POS334-L: THE RACE AND ETHNICITY BOOK REVIEW DISCUSSION LIST
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Gertrude Ezorsky. Racism & Justice: The Case for Affirmative Action (New York: Cornell University Press, 1991).

From Subject
gmklass@.ilstu.edu (Gary Klass) Review of Ezorsky RACISM AND JUSTICE (Klass)
Phyllis Liddell <PEL983T@vma.smsu.edu> Re: Review of Ezorsky RACISM AND JUSTICE (Klass)
gmklass@.ilstu.edu (Gary Klass) Re: Review of Ezorsky RACISM AND JUSTICE (Klass)
Kaiulani S. Lie Review of Racism and Justice (Lie)
Davis Lewis Re: Review of Kaiulani Lie's book review:Race and Justice
"dan nemtusiak" <dpnemtu@.ilstu.edu> Review: RACISM AND JUSTICE
"marilyn hurtado" <mvhurta@.ilstu.edu> review-ezorsky
"heather wileaver" <hdwilea@.ilstu.edu> review of RACISM AND JUSTICE (Wileaver)
Kaiulani S. Lie Review: RACISM AND JUSTICE (Lie)
marshall plumley <mbpluml@.ilstu.edu> RACISM & JUSTICE (Marshall Plumley)
"Melanie M. Rosiak" <mmrosia@.ilstu.edu> Review of Racism and Justice (Ezorsky)
marshall plumley <mbpluml@.ilstu.edu> Further comments on Racism & Justice
Vinson Racism & Justice: The Case for Affirmative Action (Vinson)
Adam E Sebastian <aeseba0@ilstu.edu> Racism & Justice (Adam Sebastian)
ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM> Racism and Justice (Miller)
Scott Berends <swberen@ilstu.edu> Re: Racism and Justice (Miller)
Autumn Pemble <atpembl@ilstu.edu> Racism & Justice (Autumn Pemble)
ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM> Re: Racism and Justice (Miller)
Adam E Sebastian <aeseba0@ilstu.edu> Racism & Justice (Adam Sebastian)
ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM> Racism and Justice (Miller)
"Eddie O'kelley" <eokell@ilstu.edu> Racism@Justice (Eddie O'Kelley)
Scott Berends <swberen@ilstu.edu> Re: Racism and Justice (Miller)
ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM> Re: Racism and Justice (Miller)
"Ureatha Watkins, <uawatki@ilstu.edu> Re: Racism & Justice (Autumn Pemble)
Matthew Schueman <mrschue@ilstu.edu> Racism and Justice (Matthew Schueman)
Autumn Pemble <atpembl@ilstu.edu> Racism & Justice (Autumn Pemble)
Josh Shea <jts_79@YAHOO.COM> Re: review of racism and justice
Josh Shea <jts_79@YAHOO.COM> Re: response to review of racism and justice
allana michelle hennette <amhenne@ILSTU.EDU> response to Josh's review

Date: Thu, 17 Mar 1994 15:21:01 -0600
From: gmklass@.ilstu.edu (Gary Klass)
Subject: Review of Ezorsky RACISM AND JUSTICE (Klass)
{Note: this is late, but since no one else wanted it...}

Gertrude Ezorsky, RACISM AND JUSTICE: THE CASE FOR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION (CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1991)

Reviewed By:

Gary Klass Illinois State University 3/17/94

Gertrude Ezorsky's makes her strongest points in defense of Affirmative Action when she details the pervasive racist and discriminatory practices, governmental and private, past and present, that cry out for some form of justice. The grievance is undeniable: a legacy of slavery; a pattern of discriminatory and segregationist social policy that continues to handicap black Americans; continued overt, subtle and institutional discrimination in private employment and housing; unequal education and more. She realizes, however, that it takes more grievance and sympathy to defend Affirmative Action: to establish that blacks are victims (she does not address the case for women and other protected classes) does not establish that Affirmative Action as it is currently practiced is good for either minorities or society as a whole.

In defending racial preference against these "instrumental" criticisms, Ezorsky's arguments are uneven. She is at her best in disputing the meritocracy critiques of racial preferences. The is more than enough evidence of widespread nepotism, nonracial preferences, old-boys networks and the like throughout the American economy to suggest that meritocracy is a value that is only inconsistently upheld. One need only examine a few of the critiques of American management practices to realize that Affirmative Action adds only a drop to the ocean of pervasive organizational incompetence. Why, she asks, do we start worrying about meritocracy only when a poor and powerless group benefits from preferences that have benefited all sorts of other groups?

But Ezorsky too quickly dismisses other Anti- Affirmative Action arguments: that it may do harm to those it is intended to benefit and that it benefits the better off among minority populations disproportionately. There is no evidence, she says, that compensation, per se, is harmful to, or undermines self-respect among, beneficiaries of nonracial preferences, such as veterans and the well connected. Well, perhaps. Are the boss's son's qualifications for rapid promotion ever questioned? Yes, and deservedly so. Does the boss's son internalize the lack of respect of his fellow employees. Probably not. It is fairer to acknowledge (as do Stephen Carter and Ellis Cose, for example) that racial preferences do sometimes promote stigmas of inferiority even among the beneficiaries, but to argue that the harm outweighs the good. Or to concede, as West does, that affirmative action does not deserve the priority on the black agenda that it has been given.

While Ezorsky does point out that not all the beneficiaries of Affirmative Action are middle class blacks (consider that the most controversial Affirmative Action policies involve firefighters and police officers), she does not fully dissuade those who argue that racial preference is great if you want to own a television station. There is much to indicate that the least deserving of racial preference benefit the most from it, and that those institutions least guilty of discrimination are most likely to impose it. Empowerment and role model theories excuse gross bureaucratic incompetence, particularly in agencies that are supposed to serve the poor. Acknowledging this would suggest substantially revising affirmative action strategies -- for example targeting minority scholarships to graduates of inner city high schools.

Ezorsky concedes only one weakness in Affirmative Action as it is currently practiced, acknowledging that there is some merit to the claim that racial preference is "unfair to adversely affected whites" (p. 82). Her solution is that the costs of racial preference be spread out, perhaps in the form of a broadly redistributive tax, or in the case of layoffs, through job- sharing. An economist might call this a "side payment"; the inequity of the policy is justified to the extent that it could be corrected through some additional mechanism of compensation. The problem with side payments is that they never happen.

Ezorsky does not even understand the questions William Julius Wilson raises about affirmative action. Wilson would suggest, for example, that a agenda involving free public university tuition would do a lot more for minorities and would receive broader public support than raced-based admissions policies. Wilson's universalistic policy solutions do require a level of hope and trust in the basic American commitment to eqaulity that is not easy to to substantiate, but Americans have shown a remarkable tolerance of affirmative action policies that conflict sharply with their basic value system.

One of two criticisms of Affirmative Action that Ezorsky does not address is that racial preferences undermine the rule of law. The actual language of the Constitution and of most Civil Rights Laws is explicitly color-blind (federal minority set-aside laws and, to a lesser extent, the Voting Rights Act are the exceptions). It takes contorted legal reasoning to find language in these laws that supports what is done in the name of Affirmative Action. The recent amendments to the Civil Rights Act explicitly preclude quotas, yet they persist. The Bakke decision explicitly precluded quotas. Most university catalogs explicitly state that race is not be a factor in hiring and admission decisions. Yet preferences and quotas persist. Most Affirmative Action is voluntary. No one asserts that students have a civil or constitutional right to minority scholarships, merely that the universities should have the bureaucratic discretion to grant them. The essence of a civil right is to limit the arbitrary and capricious decisions of the government and the private sector. Yet affirmative action seems to grant an arbitrarily broad descretion; creating, at times, a "states' right" to discriminate. Who is empowered here? If you believe in racial preferences, you ought to have the guts to come right out and say it, instead of hiding behind double-speak.

The second criticism that Ezorsky does not address is related to the first: the often mindless bureaucracy that enforces affirmative action. Consider the silliness of a faculty search committee interviewing an internal candidate for a chair position over a speaker-phone when his or her office is just down the hall.

One point that almost no one acknowledges in the debate over Affirmative Action is that it does very little to punish those truly responsible for real discrimination. More often than not, it allows the perpetrators to punish someone else for their crimes. A better approach would be to penalize real perpetrators of discrimination more, with jail time. This would establish a principle that racism and discrimination harm society as a whole and that perpetrators owe a debt to society. Such a strategy *would* require higher standards of proof. But a lot of real and blatant discrimination does exist and greater efforts to root it out, consistent with the explicit language of civil rights laws, might go a long way to restoring public respect for the cause of racial justice.

If you believe that racism is a kind of original sin that can't be washed away (as does, say, Derrick Bell) or that Americans are not predisposed to even universalist redistribution (Cornel West), Affirmative Action is the logical route to go, but it's not going to get you very far.

-- Gary Klass | Political Science 4600 | gmklass@ilstu.edu Illinois State University | (309)-438-7852 Normal, Ill 61790-4600 | (fax)-438-5310

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Date: Fri, 18 Mar 1994 14:59:52 -0600
From: Phyllis Liddell <PEL983T@vma.smsu.edu>
Subject: Re: Review of Ezorsky RACISM AND JUSTICE (Klass)
Re: G. Klass review of Ezorski work on affirmative action - I wonder whether the analysis would benefit from viewing aa as a derivative of LABOR LAW, and understanding a classic justification of labor law is to keep the civil peace. It seems as if trying to understand the principles s and purposes of aa as derived from the CIVIL RIGHTS tradition (Magna Carta, et al, "equal rights under law for similarly situated individuals"), may be causing some confusion.

Executive Order 11246, which established aa as a required element of all gov't contracts over a certain amt, was signed in 1965. In review- ing some hst of the period, salient events may be recalled: the l964 Civil Rights Act addressed discrimination on a case by case basis and until 1971 (Griggs v Duke Power), req proof of mens rea; many recently discharged veterans, who had been well trained and experienced in uses of explosives, weaponry, guerilla warfare tactics, sabatoge and leadership, were Black; major cities across the US were burning; the Black Panthers appeared at an Oakland CA city council mtg, carrying weapons (which were not loaded, but were very frightening to a guilty government); on and on ...

So can we picture Pres Johnson telling his advisors and staff that he wanted a practical proposal for an action he cld do which wld be dramatic (it wld have to capture the imagination) and effective (it wld have to focus hope)? I imagine the lawyers turning to legal hst for inspiration re what might be done. In the hst of labor law, they found precedent for the use of pres. ex. order addressing racial fair- ness in hiring by major fed contractors. Eureka!

