date for continuing the project of actively securing fair treatment for women and minorities. . . . Bergmann introduces important new evidence about how decisions to hire and promote are actually made. She resets the terms of the debate. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Edition edition (March 21, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465098339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465098330
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,588,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am a great and consistent supporter of A.A. However, as an Indian-American, I have seen serious problems which A.A. presents to Asian-Americans, which economically and educationally priviledged white women pay lip service to but do not confront directly. As a feminist I found most of Bergman's book compelling. Nevertheless, she is so glib in speaking of 'women and minorities', conceptually in tandem, that she feeds the stereotyping conducted by conservative critics of the Left's position on A.A. At some point we, as women of all races, have to confront the genuine problems of classism within the ranks of feminism, especially the white feminist elite. Prop 209 could have been defeated in California, were it not for middleclass white women pre empting the much more urgent protests conducted by minorities. 'Women and minorities' is a useful construct, particularly when addressing political unfairness. But Affirmative Action should *never* be an excuse for the feminist elite (especially academic feminists, who hardly speak for all of us!) to use discrimination as a soap box for their own interests. White women, as well as Asian-American women, are well represented as students in most of prestigious academia; it is in teaching jobs that there are still problems of representation.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for those preparing to defend affirmative action. If you are anti-AA, I suggest you read this, you might find some of your previous conclusions reversed. In all, a good analytical study and conclusion on what AA is and should be.
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Format: Paperback
I am amazed after 200 years of achievement in the arena of civil rights that anyone would think that discrimination is a useful tool to end discrimination. I was a strong supporter of affirmative action. But what it claimed it would do and what it actually did were two opposite programs. I soon discovered that hiring policies were not designed to hire the most qualified regardless of race, religion, sex, or age. The hiring policies were designed to hire minorities and women regardless of qualifications. In most cases workers were hired to do repetitive line working jobs and paid minimum wages or less. But as operating costs rose from rework and poor quality control more and more companies farmed out these jobs to foreign nations where labor was even cheaper. Guest workers were then brought in to replace white collar jobs. None of this allowed money to be put back into the economy for American citizens and communities were destroyed as aliens entering the country illegally began taking the jobs away from American workers. Obviously the proponents of AA were from well-to-do families and never cared or even thought about civil rights prior to college. Fresh graduates discovered they could leap out of college and displace a male executive, who took years of working hard earning his job by working his way up the ladder, and grab his job without any experience. Meanwhile American minorities from poor families continue to struggle as jobs were not given them but given to foreign workers entering the country to take advantage of the situation. AA set back the civil rights movement 100 years. Meanwhile young American males, the victims of AA have no future and are underachieving, although you would be hard pressed to find anyone who will admit the fact.Read more ›
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