AA is not a poverty program, it's not a justice program; it's an attempt by the administrative branch to take a highly visible stand on an issue of institutionalized racial bias in hiring. (Two yrs later ExOr 11375 added similar protection for women.) The purposes of the first Order, as I conceive of it, were: 1) to send a message "Your gov't is with you, stay within system, the gov't will be there for you"; and 2) to obtain visible results in a short time. These 2 goals were fundamental to the REAL foundation and cause of aa: violence and guilt.

So I think aa is a narrowly crafted thing which does what it does pretty well, but does not do a lot of other things which people say they want or expect. AA is one tool, one response. It has worked well for what it is. The problem seems to be that hope wasn't merely focused, it was freed to soar where it wld. Now perhaps we need to follow our hope BEYOND affirmative action. P.Liddell ·

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Date: Mon, 21 Mar 1994 15:43:38 -0600
From: gmklass@.ilstu.edu (Gary Klass)
Subject: Re: Review of Ezorsky RACISM AND JUSTICE (Klass)
> > Executive Order 11246, which established aa as a required element of >all gov't contracts over a certain amt, was signed in 1965. In review- >ing some hst of the period, salient events may be recalled: the l964 >Civil Rights Act addressed discrimination on a case by case basis and >until 1971 (Griggs v Duke Power), req proof of mens rea; many recently >discharged veterans, who had been well trained and experienced in uses >of explosives, weaponry, guerilla warfare tactics, sabatoge and >leadership, were Black; major cities across the US were burning; the >Black Panthers appeared at an Oakland CA city council mtg, carrying >weapons (which were not loaded, but were very frightening to a guilty >government); on and on ...

Phyllis:

Thank you for your comments. This seems a backward reading of hst, although perfectly consistent with the Piven and Cloward thesis. The Watts riot started a few days after the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965, a year after the civil rights act, before the civil rights movement moved North to Chicago. The civil rights act was July 4, 1964, before anyone ever uttered the words black power. Executive Order 11246 used the words affirmative action, but it did not involve what today would be called affirmative action. The real consequences of the riots were Richard Nixon, benign neglect, a destroyed inner city and two decades of social policy retrenchment. The whole social control thesis, I think, serves to denigrate the real achievement of the non-violent Civil Rights movement, even if it only aims to discredit the good intentions of whites who were inspired by it. And disastrously ignores the destruction of black communities that resulted from the riots, and credits an administration that, at the time, was regarded as reactionary for progressive policy initiatives.

> So I think aa is a narrowly crafted thing which does what it does >pretty well,

The Civil Rights Act was indeed a narrowly crafted labor law (with many applications that extend beyond labor policy). But affirmative action is not. The main pieces of labor legislation are the social insurance part of the Social Security Act, the NLRA (as amended by Taft-Hartley), and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Note that all of this is permanent statutory law that clearly defines the rights and responsibilities of labor and management. The laws explicitly define who is entitled to what under what circumstances, where and when labor can picket, when companies have to recognize unions, who is entitled to unemployment and who has to pay for it. The core of the policy stays pretty much intact no matter what the administration or the changing political climate. The law applies very broadly, and, although it often ignores farmworkers, it comes close to what T.H. Marshall would call citizenship rights. The Civil Rights laws were also written as very broad citizenship rights (in Marshall's schema, rights to justice, an occupation, and property that most Europeans won centuries earlier.)

Affirmative Action does none of these things; it is not statutory law at all. It's is entirely unclear and ambiguous. It's true that Griggs does come close to defining a clear standard, but only for one small facet of a.a. In general a.a. is a different policy at each individual firm, each individual university. It entitles no one to anything. In this regard it is less akin to akin to labor law than American farm policy, which varies from commodity to commodity, from year to year. American farmers, what is left of them, are surely an empowered lot by the contempory meaning of the term, but they are more dependent on the government, their lobby and their politicians than they are at the mercy of the weather. It's a very American kind of policy.

So in this sense I agree with your point. That affirmative action is a consequence of power politics and not a recognition of inherent citizenship rights. To say that, however, undermines what Ezorsky (and Rawls) was all about: that there is a higher principle behind affirmative action. It's like a farmer trying to explain that price supports really are efficient: there might be a case, but it's really beside the point, it's political power that matters. Ezorsky assumes that those who bear the burden of a.a. are entitled to a principled justification.

-- Gary Klass | Political Science 4600 | gmklass@ilstu.edu Illinois State University | (309)-438-7852 Normal, Ill 61790-4600 | (fax)-438-5310

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Date: Sat, 15 Apr 1995 08:05:48 -0500
From: Kaiulani S. Lie
Subject: Review of Racism and Justice (Lie)
Review of Gertrude Ezorsky, Racism and Justice (Cornell University Press, 1991) By Kaiulani S. Lie Kalie@ilstu.edu Illinois State University

Currently, one of the most controversial issues to arise in our society has been affirmative action. It seems to invade major portions of our lives: college admittance, scholarships, job hiring, and job promotion. Should blacks be given preferential treatment in these various aspects of our lives? Should any group be given preferential treatment? Gertrude Ezorsky, in her book "Racism and Justice; The Case For Affirmative Action", examines this topic and the questions that arise from it.

Historically, there are some considerations that must be taken into account when looking at affirmative action. No one can deny that blacks have been greatly wronged. They were taken forcefully and subjected to the cruelest behavior imaginable. But, their race has survived through it all (the slavery, the gross discrimination, the painful stereotypes). These experiences did not stop when slavery ended or when the Civil Rights Act was passed. Today, although it is less evident, blacks are still subjected to racism and discrimination.

There are two types of racism that have been and still are present in our country. Obviously there is what has been labeled "overt racism", where an action is intentionally done because of a person's race. It's invisible twin, is "institutional racism". This type of racism occurs when a racially-biased practice (such as hiring methods) has a negative affect on a race. The continuing existence of racism against blacks in the United States led to the implementation of affirmative action programs. These programs, basically, advocate giving some sort of preferential treatment to someone just because they are in a specific group.

Some say that the racism is not hurting the chances for blacks to get ahead, so why should we treat them any differently than anyone else. Ezorsky brings up several points to refute this view. First, what happened in the past has affected the opportunities blacks are presented with today. Affirmative action is a way to make up for these inequities. Second, blacks are still disadvantaged. Regardless of where blacks are on the social class scale, they are still seen by the color of their skin. For example, blacks are not expected to drive expensive cars. If they do, the police become suspicious of them. This finding is not only true when it comes to police, but for regular citizens too. I, personally, have found that some men automatically think that a black man is a pimp or a drug dealer just because he drives an expensive car. They automatically dismiss the idea that this man could have a well paying, professional job. Third, due to employment practices like using personal connections, the seniority system, and unneeded qualification standards, blacks are disadvantaged in the job market. These practices make it less likely that blacks will be able to obtain or hold onto good jobs. It is because of these hurdles that blacks must face, that affirmative action is necessary.

There are two ways in which affirmative action can be used to help blacks. Certain programs have specific goals, others are based on nonspecific policies. Ezorsky feels that these programs are needed, because of the disadvantaged status of blacks, however the plans will not work unless they are numerically specific. In other words, they should advocate that a certain percentage of the people a company hires has to be a member of a minority group. Without the specificity, it would be hard for employers to carry out these policies and it would be hard to evaluate if these policies are being carried out properly.

However, I feel the point of these programs are to help the disadvantaged minorities. Any plan that can help these groups gain access to previously white-dominated areas in society has to some extent reached its goal. Based on this ideal, I feel that both forms of affirmative action can be used. Non-specific affirmative action objectives are more socially acceptable that others. They work, because they force employers and college admissions boards to put a special emphasis on race when making decisions. The use of these programs can be checked even thought they are not specific, because all that needs to be done is to evaluate the racial composition of a company or the student body of a college. The numbers do not lie. With the increasing number of mixed-race people, being less specific will become necessary. How can you create quotas based on race when it is becoming harder to tell what race people are?

The use of these affirmative action programs has been questioned on both instrumental and moral grounds, several of which Ezorsky notes in her book. One of the most prevalent arguments against affirmative action, is that it is reverse discrimination. Ezorsky does not deny that these programs do have a adverse affect on white males, however she feels that this situation can be remedied. Take for instance, cases of layoffs. When layoffs occur, they are often done based on the seniority system (i.e. the least senior members are let go first). This practice poses a problem when affirmative action policies are in place, because blacks have most likely not been at a company as long as whites. In situations like these, some companies have let more senior white members go before less senior minority members. Instead of just letting the more senior whites go, Ezorsky suggests either letting an equal percentage of both white and minority employees go, monetarily compensating the white employees, or a work-sharing program. In a work-sharing program blacks and whites split the work week up. One group works certain days, the works the rest of the days. Any day either group does not work they can get unemployment for. It is an alternative to completely laying off someone.

Others say that affirmative action does not allow the most qualified people to be hired or promoted. These people advocate using a merocratic system. However, the people that are hired are at least "basically qualified" to do the job. Just because a person is not as qualified as someone else on paper does not mean that they can not do as good a job (or even a better job) than that other person. Ezorsky notes that preference is given to veterans or handicapped people regardless of merit, why have they not been questioned. Why do they have chosen to use affirmative action to advocate their position? There are several additional criticism of affirmative action. Common ones are that it violates the freedoms of employers to hire whom they want, that other minorities have become successful without preferential treatment, and that it reinforces white prejudice. Ezorsky does a good job of refuting these and other claims against affirmative action.

Although I believe the affirmative action programs of today are not always working right, the system is still necessary. There is a saying that comes to my mind when I think about affirmative action, don't judge a person till you've been in their shoes. I believe this is what some critics of affirmative action are doing, making assumptions about the situation of blacks without really having gone through it. I do not know what it is like to be black. I do not know how past history has affected the blacks of today. Neither do some of the people who want to end affirmative action. They do not realize that the playing is not level and will not become level until the color of your skin does not make a difference anymore. Until this happens, affirmative action helps in equalizing the opportunities that everyone is presented with.

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To: pos302-l
From: dglewis@.ilstu.edu (re-posted by gmklass*)
Subject: Re: Review of Kaiulani Lie's book review:Race and Justice
from: dglewis@.ilstu.edu (re-posted by gmklass*)

Upon reading Ms. Lie's review of Gertrude Ezorsky's book Racism and Justice I see why racism continues to flourish within this United States of America. It is obvious that a great deal of people both black and white have no idea what affirmative action is. Many people have some concept of what affirmative action is suppose to accomplish in terms of overcoming the effects of past discrimination by employers. But in terms of defining affirmative action most Americans equate it with quotas and or hiring unqualified applicants to fill positions.

These very definitions of affirmative action exposes the ugly face of racism. The implication being that blacks are inferior to whites, asians or any other ethnic group in the country. Traces of racism can be seen in Ms. Lie's statement about blacks driving expensive cars. I noticed in this statement that Ms. Lie doesn't comment on whites driving expensive cars because it is a given that whites or asians do so. I realize that Ms. Lie was speaking in the third person however I question where she falls on the racist continuum? For example let's take a look at the sixth paragraph of Ms. Lie's book review. She begins this paragraph by stating that she feels the point of these programs (affirmative action, I presume) are to help the disadvantaged minorities.

In order to agree with that statement one has to assume first of all that all minorities are disadvantaged. I think most intelligent people will agree that not all minorities are disadvantaged. A second assumption that you have to make if you believe Ms. Lie's statement is that all minorities need help. This is a spurious myth that for too long has been promoted within this country. It is obvious that Ms. Lie believes, if not subscribes to the belief that blacks are not as qualified as whites for certain jobs and that affirmative action is needed to make up for the deficiency.

I point to her statement in paragraph eight where she states that "just because a person is not as qualified as someone else on paper does not mean that they can not do as good a job (or even a better job) than that other person". This statement personifies the racist belief that blacks are not as intelligent as whites or Asians.

To further support my point I will use performers and athletes as examples. Whites have no problem paying top dollar to be entertained by blacks however they don't express the same enthusiasm when blacks move into their neighborhood. You will often hear whites exclaim "one of my best friends is black," however I challenge the average white person to ask themselves when was the last time they entered a black person's home? (not to include occupationally related visits). Or better yet I could ask when was the last time you had someone black visit your home for a social visit?

I personally feel that topics like affirmative action are used to cover up deeper societal ills that whites are unwilling to discuss. However I truly believe that repressed feelings will eventually surface in more unpleasant ways!

David G. Lewis Illinois State University dglewis@.ilstu.edu

*I've generally been re-posting messages from subscribers whose original posting didn't get through because of addressing problems - gmklass@ilstu.edu ·

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Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1995 13:37:38 -0500
From: "dan nemtusiak" <dpnemtu@.ilstu.edu>
Subject: Review: RACISM AND JUSTICE
Gertrude Ezorsky, RACISM AND JUSTICE By Dan Nemtusiak Illinois State University

Racism in the work place can take on many forms, and many attempts have been made to remedy this problem. Gertrude Ezorsky discusses these problems and describes what she thinks should be the solutions in her book RACISM AND JUSTICE. Ezorsky defines two types of racism, overt and institutional. She also describes what actions could be taken to solve these types of racism in the work place, and later mentions some popular criticisms of affirmative action programs and how she feels about them.

The first type of racism discussed by Ezorsky is overt actions. These actions are intentional and adversely affect the victim to benefit either the race that is prejudice (such as hiring only whites), or people involved with the employer (such as customers of that business). The procedure of hiring by personal connections is also mentioned here. Ezorsky argues that most of the sought after jobs are held predominately by whites and the process of hiring friends or relatives encourages this pattern to remain the same unless something is done. However, she does not go into great detail about this topic and instead explains that a better way to measure overt racism in employment practices is through what she calls extrapolation.

The idea of extrapolation is as follows: if it is evident in main society that overt racist behaviors and attitudes exist, it would be reasonable to Ezorsky to infer that these same attitudes exist in employment practices as well. She uses studies to back her claim that these racist attitudes do in fact exist today. These studies include investigations that state there are prejudice practices involved with applicants for housing and schools as well as citing the opinion that in 1988 groups of violent skin-head youths formed white supremacist movements directed specifically at blacks. Although these groups exist, I think they are isolated opinions and should not be labeled as the views of the general society. To do so would be over generalizing a view that is frowned upon and rejected by most people in the U.S.

Institutional racism occurs when a firm establishes guidelines or qualifications that are inherently beneficial to the prejudice race, such as requiring a higher education or previous work experience. Both of these qualifications Ezorsky believes are obtained primarily by whites. Ezorsky also includes hiring by personal connections in this topic and seems to conflict with her previous statements about the subject. In describing hiring a person through the practice of personal connections in overt actions, she states that this is not necessarily wrong, and that many firms hire on such basis to lower job ad costs and obtain more reliable employees. Yet when discussing institutional racism, Ezorsky argues that hiring through personal connections is inherently racist and has a "powerful racist impact". Networking, as some people call it, tends to cut blacks out of the loop and denies many the equal right to employment. Ezorsky states that:

"Lacking ties to whites as family, friends, fellow students, neighbors, or club members, blacks tend to be isolated from the networks in which connections to desirable employment- where whites predominate- are forged."

The only problem with this statement is that it neglects to mention opportunities for minorities which are not available to whites. Such an opportunity occurs here at Illinois State University and the event is called Workforce Diversity Career Fair. The objective of this fair is to provide employers with a more diverse pool of applicants. Although the university states that people of all races are welcome to attend, it is quite obvious that any white male attending such a fair would surely come home empty handed. This is similar to what Ezorsky was stating earlier that certain institutional actions cut certain races out of the loop, only this time it is the white male. It is upsetting to me that there exists all-black employment magazines and job fairs and yet these are not called racist. It is almost guaranteed that if an all-white job fair or employment magazine existed, there would be an overwhelming uproar from the NAACP and organizations alike.

The main remedy Ezorsky explains is that of complaints. If an individual or group thinks they are being discriminated against, they can bring forward a complaint under Title 7 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, Ezorsky argues that this type of attempt or action is impractical for several reasons. One is the fact that the individual or group must prove that they are actually being discriminated against. Even if there is proof, the complaining party is always fearful of being labeled as a "trouble maker". There is also the financial burden of lawsuits that follow filing a claim. Many claims are against large firms or corporations which have the financial means of carrying on suits until the plaintiff or victims have no other financial choice but to drop the suit and seek employment elsewhere.

The idea of filing claims relies on the past court cases that have occurred. One main case in support of anti-discrimination in employment is GRIGGS v. DUKE POWER CO., 401 U.S. 424 (1971) in which the court set guidelines that employers must follow when hiring individuals.

"When a qualification standard excludes blacks disproportionately, the employer is required to validate the standard, to demonstrate that it fairly measures ability to perform the job."

This and other cases are the precedent for victims of racial discrimination in employment and without the enactment of Title 7, there would not have been such an abundance of cases to follow which would have made it much more difficult for a plaintiff to file suit.

Although there have been many cases that have supported anti-discrimination actions by employers, there have also been many cases which have effectively reversed or nullified the precedents set by Title 7. Such a case was WARDS COVE PACKING CO. v. ANTONIO, 109 S.Ct. 2115 (1989). In this case, the court ruled that a business that sets certain standards for employment no longer need be a business necessity which, in essence, overturned GRIGGS v. DUKE. The court also ruled in WARDS COVE that the burden of proof should now lie with the complaintant, not the employer. This rules out many claims simply due to the fact that many people cannot afford costly litigation.

Ezorsky states that the ultimate goal of affirmative action programs is to allow blacks occupational integration that produces a more racially balanced hierarchy in firms and corporations. She also argues that although these programs have helped increase the number of blacks in the work force, they also have the detrimental affect of "reinforcing white prejudice about black incompetence" as Christopher Jencks once stated. She believes that in some situations where a black applicant may be as qualified or even more qualified than a white applicant, the hiring of the black applicant will be construed as hiring a less qualified, inferior person. Morally speaking, Ezorsky sees no problem with blacks receiving assistance from affirmative action programs and she rejects any arguments that state any assistance would be injuring its recipients, not helping them.

In conclusion, I have found Ezorsky's writing to be very informative, but too opinionated. I agree that people who have been inherent victims of racism should be entitled to some type of benefit or assistance if it is proven that the same type of racism is currently taking place. I also agree with Ezorsky that if blacks are to be assisted in some manner, than whites should also receive some type of special consideration in employment as well. ·

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Date: Wed, 19 Apr 1995 13:00:28 -0500
From: "marilyn hurtado" <mvhurta@.ilstu.edu>
Subject: review-ezorsky
Should minorities, or specifically blacks be compensated for ancestral racism? Does affirmative action programs hinder or help society as a whole? Should we take into account society as a whole or just the minority dilemma? Many of these questions are answered then contradicted in Gertrude Ezorsky's, RACISM AND JUSTICE.

The major themes include; overt and institutional racism, criticisms of affirmative action (both practical and moral), and remedies for racism. History of affirmative action started in the 1960s but have diminished in the 1980s because of a shift in political thinking: Mainly the resurgence of the republican party. The first question of whether blacks should be compensated is easily answered "yes". "... as descendants of slaves brought to this country against their will and as victims of the post Reconstruction century of murderous racism, which was encouraged, practiced, and given legal sanction by our government, have a unique entitlement to special efforts to ensure their fair share of employment benefits." (1) This statement does not stipulate that blacks should be given free handouts. It seems that affirmative action has received an unfair reputation. White elitists/government and media has manipulated public opinion on affirmative action as reverse discrimination; which undoubtedly is ridiculous. Whites in general, are not stigmatized with bigotry, low levels of employment, and images of laziness, poverty, and criminally infested communities.

Overt and Institutional racism are linked together in cause and effect circumstances. Overt racism is prejudice practiced in an open manner. Detecting overt racism is simply driving through segregated communities throughout the United States. When comparing blacks with whites of similar incomes; Investigations of residential housing and minority business loans are explicit examples of overt racism. Education institutions (all black colleges) have also fallen to overt discrimination when it comes to receiving funds. An imperative factor are individuals making these decisions. The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated two million instances of housing discrimination. Nathan McCall, MAKES ME WANNA HOLLER, states housing for blacks is less important than whites. In one chapter he writes of Academy Park, a white low income neighborhood (considered white trash), was maintenanced better than McCall's black middle class neighborhood: These are pure examples of overt racism.!

Institutional racism is most evident in employment and educational entrances. Even though these policies are considered to be administered by racially impartial individuals, they were created because of overt racism. Institutional racism is a selection process that is invertly shaded into a white run enterprise. Personal connections, qualification standards, and seniority status are obstacles for blacks which resulted in mechanisms of overt racism. Job information is the most basic necessity for anyone inquiring about a job. "... word of mouth is probably the most widely used recruitment method." (15) If a black person lives in a segregated neighborhood, caused by overt racism; how will that person inquire about a walk in opening in the suburbs. Advertisement in newspapers or radio comprise a minute percentage of available positions. Kathleen Parker of the National Center for Career Strategies was reported in stating that, "...over 80 percent of executives find their jobs through networking and that about 86 percent of available jobs do not appear in the classified advertisements." (15)

Qualifications standards have had a severe effect on blacks moving up. Testing and tracking are biased for white people because blacks lack the educational resources and institutional skills learned at an earlier stage. Employers require certain credentials from blacks (diploma from prestigious school) which because of overt racism (i.e segregation in schools); blacks are unable to attain. Seniority status has only benefited workers hired first, therefore, blacks have usually been fired first. Even industries where blacks have seniority, they have suffered from departmental transfers which erase their status. Racist attitudes and stereotypes continue because blacks are kept on the bottom of the employment ladder. This reinforces the racist stereotype of blacks as inferior.

These exclusionary policies have contributed to black unemployment, thereby reinforcing the racist attitude of blacks unwilling to work. Racist attitudes even permeate in our judicial system; The higher value placed on victims is a prime example. "In the thirty two states where the death penalty has been imposed... the killer of a white is nearly three times more likely to be sentenced to death than the killer of a black." (Tabak,p.826) Abundant reports, surveys, and evidence illustrates that overt racism remains widely exercised across the nation.

Criticisms of affirmative action are founded both on practical and moral grounds. For example, arguments against statistical representation would include a representation of all groups. Nathan Glazer, a sociologists compares equal representation between political conservatives and blacks. How could he even compare these two groups: First, how can an individual's ideology preference be compared to a non-preferenced, non-chosen race. Glazer states that ethnic communities have their own "traditional link" to certain occupations and that is good and beneficial. For instance, Irish in tradition have become policemen or Jewish are usually businessmen. Well, history has shown blacks with the most undesirable jobs; Does that mean this tradition should continue?

The success of other minorities was also an element in criticizing affirmative action. However, comparing voluntary immigrants with higher education and economic motivation with native blacks is limited. "International migration from third world countries to the United States is highly selective, bringing in skilled, educated persons...such immigrants are likely to set high economic goals for themselves because they arrive with economic and social-class advantages, such as substantial capital, as well as occupational and business experience."(59)

What about veteran benefits? Let us not forget that many whites are excluded from jobs because of preferential employment towards veterans. Even veterans who worked in offices or out!of!danger positions receive benefits. Yet nothing is said to abolish this special treatment. Another group that is often not mentioned is the legacy children of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale alumnus. What about all the deserving students! black or white, who are not accepted because wealthy children from alumnus are automatically accepted. Speaker J.Wilson from UIC made this point that many in class or society were unaware of this practice.

There are several arguments that affirmative action reinforces prejudice. Unfortunately, there will not be harmony on both sides. affirmative action cannot content or satisfy everyone. But I would rather be an employed black person, than worry about what a white ignorant bigot thinks about me. Life is unfair and whether affirmative action is right or wrong, it's about time the tables are turning. I say turning and not turned because that would mean equality and no racism in society, which obviously is far from the truth.

Ezorsky also analyzes remedies for racism. She discusses complaints by individuals or groups through the judicial system. However, these complaints often backfire because racial bias is so difficult to prove. Employers and landlords often have effective strategies for defeating complaints. Employees can be labeled troublemakers or employers can easily cover up racial bias. Good faith and numerical goals are also discussed as remedies for racism. However, "good faith" efforts are often succeeded by employers hiring token blacks as to prove their good Samaritan deed. Ezorsky believes that good faith is insufficient because employers have no rule or obligation to hire a certain amount of blacks and their intentions are often wary. Unfortunately their efforts (advertising) in recruiting blacks are equally justified as actually hiring them. "Without definite numerical targets, they have no standard of reasonable progress in the recruitment of minorities." (35) Companies or industries who hire by personal connections or have prejudice personnel officers need numerical remedies.

The "basically qualified" and work-sharing strategies are methods for occupational integration, not reverse discrimination. In some cases where a black is hired, even though less qualified than a white candidate, he is nevertheless competent to work or teach in their field. A work!sharing remedy ensures an equal distribution of layoff over the entire workforce- black and white.

The purpose of affirmative action programs is not to require employers to hire unqualified blacks or completely have whites pay for American history. Affirmative action simply wants to correct racist practices in the business, government, and educational field. Affirmative action programs want to present opportunities available for blacks and minorities. It does not simply hand out jobs on a silver platter, bit it recognizes and discovers the prejudices by authority figures in position to hire and fire. These corrections are what affirmative action is all about. -- Marilyn Hurtado Political Science Dept. Illinois State University ·

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Date: Thu, 20 Apr 1995 15:54:23 -0500
From: "heather wileaver" <hdwilea@.ilstu.edu>
Subject: review of RACISM AND JUSTICE (Wileaver)
Reviewed By: Heather Wileaver Illinois State University April 20, 1995

Although the program Gertrude Ezorsky proposes will punish the right people for past employment discrimination against blacks, it is by no means a realistic solution. She plans to follow the basically qualified affirmative action program that gives preference in hiring to minorities that are 'basically qualified' if there is a more qualified white candidate. Ezorsky takes this a little further, though, and this is where her plan becomes unrealistic. She propses that the more qualified white candidate be compensated by the government, or preferrably the corporation, because they did not get the job, even though he was more qualified. this, supposedly punishes the corporation because they have to pay a person that is not working for them. The problem I have with this is that several times I have heard the argument against A.A. because it makes blacks feel inferior, as if they really didn't deserve to get the job and also that white's look down on the black because they think the only reason the black got the job was because of A.A. This program seems to make this problem even worse. Not only do you not deserve this job, but we have to pay some other guy who really should have gotten the job. This is just a small part of what Ezorsky discusses. She presents a thorough explanation of affirmative action and also discusses many criticisms of A.A. and remedies for racism.

She begins by defining overt and institutional racism and how they work together to create racist impact. Overt racism takes place only if a harm is inflicted or a benefit withheld either because of the perpetrators racial bias against the victim or because of that perpetrator's obliging the race prejudice of others. Institutional racism occurs when a firm uses a practice that is race-neutral but that nevertheless has an adverse impact on blacks as a group. When the adverse impact of bias-free practices occurs in a society where such impact is in significant part either a result of overt racism or a contribution to its perpetuation, then that impact is called racist impact.

Institutional racism occurs because of three hiring practices: personal connections, qualification standards, and senority status. All of these bias-free practices may be intentionally or unintentionally racist. Since most blacks and whites live in two separate societies, blacks tend to lack ties to whites. Because of this they are isolated from the networks in which connections to desirable jobs are forged. The lack of personal connections may be an institutional barrier, but it stems from segregation created by overtly racist practices. American's history of segregation has led to a current inherited social structure that excludes blacks from white neighborhoods and schools. By excluding blacks from these areas they are unable to develop white connections that may lead to employment. With a lack of connections to get desirable jobs, blacks are getting stuck in dead-end, bottom-of-the-latter jobs. This perpetuates the racist conception that blacks belong in these types of jobs.

Qualification requirements, like personal connections, are intrinsically race-neutral, but lead to racist impact. Many jobs requiring training are inaccessible to blacks because they have been excluded from the schools, white schools, that teach these skills. In some cases these skills may not even be necessary to perform the job. Likewise, some employers set education standards that are irrelevant to the job. Some employers require that employees be high school or college graduates, even though a person who did not graduate from either would be just as qualified for the job. Many employers use qualification standards to keep blacks from being hired. In 1971 the Supreme Court ruled in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., that employers must prove that their qualifications were relevant to the job. This case, must to the disgust of Ezorsky, was later turned over. Unfortunately, she does not say why.

Finally, seniority systems tend to have racist impact. Since most whites are hired ahead of blacks they tend to have more seniority status and therefore are fired last. Blacks fall along the last hired, first fired rule. They become locked in dead end jobs, which again, perpetuates the idea that they belong there. If they do manage to move up, if they transfer to another, perhaps more desirable department, they lose their seniority status.

Overt racism leads to social and residential segregation that in turn leads to lack of personal connections. The negative impact of qualification standards is created by racially biased funding of education and training programs for blacks. They also suffer from the adverse effects of seniority-based promotion and firing because elites get hired before blacks. Institutional racism contributes to future racism because it adds to the notion that blacks belong in the most undesirable, demeaning jobs. In addition, blacks are kept from being employed because of these practices and contributes to the notion that blacks are lazy and won't work. When in actuality, they want to work but are being kept from getting a job because of racist impact.

Ezorsky proposes several remedies for racism. Among them are the complaint remedy, good faith v. numerical goals, 'basically qualified, and work sharing and preferential treatment. She also discusses remedies for racism due to qualification standards, seniority advancement, and departmental seniority. The complaint remedy is not practical because it is often hard to prove if an employer, landlord or realtor acted out of racial bias. Victims are also reluctant to speak up because they don't want to be labeled troublemakers.

Good faith v. specific numbers seeks to remedy racist impact by reaching out to blacks for employment. Good faith efforts to recruit blacks are made without numerical goals of timetables for hiring them. This depends to the commitment of the employer to direct jobs toward blacks and away from whites. The employer may just go through the motions of A.A. and never hire a black. This is why Ezorsky favors specific numbers. Without specific numerical targets for employment and timetables, there is no standard of reasonable hiring of minorities.

Work sharing and preferential treatment would help blacks retain their jobs during a recession. All employees would be cut back to a four day week with the government picking up the lost wages. This enables everyone, or almost everyone to keep their jobs.

Finally, Ezorsky discusses several criticisms of affirmative action. She lists a wide variety such as, arguments against statistical representation, A.A. and the black 'underclass,' as well as many moral objections to A.A. I will discuss only a few; success of other minorities, reinforcement of white prejudice, and compensation as counterproductive. The success of other immigrants, such as Jews, may suggest that the depressed status of blacks is their own fault. Ezorsky counters this by pointing out that the histories of these immigrants is much different than the blacks. Other immigrants, who came here on their own will, were allowed to assimilate into the culture, while the blacks continued to be segregated. In addition, the people immigrating are usually selective, skilled, educated people. This selectivity id causing an international 'brain drain.' These people come with a good economic and successful background which helps them when they get to America. Blacks do not share this background and therefore, Ezorsky argues, to say that, because other immigrates are succeeding, it must be the blacks' fault that they are not. Critics of A.A.'s morality argue that compensation is counterproductive. Shelby Steele wrote that "Suffering can be endured and overcome. It cannot be repaid. To think otherwise is to prolong the suffering." Ezorsky argues that if suffering cannot be repaid to blacks for their suffering, then likewise you cannot repay veterans, Holocaust survivors, or victims of industrial accidents. These people have not complained that compensation prolongs their suffering, in fact they insist that they deserve the benefits. Likewise, compensation for discrimination will not hurt its recipients.

This book was very well-written and Ezorsky used a large amount of evidence to back her claims. Although some of her counter-arguments for the criticisms against A.A. were shaky, she presented her information really well. For a person who is not a political science major, this was one of the clearest and most understandable books I have read on affirmative action.

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Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 06:23:10 -0600
From: marshall plumley <mbpluml@.ilstu.edu>
Subject: RACISM & JUSTICE (Marshall Plumley)
Ezorsky, Gertrude. "Racism & Justice: The Case for Affirmative Action," (New York: Cornell University Press, 1991). Reviewed by: Marshall Plumley Mail to: mbpluml@rs600.cmp.ilstu.edu

Ezorsky takes on the affirmative action issue attempting to make practical and moral arguments in support of affirmative action. Part I of the book deals with the defining of racism in two forms, overt and institutional racism. The author then presents some proposed remedies for racism. Part II of RACISM & JUSTICE deals with the arguments made against affirmative action and the authors response to this criticism. Also the moral perspective on affirmative action is presented by the author. The final section of the book is a review of the legislation and case law dealing with affirmative action.

The author differentiates between overt and institutional racism. Overt racism, as defined by the author, is action that "takes place if a harm is inflicted or a benefit withheld either because of the perpetrator's racial bias against the victim or because of the perpetrator's obliging the race prejudice of others (Ezorsky, p.9)." This leads to the obvious example of employers denying employment to the racial groups that the bias is focused towards. The institutional form of racism exists in the form of race-neutral actions that have negative impacts upon blacks as a group (Ezorsky, p.9).

The ability to detect overt racism is a fairly simple process using subjects who apply for employment and judge the results of employers hiring practices. Institutional racism is measured by its negative impact upon the black community. The author addresses the three most negative, in terms if impact, employer selection practices; (1) personal connections, (2) qualification standards, and (3) seniority status (Ezorsky, p.14).

The practice of employee selection through personal contacts is age old. While curtailed in the public sector, the private sector still uses this method. What is of concern to the black work force is the lack of "who you know." Most private executives and management level positions are controlled by whites. This leaves prospective black applicants with little inside contacts.

The qualification standards set by employers are often race- neutral, however the qualifications are often beyond those of black job applicants. Most blacks have been the product of the segregation era education system in America. The repeal of segregation has not solved the problem of inadequate education for African-Americans. This lack of required qualifications on the part of blacks has given more qualified whites an edge even in a race-neutral hiring environment.

The author makes particular note of the seniority system in the American work place. Even in non-union work environments some system of seniority is often in place. With blacks typically "last hired and first fired" the lack of black seniority is acute. This trend has limited black opportunities for achievement in the work place.

In an attempt to offer remedies for racism in the work place, Ezorsky looks to Affirmative Action as a means of combating overt as well as institutional racism. The author differentiates between unspecific and specific affirmative action plans. Unspecific affirmative action typically takes the form of good faith agreements on the part of employers in order to remedy some self perceived institutional racism. Specific affirmative action often entails court ordered numerical goals to remedy the racism.

The solution to unfair qualification requirements is, in the authors opinion, validation of qualification requirements (Ezorsky, p.38). Ezorsky cites the GRIGGS V. DUKE POWER CO. (1971) case: When a qualification standard excludes blacks disproportionately, the employer is required to validate the standard, to demonstrate that it fairly measures ability to perform (Ezorsky, p.39). Another approach favored by the author, that of hiring practices that reflect basically qualified individuals, would exclude some better qualified whites but would give employment to basically qualified blacks.

Seniority is a problem of perhaps the greatest importance to the black employee. With little seniority among them, blacks will be first fired or laid off when business is bad. The author looks at some innovative solutions to this problem. One option is for employers, faced with a need to reduce payroll expenses, to reduce everyone workweek hours as opposed to layoffs. The time missed having been compensated by unemployment. Another affirmative action remedy offered by Ezorsky is that of distributing layoffs among racial groups in line with seniority. In practice, when a layoff becomes necessary, the employer will layoff a percentage of their work force within each racial category. For example if a one-fifth layoff is required then one-fifth of whites, blacks, and others get laid off by seniority within their respective groups.

In Part II of the book, Ezorsky addresses a number of instrumental and moral criticisms of affirmative action. It has been argued that the success of other minorities indicates some sort of deficiency on the part of black character. While it is true that other immigrants have had generally good levels of success upon coming to America these achievements have come for most with out the stereotype of skin color. Other minorities have succeeded where African-Americans have been perceived to have failed. Ezorsky argues that this has been possible through economic factors, already present at home, that have benefitted these immigrant groups. Ezorsky also cites facts that indicate that newly arriving non-white immigrants are having increased difficulties due to overt and institutional racism present in the American work place. Does affirmative action reinforce white prejudice or promote backlash? Ezorsky says that white perceptions of blacks as lazy and inclined to welfare would only be reduced by an increase in the black work force.

The moral arguments presented against affirmative action are addressed by Ezorsky next. Affirmative action is perceived as something owed to blacks and that while suffering can be endured and eventually overcome, it can never be repaid (Ezorsky, p.76). Ezorsky argue that if this is true we should withhold benefits to veterans, Holocaust survivors, and victims of industrial mishaps. The rights of employers to hire who they choose is also infringed upon by affirmative action policies. To illustrate this argument Ezorsky presents the argument of philosopher Robert Nozick who suggests the rights of employers are similar to the rights of individuals to marry who ever they choose (Ezorsky, p.81). Ezorsky refutes this argument on the grounds that marriage is of the deeply personal sphere, while the decision to hire a black worker is relatively impersonal in nature. Perhaps the most critical argument against affirmative action is that preferential treatment violates the rights of white job candidates. Ezorsky accepts this as true for the most part and offers ways around the dilemma. The compensation of whites adversely affected by preferential treatment is an option. Also, as discussed above, ways can be implemented to offset the negative affects of layoffs and payroll reductions on black workers.

Critique

I have serious problems with this book. To begin with the author addresses no new remedies for racism, only those already dealt with in legislation or court decisions. My biggest concern is for the choice in counter-arguments to affirmative action by the author. A full third of the book is spent addressing these arguments however the arguments presented are extremely weak. The argument chosen by the author, the marriage analogy of Robert Nozick, to respond to the claim of infringed employer rights is silly and of total irrelevance to the issue at hand. Not only does Ezorsky choose this argument to represent the opposing view point, Ezorsky expects the response to this weak argument to suffice as a moral justification for affirmative action. The argument presented in opposition to affirmative action that does have merit, in addition to the above mentioned employer rights argument, is the infringement of the rights of white job applicants negatively affected by preference. Ezorsky does offer a possible solution in the form of compensation. This solution however is impractical in light of shrinking budgets and backlash against social programs. I am not saying this is right, I am saying that is just the way it is. The proposed solution to seniority based layoffs that Ezorsky offers has merit however it is also impractical. In a union shop, or non-union, the idea of non-traditional seniority systems when deciding anything especially layoffs will prove a hard pill to feed senior employees.

Ezorsky's book does serve as an excellent primer on the topic of affirmative action legislation and court rulings. It also presents some of the basic arguments in favor of, and in opposition to, affirmative action. However, as I noted above, it lacks any new insight on the subject and provides solutions that are impractical at best.

Marshall Plumley "what dark time is coming, what dark time is near." 5-5-2000 mbpluml@.ilstu.edu

·

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Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 07:46:46 -0600
From: "Melanie M. Rosiak" <mmrosia@.ilstu.edu>
To: gmklass@.ilstu.edu
Subject: Review of Racism and Justice (Ezorsky)
Review of Racism and Justice (Ezorsky) Reviewed by Melanie Rosiak Illinois State University March 3, 1997

In Racism and Justice, Gertrude Ezorsky provides an argument in favor of affirmative action and attempts to respond to its critics. The novel is broken down into three parts: 1)an explanation of overt and institutional racism, 2)a discussion of the benefits of affirmative action and 3)legal developments that have effected affirmative action.

Part one defines the two types of racism, overt and institutional. Overt racist action occurs when someone's personal racial prejudice causes harm to that race. Instituional racism is the use of a race neutral program that adversely affects blacks. There are three common institutional practices Ezorsky claims adversely affect blacks and lead to racist impact. I find Ezorsky's argument of institutional racism to be lacking. There is no denying that racism exists in certain career fields, however the three examples she provides are not convincing. The use of this institutional racism can be an open excuse for any black that does not receive a job. It claims that even if the employer is not racist or has no intention on being racist, the system is intrinsically racist regardless. I do not consider myself racist, I attempt to work for the equality of all people, yet as an employer, I would automatically be operating in a racist way. Institutional racism, I believe, does have limits, and they need to be addressed.

The first institutionally racist practice Ezorsky cites is the use of recruitment by personal connections. It is assumed that whites are in these higher employment positions and thus "word of mouth" recruitment benefits whites only. Employed whites will tell their friends about jobs which will lead to their employment, regardless if there may be more qualified people out there. I do not feel recruitment by word of mouth is limited to whites. I feel that employees will tell their friends about job openings regardless of color. I have found that personal connections can be made anywhere, from the bus stop to the shopping center, and color has not been the determinant. The type of person one is important in determining who your friends are, and friends will tell friends of opening whether they are balck telling blacks, whites telling whites, or whites/blacks telling the other color.

Qualification requirements offer a second hurdle to blacks in Ezorsky's view. Lack of funding to black schools, particularly in the black belt continue to keep blacks down. She finds that the requirement of college degrees, or certain test scores put blacks at a disadvantage. I am not familiar with the black belt, but lack of education hurts everyone. There are both poor blacks and whites who suffer unnecessarily. A more effective program to battle discrimination and to lift up the poor would be a program that focuses on economic disadvantage, not race.

Ezorsky cites that the lack of personal connections limit blacks ability to gain work experience, especially through internships. These degree qualifications and work experience are important factors. They help to gain a job by giving you an advantage over someone else. The ability to gain internships is not an impossible feat by a black or any one else for that matter. It is merely taking the effort to call someone and offer your services in exchange for experience. Free help is not often rejected. Job performance standards are also used as an explanation for racism. Ezorsky says that subjective standards, "such as fitting in, personality, vigor, and self confidence, easily serve racial prejudice (p.23)." I find this claim VERY hard to believe. Fitting in, personality, etc. are personal characteristics which make individuals excel. They are personal traits, not group or white traits. Charismatic leaders are needed to exite the employees and push the company toward higher achievement. Since when is striving to be the best a bad thing?

In Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971), the Supreme Court upheld an Equal Employment Opportunity Commision remedy of qualification requirements. They decided on a "validation of qualification requirements." This would require employers to explain the standard and how it relates to job performance in instances where blacks are not proportionally represented. This was a good decision by the Court. It provided blacks who had been discriminated to face the employer and have a chance to obtain the job they deserved.

Ezorsky offers an alternative to the qualifications requirement. That is the selection of the "basically qualified." When blacks are not represented, blacks who are basically qualified may be selected over more qualified whites. Ezorsky claims that whites are not hurt by this, it is not racism, because they "are not rejected based on derogatory false notion of racial inferiority. (p.42)" I feel that when blacks are underrepresented, an extra effort should be made to recruit them. However, the best person for the job should receive it. Why do we work so hard to enhance our resume, if it doesn't really matter what you have on it. When the lesser qualified receives a job, everyone is hurt by the loss of potential the better applicant had. To deny whites the right to be hurt by this is ridiculous...this is the same notion that blacks are objecting to, not being treated equally, and being measured on a different standard.

The third institutional racist problem is seniority systems. Seniority systems work to protect the employees who have been working the longest. They allow for the most senior employees to be protected from termination and layoff. However, in most positions, whites were hired prior to blacks, which places them at the bottom of the lst, being affected the most. For blacks that had obtained a senior status, any attempt to change departments to better oneself yet, resulted in the loss of status by changing departments. Ezorsky offers a terrific solution to the problem. She discusses that the work week could be reduced across the board allowing all employees to retain their jobs, yet decreasing their hours slightly. This des not seem racial at all to me, it just seems like a company looking out for its employees. Her other alternative was to cut each racial group by the same percentage. However, her focus was just on whites and blacks, and I can foresee some greater problems there.

Part two addresses criticisms of affirmative action. The goal of affirmative action is to integrate blacks into employment relate to their population size. However Ezorsky finds that blacks are more worthy of proportional integration than other groups. for a book that condemns whites, she seems to be trying to take over the manipulative and power hungry positions that whites have unfortunately used in the past to keep minorities down. Is she striving for equality or some rash take over? The slave past of the blacks and tradition of pervasive racism is used to explain why other minority groups have succeeded much easier. Ezorsky attempts to rationalize the criticisms of affirmative action, but she continually comes up short. She tends to make excuses more than pose solutions or alternatives.

Part three is an attempt to provide a detailed account of the legalistic development of affirmative action. It traces the development through court cases. It also provides the Justices opinions as rationale fro the continuation of affirmative action. However, if you flip back to chapter two, Ezorsky challenges her own argument. She states that affirmative action took a quick turn in the 1980's. The enforcement of affirmative action has declined, and the Supreme Court has changed it's tide. Why then is she still reaching out to the outdated opinions of the past. Affirmative action was meant to be a short term program, thirty years have passed, it is time to reevaluate the system. There is surely a better way. ·

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Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 06:42:27 -0600
From: marshall plumley <mbpluml@.ilstu.edu>
Subject: Further comments on Racism & Justice
Following the posting of my review of Racism & Justice I received the following reply from Dr. Thompson. It has provoked me to think more on what I said in my review. I have come to the conclusion that I did not clearly establish my position before offering my critique. I also failed to articulate just exactly what it was I was trying to say about affirmative action. Please look over Dr. Thompson's response and comment. Following it will be my response.

Marshal Plumley's review of Ezorsky's book on affirmative action provoked a few ideas for me. His summary of the themes was well done and reflected the book accurately for the most part. His critique converges with a number which have appeared in POS302 in the past few years. They also demonstrate well the angry white backlash which has been brewing over the past thirty years. Ever since the civil rights era, white America has been shifting to the right. In the attempt to shift the blame for downward mobility and downsizing and in the absence of the Soviet "threat" which so united American culture in recent times somebody has to be cast to the lions. It makes good bread and circuses, as the Romans would put it. African Americans serve this function in contemporary America as surely as Hebrews served parallel functions in ancient Egypt. Affirmative action needs to be understood in this context.

Marshal points out that workers with seniority, who just happen to be dis proportionately and overwhelmingly white, would be upset if something was done about the imbalance in seniority for African Americans and other under represented groups. No kidding. Group gains and split labor market theories predict white backlash and nepotism. Is Plumbed's suggesting that we shouldn't reduce inequities because the dominant group wouldn't like it? That was the reason Egypt wouldn't change and it is echoed in the arguments made in the separate but equal era in racist, segregated America.

The main problem with affirmative action is white backlash as reflected in Plumbed's specious arguments against Ezorsky's. Affirmative action created a large black middle class and resulted in the economic empowerment of other people of color and women. The U.S. constitution was emphatic and specific in excluding both people of color and women from full participation in American society. Marshal, don't you think that foundational start, including enslavement, genocide and other techniques used to ensure white male skin and gender privilege has just a bit of inertia? Making the end of institutional racism occur will meet with resistance from those who look down the socioeconomic and cultural ladder at those groups trying to climb up.

Much of recent history in our culture points to race being the central moral agony of our time. Affirmative action has been very successful in allowing oppressed groups to get their names on the list. Colin Powell would never have been promoted from the rank of colonel had it not been for affirmative action. It is surprising to me that such backlash, reactionary views are so prevalent among social science students at Illinois State. I don't understand how people can major in social science, examine systemic data on oppression and conclude that they don't like progressive arguments which are consistent with the data simply because whites wouldn't like it. Sounds pretty similar to Rush Limbaugh's more plainly spoken arguments against affirmative action.

Peace,

Wayne Luther Thompson, Ph.D. Concordia University, River Forest, IL CRFTHOMPSWL@CRF.CUIS.EDU

Dr. Thompson, in paragraph two of his response, takes note of my comments on seniority based "institutional racism" in the work place. Ezorsky is correct on moral grounds that this a barrier to black career advancement and the accompanying economic benefits that would come from it. I agree that this inequality needs to be addressed and a viable solution implemented and evaluated. The viability of Ezorsky's solution, that of seniority within racial groups, does not satisfy me. Ezorsky does not define the parameters that groups will be enclosed in. Will all racial minorities as well as women be categorized into their own groups? How many classifications of race, gender, and ethnicity are we talking about? How many colors in our color blind society are we hoping for? In addition to these questions would it also not be necessary to renegotiate every labor contract presently in existence? Even though union strength is in decline we are still talking about a sizable portion of the private sector work force represented by a labor contract. Also, even non-union businesses use seniority as a measure in promotions. While this is obviously no excuse on why a restructuring of the seniority system cannot be achieved Ezorsky acknowledges none of these practical concerns nor addresses any other concerns related to it.

Ezorsky did offer an excellent example of how work place layoffs could be avoided. The idea that work time could be cut across the board in times of economic downturns does have viability. For example, if a need arises to reduce the man hours by five percent, a layoff would not be necessary if creative means such as cutting all employee hours by five percent in some reasonable fashion is enacted layoffs would then be avoided. Ezorsky says that perhaps the difference could be made up by unemployment. This could be difficult in the present trend towards budget cutting. However it is feasible in a situation where benefits are distributed to those who need just a small amount to make ends meet, rather than distributing benefits to those who are only destitute. In retrospect I did not give this aspect of Ezorsky's argument much credit.

In regards to my comments about the white backlash that can be expected when the seniority system is adjusted, yes I know it is a "no brainer" but did Ezorsky offer anything in response to it, no. Dr. thompson compares my argument to that of Rush Limbaugh. Well the fifteen million people who listen to him every day are just the kind of people to experience this backlash and they are mostly middle to upper middle class white folks. All I was trying to say is that solutions to the racial inequities in this country must include them as well because without those who are scared by change or those who feel threatened by it, it will never come. It does not matter that this backlash is wrong, it will happen, and Ezorsky says nothing more than to bad they deserve it. I am sorry that is no answer. If it came across that I was reactionary or expressing views that seemed resentful or full of backlash perhaps I need to reevaluate my attitudes on race. I did not think so at the time however.

Marshall Plumley mbpluml@.ilstu.edu "What dark time is coming, what dark time is near." 5-5-2000

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To: pos302-l
From: Aricka L. Vinson
Subject: Racism & Justice: The Case for Affirmative Action (Vinson)
Gertrude Ezorsky, Racism & Justice: The Case for Affirmative Action (Cornell University Press, 1991)

Reviewed By: Aricka L. Vinson mailto:alvinso@.ilstu.edu Illinois State University

"Is affirmative action (AA) just?" I refuse to seriously pose that question or answer it until others recognize that affirmative action exists to eliminate the injustice that is practiced due to racism. When Blacks are hired at the same rate as whites I will consider the question. Why even dignify the question with a response when our so-called desegregated society is nothing but segregated and in such a blatant manner. Maybe when the projects in Chicago, California, New York, etc. are filled with just as many whites as there are blacks and they all go to public schools together in the inner city then maybe I’ll address the question. Why stop there? When the majority of communities are integrated then ask me that question. I think when at least 25% of the CEO’s of major corporations are black (that are not black owned and founded), then I will allow myself to seriously consider this question. One of these days John Singleton will win an Oscar for his films that the address the history of slavery instead of the same bourgeoisie films that glorify the south, then I will say "racism & justice" in the same sentence. When the government of Atlanta no longer has a confederate flag hanging proudly over state buildings as a continual sign of slavery, then speak to me of justice. Maybe ten years from now when I look up the word Black in the dictionary and it is no longer followed by negative characteristics, many which are currently used, then I’ll let someone try to persuade me that blacks are not treated as the inferior race. Finally, the day when African Americans are no longer taunted and faced with racial slurs and epithets such as: _____________ (I think I’ll let you be creative and fill in the blank), then and only then will I acknowledge that racism is not a problem and that there is no longer a need for affirmative action. Gertrude Ezorsky is a philosopher who attempts to find a solution to the answer of racism and the injustices that exist within affirmative action. Ezorsky addresses the problem in an awkward manner by "straddling the fence" to be fair to both sides after reading this book it is obvious that another strategy should be utilized. Her goal is clouded by her desire to answer the question by presenting both sides because after awhile she is no longer being objective instead she is going around in circles and never really touches the problem. However, she presents very good statistics to support many if not all of her claims that racism exists and that the remedies in some cases are just and unjust to both sides. She also tries to not only appeal to the logical side of the reader but the spiritual (moral) side as well.

Everyone knows yet sometimes refuses to acknowledge that overt racism exists. There are a multitude of examples that one can present to support this fact and Ezorsky does just that. The examples that she listed were the "usual" and some even presented a shock when presented with statistics to support her claim. She asserted that "studies show that 15 to 19 percent of whites would not vote for a qualified black candidate nominated by their own party for governor or president." This confirms the voices of blacks who insist that no matter how far up the ladder they go they will never reach the top because as the author points out "the higher the office, the more whites there were who would admit that they would never vote for a black." This not only addresses the test of the "qualified individual" it also points to a larger form of racism, societal racism! A society that knowingly and actively refuses to support a candidate simply because of their skin color is practicing societal racism at its best. Never mind the incidents of racial violence towards Blacks and the unfair sentencing system that disproportionately sentences more blacks than whites because these can always go back to matters of the heart and appeal to one’s moral side. When addressing overt racism it seems the only way prove that it exists is to assert study after study after study, no plea to one’s morality will be as convincing.

This same strategy of presenting statistics to those who are unwilling to recognize that racism exists and is being practiced should be used to acknowledge institutional racism. This form of racism is the most dangerous because one can honestly function so as not to act in an unfair manner, yet in most cases that is exactly what occurs. This is also a way for those who have their minds set to prevent blacks from succeeding to do so legally. Ezorsky shines in this section where she focuses on three procedures of institutional racism to illustrate her point: 1) personal connections, 2) qualification standards, and 3) seniority status.

It is no wonder that African American lack the personal connections that whites so readily use when applying for jobs. African Americans generally do not live in the same neighborhoods, attend the same schools or churches, nor are they acquainted with whites in the workplace, so there is no possibility of networking on the same level as whites. This is a perfect example of institutional racism because businesses are not intentionally discriminating, but if they ask employees to recommend their friends for positions or even just inform them of opportunities African Americans will always be left out. However, this could be used as an example of overt racism simply disguised.

The same is true when applied to qualification standards but because it is so readily discussed explaining a subtle way to discriminate when using seniority status should be mentioned. It is for some to believe that seniority can be used to discriminate, but it too has it’s historical ties to racism. Many businesses honestly use this as a test for promoting it’s employees, but again African Americans are not highly represented in these situations. Ezorsky describes how many African Americans were not even allowed to hold various positions because they lacked to required educational background, which at face value does not appear to be racist. However, when one recalls the schools systems that existed before and even after desegregation African Americans were not allowed and did not receive the best education, so therefore how can they compete? They can’t! So, should businesses make exceptions for African Americans who are not in the positions for reasons that they have no control over? Yes, Ezorsky identifies a multitude of remedies to combat racism.

While addressing the problems of racism by asserting remedies Ezorsky not only offers to compensate African American, but she includes whites in the picture as being discriminated against. At this point she begins to suggest that many whites are being wronged by efforts to make right what has occurred to African Americans and suggests some very radical solutions to the problem such as the government compensating white employees who are affected by African Americans advancing. It’s interesting that she does not suggest that African Americans be compensated for the years that they have been discriminated against. Ezorsky discusses a variety of remedies the complaint remedy is important because although it is practiced daily it those African Americans who utilize it are in effect stigmatized.

The "complaint remedy" as the author labels it is addresses not only the way to file a complaint, the proof needed to file, but also the consequences that are faced by those who choose to file. According to Title 7 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits overt discrimination one can file by making a complaint. If one believes that they have been discriminated in the workplace, school, even while trying to lease an apartment solely on race they can file a complaint. (This act also covers other types of discrimination) However, once a person has complained that person has the burden of proof on their shoulders and proving discrimination is not as easy as it may appear. A person cannot simply say, "I was not hired because I’m black." If the store owner produces two black employees, then it is not obvious that discriminatory practices have occurred. If one makes a complaint at their place of employment then they have to deal with other problems such as being labeled a "trouble maker." How many other businesses will be willing to hire a person that has a reputation for making complaints against their employer, not many. So although making a complaint may be a remedy the complainant has to decided if their suffering is worth making the complaint. In addition to recognizing this specific criticism of the complaint remedy the author covers other criticisms of affirmative action. While addressing the criticisms that exist against affirmative action the author interestingly covers the motives behind the criticisms and even discusses moral perspectives on affirmative action and instrumental criticisms. Ezorsky addresses the claims of those who suggest that "affirmative action is a poor instrument for ending racism because it is irrelevant or ineffective or even counterproductive." (55) Many people tend to argue against "statistical representation" but the fact remains that African Americans do not in most cases represent even 10% of the workforce. The author makes a point that it usually overlooked when the success between African Americans and immigrants are compared. "The situations of yesterday’s European white immigrants and blacks are not analogous...ethnic prejudice was not as virulent or pervasive as racism." (57) The difference between the two can be seen simply in the FACT that African Americans were taken from their homelands! Ezorsky also mentions that the white immigrants were better off than the African Americans for a number of reasons but namely because they could assimilate. African Americans could not assimilate/pass until the slave masters had raped the slaves and the fairer-skinned offspring was born. How many African Americans chose this? The lack of choosing one’s destiny is overlooked by those who assert various criticisms because in some instances they are just trying to justify their own prejudice.

Ezorsky attempts to discuss moral perspectives on AA by initially stating that AA is not only owed to African Americans, but in a sense the historical past of African Americans rationalizes AA. This impressive start eventually fades as the author attempts to remain neutral when discussing the topic. She goes from saying that until African Americans are equal in society that AA is just, then a couple of paragraphs later AA is now labeled "preferential treatment." If AA is owed, required, and just, then how is the treatment "preferential?" Still she tries to represent each side equally, which in and of itself is not wrong, but her strategy appears to contain contradictions when following this mode.

The problems with racism, justice (or lack thereof), and affirmative action will not be resolved by a couple of books or articles, but maybe by taking Ezorsky’s approach of understanding both sides of AA might bring about an awareness which will lessen the problems that exist.

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Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 20:25:16 -0600
From: Adam E Sebastian <aeseba0@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Racism & Justice (Adam Sebastian)
Gertrude Ezorsky, Racism & Justice, (Cornell University Press, 1991). Reviewed by Adam Sebastian

The case for affirmative action (AA) is a broad one, like any controversial policy in the United States there are different standpoints by which the policy can be evaluated. An issue can be questioned on fairness, justice, constitutionality, morality, etc. Gertrude Ezorsky is an advocate for AA and breaks down this policy’s arguments on all levels. Ezorsky stresses AA’s potential for instituting fairness and justice in the American workforce after years of overwhelming prejudice against blacks. Ezorsky centers on blacks because of the huge amount of wrongs that have been perpetrated against this group of people. Although AA may be a remedy for future and pass injustice, it seems by the end of her book, Racism & Justice; Ezorsky is advocating stretching AA into a set of policies that Americans would never swallow in the name of justice. Ezorsky manages to work out a fair remedy for the racism that has affected the blacks of this country but pays little attention to the constitution or what is politically feasible in reality.

Ezorsky begins by distinguishing from overt and institutional racism. Overt racism is blatant favoring or withholding benefit strictly because of a person’s race. Institutional racism is when race neutral practices actually impede the success of one race. Although AA combats both types of racism, institutional racism is more often overlooked by law because of its race neutral stance; AA can be used as an affective way to stop it. Three examples of institutional racism in the workforce are personal connections, qualification standards, and seniority status. Personal connections are means by which many people are hired. This is not a blatant form of racism but does have the effects of institutional racism. Personal connections are built though family, friends, unions, etc., yet because blacks have been victims of such a strong level of overt racism their personal connections lack in the knowledge of jobs. The segregated social structure of the country has left blacks with almost no personal connections to the job market, compared with whites. Qualification standards can also be a form of institutional racism. Blacks have for years been denied as high of a level of education or job training as whites have been given. A lack of true equality in the educational system and in the unions has left blacks with lower qualifications then whites. High qualification standards have been a barrier to blacks that can not attain the qualifications because of overt racism. Seniority systems have also affected blacks in negative ways although it is a race neutral practice. Last hire, first fire policies result in the firing of blacks who have less seniority than most of the white workers because of the years of overt racism that may have barred them from that job. Ezorsky claims that AA can solve these forms of institutional racism and create a more even distribution of races in all occupations.

Affirmative action is an, “active measure to increase significantly the recruitment and upgrading of minorities” (31). The hope is that AA can move minorities to statistical parity in employment of all jobs, blue-collar and white-collar. With regard to employment Ezorsky argues the need for specific and goal orientated AA in hiring. To get beyond good faith and tokens recruitment must have specific goal of how many and a time frame in which minorities will be hired. This type of AA could solve the problem of the lack of personal connections experienced by blacks. The Supreme Court in Griggs v. Duke Power Co has already recognized qualification standards as institutional racism. It was ruled that an employer must show definite connection between the standard and the ability to perform the job. Even here the additional support of AA could farther lessen the effect of qualification standards on blacks. This comes in the way of the basically qualified strategy. In this AA strategy the employer hires basically qualified minorities in an attempt to boost statistical parity. As one can see this would counteract the years of inadequate schooling received by the black people. Seniority-based firing could also be rid of the racism by the concept of worksharing. Instead of laying off people an employer could give employees a four-day workweek, some employees working Mon.-Thurs. and some Tues.-Fri. Perhaps an employer, who had to make layoffs, might have a white and minority group in which seniority would be judged separately and the layoffs split between the groups. All this forms of AA seem an adequate solution to the problems that racism causes in the workforce.

Of course there are critiques of AA. One of these being that blacks are given statistical representation as a group, why not work to give every group that same benefit of statistical representation in every level of the workforce. For example there might be a call to give red haired or green-eyed people statistical representation in the workforce. Ezorsky believes this slippery slope is incorrect. She believes this is because blacks have been victims of such a high amount of racism and this would not apply to all groups in general. Yet what about those disadvantaged groups in the past that have succeeded in the job market without AA, such as the European immigrants. It seems as though they made it without AA. Yet Ezorsky says these immigrants were not as badly discriminated against and in fact they took most of the low jobs that would have gone to blacks, if not for racism. Therefore, the European immigrants benefited from racism and the blacks were always at the bottom.

Other critiques are brought up; one being that AA reinforces whites prejudice against blacks that get a job because of AA. Whites may have the idea of blacks being inferior and the only way they could get a job would be AA. Yet, Ezorsky counters this by the fact that whites may always be prejudice but between the two evils she would rather have blacks with jobs because of AA than no job at all. She also rejects the idea that AA only helps the high up blacks. Ezorsky even suggests that economic expansion would not be a remedy for blacks in the job market as much as AA would be. This is because even in expansion blacks are the last hired and there is often not adequate public transportation to many job opportunities. There still would be problems of personal connections and education as well. AA may not help those incapable of holding a job but such people would not benefit from other proposals.

After dealing with those critiques of instrumentation of AA, Ezorsky moves to addressing moral objections. This is where she looses touch with feasibility and makes week connections. She begins by explaining that there is a moral obligation to compensate blacks for all the wrongs that have been done to them. She concludes AA is a just compensation and cites the government’s similar policy for veterans. She points out that compensation can be a repayment for past suffering and does not prolong suffering. All blacks have suffered at some level because of racism, even better off blacks. Yet she does say better-off blacks might be less deserving but it doesn’t, “follow that they don’t deserve any compensation” (79). However because better-off blacks deserve compensation this must mean that the disadvantaged European immigrants, that did not suffer as much as blacks, still do deserve compensation. Yet, Ezorsky does not address this issue.

She then deals with the rights of the employers, claiming that the right to choose employees is not a personal right as choosing a spouse. Yet she does not draw a line on how much an employer can be told to do, in terms of hiring. In terms of the white workers who are hurt by AA, she acknowledges that this is unfair and suggests solutions to this problem. First she claims that whites who haven’t been racist can morally be ask to compensate blacks, but acknowledges preferential treatment of blacks is a high price. Someone must pay for the compensation. She then suggests whites should perhaps, pay blacks that are laid off because of seniority. I don’t think many would be willing to do this. Another idea is a federal progressive tax that would pay whites that were unfairly treated because of AA. Of course there would be a limit to how many times and how much one could be compensated because of AA. This seems utterly unfeasible, for obviously the public would not go along with this. In addition blacks would be in fact be partly paying for their own compensation, this is another injustice that would have to be dealt with somehow. These ideas just seem to fall apart with out her even noticing.

Although she fails to recognize those problems she comes back defending AA against those who say merit should remain the base for employment. Yet merit is not the base, among other preferential treatment there are personal connections, for example. She rightly concludes that merit is not the overwhelming basis for employment. Whites get jobs all the time because of personal preference or connections, AA is just another preference in the job market. Also blacks should not feel low self-respect for an AA job, it is compensation, they deserve it. The white person who gets a job because of personal connections does not look back and have low self-respect, neither should the black. The black even has more of a claim for preference.

Ezorsky’s AA system is an ideal one and would be the most just. She really does convince me of the fairness of AA in her system. It is too bad it will never become reality. Her moral ideas, of a progressive tax for instance, are totally unfeasible in the US. She flies though the constitutionality of AA policies with no real insight into that potential problem with AA. The cases that AA comes out on top she seems to say, “See!” and if AA loses she seems to say, “But it is fair.” Constitutionality isn’t talked much about; it is almost as she does not see it as a potential obstacle. Ezorsky’s ideas are great and so is her argument for AA. Yet it seems as though she lives in a fair, moral, constitution-free, and politically docile country. Surely, she does not live in the United States. ·

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Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 23:17:41 CST
From: ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Racism and Justice (Miller)
Racism and Justice, the Case for Affirmative Action by Gertrude Ezorsky Reviewed by Robert Miller Mail to: ltrobmil@hotmail.com

Gertrude Ezorsky’s book purports to give readers the perspective of both those who support affirmative action (AA) and those who oppose AA. She is decidedly pro-AA, but she attempts to discuss its opposition. The book begins with an overview of the problem of racism and continues by providing a thorough discussion of AA, to include some relevant court cases. As we will see, Ezorsky’s handling of the arguments for and against AA prove to be suspiciously one-sided. Her sympathy for the pro-AA stance is very pronounced even when attempting to "explain" its critics. She seems to go into much greater detail when discussing her beliefs than when discussing the alternative viewpoint. This will be the most distinct way for readers to grasp which are her views versus the ideas of her opponents.

 

The author begins with two definitions of racism. According to her, there are two basic types of racism, overt and institutional. Overt racism occurs when individuals intentionally treat minorities in a harmful manner. This may happen by the offender refusing a job, promotion, or raise to a minority based on race. An obvious example is the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Texas, but less violent activities such as employment practices also qualify. It is the author’s opinion that overt racism is a serious problem, but is difficult to address, since it is very hard to directly identify, since offenders are quick to conceal their activities.

Institutional racism is the other type. Ezorsky’s view is that AA is better suited to addressing institutional racism, than overt. Institutional racism for Ezorsky is a matter of unintentional, nominally neutral, practices that have adverse effects on minorities. Such practices include personal connections that whites may have based on their privileged status, qualification standards that favor whites due to their disproportionate education opportunities, and seniority status that many whites enjoy due to previous hiring decisions made by racist employers. Whatever the method of bias employers use to further institutional racism, AA can correct it.

Remedies for the two types of racism presented by Ezorsky follow three basic models. The first is the complaint remedy. The complaint remedy can be applied by blacks when they feel that their employers have subjected them to unfair practices. This remedy requires the plaintiff to announce their grievance publicly, and potentially subject themselves to both the ridicule of their coworkers and their employer’s possible reprisal. Ezorsky does not feel that this is a viable option for the victims of racist policies, whether overt or institutional.

The other two possible remedies for a racist society, according to the author, are both types of AA. Ezorsky defines the first as unspecific AA, while the second is predictably called specific AA. The first type puts the onus on employers, while the second requires government intervention in the workplace. Both types are intended to correct the past inequities in opportunity experienced by minorities.

Unspecific AA requires prospective employers to use methods such as outreach programs to actively seek potential black applicants that posses the sought qualifications. These candidates would be more representative, since they have been drawn from a pool of workers that has not been the common pool of applicants. This "good faith" effort on the part of employers can provide the black community with the opportunity to expand their options. Ezorsky believes, albeit subtly, that this type of AA is ineffective due to the emphasis on the good will of the employers who have been past offenders. Obviously, those who have already been practicing fair employment practices will not be the focus of this effort, and those who will need to begin unspecific AA will be unwilling participants.

The type of AA that this author would most like to see implemented is specific AA. In this version of AA the government would require employers to select candidates for hiring, promotion, and raises primarily on racial qualifications and secondarily on job-related qualifications. The author asserts, between the lines, that this type of AA would be the only successful remedy for racism in the workplace. As we will see, Ezorsky asserts her opinion by thoroughly describing specific AA, rather than clearly stating her support for it.

Specific AA can be implemented by employers through four basic strategies. The first opportunity for employers to support specific AA is through the use of quotas. The quota system is the most commonly recognized and attacked form of AA. Under the quota system, regardless of qualifications, minorities receive favoritism based on their race. This method will be discussed further as the criticisms of AA are reviewed, but suffice it to say that it meets strong opposition. The second form specific AA can take requires courts to review policies on qualification standards. Under this form, employers would be required to eliminate qualifications that do not seem to be directly job-related. Such qualifications as education, for instance, cannot be required by employers in dispensing rewards. Employers may not grant employees benefits based on requirements that do not specifically relate to the job as determined by the courts. Ezorsky seems to present this as a viable solution, but it does not go far enough. This solution only grants the benefits of job advancement to those African-Americans that posses qualifications which exceed those of their competitors and are job-specific.

The third form of specific AA gives basically qualified blacks the advantage over whites. For instance, if a black applicant possesses the minimum requirements to perform a job he will be afforded the opportunity over a white candidate even if the white candidate is better qualified. Since there is no limit to the program, this type of AA could potentially result in a minimally-qualified black majority hierarchy, which controls a better-qualified white subordinate group of workers.

The fourth incarnation of specific AA discussed is intended to address the under-representation of blacks in organizations’ senior levels. Institutional racism has presented minorities with the unique problem of having less seniority than their white counterparts. The author asserts that through statistically standardized layoffs the seniority issue can be alleviated. Unlike the current system of laying-off the least senior employees, which has a disproportionately negative effect on blacks, the new system would treat them fairly. Her argument loses steam, though, when she tries to address the problem of equity for whites who have earned seniority. This problem presents some complicated ramifications, however, and the author gives some questionable solutions.

For each of the remedies for inequality, the author also gives the criticisms. The opposition receives marginal treatment at best. As mentioned, Ezorsky presents her views in depth, but gives critics only topical discussion.

She handles the statistical representation solution (quotas), by showing that critics charge that it is natural for blacks to play their cultural role in society. This skewed criticism asserts that blacks naturally gravitate toward occupations that are common for their demographic group. Such jobs are usually low-skilled, low-paying, manual labor jobs that limit their future prospects. According to Ezorsky, the critics believe that these jobs are the most attractive to blacks, and they need not be forced into the upper levels of organizations. The author’s example is the employment of operators for Bell. Here the operators are disproportionately black. They are not afforded the opportunity to advance, but are in the occupation best suited them, according to AA critics. For most readers this opinion is unseemly, as it should be. The handling of the opponents is entirely biased, as are the handling of the other oppositions to AA.

Another reason to oppose AA is the belief that increased prejudice will result from AA. In this scenario, whites who were not given opportunities will see blacks in an increasingly negative light. The result will be suspicion and resentment of successful blacks. The final criticism of AA is that it will not affect the lowest layer of the black population. Those at the bottom of the food chain will not benefit from the advances made by those who are more privileged in the black hierarchy. This problem will manifest itself in those who are not even basically qualified for desirable positions. The least successful will continue to wallow in poverty, while those able to capitalize on AA would have succeeded anyhow, and will certainly succeed when given the opportunity.

Ezorsky educates the reader that AA opponents hold up immigrants as proof that our system is fair. She shows us that these critics hold immigrants as shining examples of minority success stories. The most successful of these are Indian immigrants, who have achieved disproportionate success in the job market. According to Alejandro Portes and Ruben Rumbaut in Immigrant America, the untold story is that Indian immigrants have been positively selected based on their unusually high level of education. They have also not been subjected to centuries-old discriminatory practices as has the black population. The author also presents the moral implications of AA. She gives four aspects of AA from the moralist perspective, which is obviously opposed to AA. She gives four groups of opinions regarding the morality of AA. These are forward-looking, backward-looking, meritocratic, and black self-respect.

The forward-looking perspective has occupational integration as its goal. Moral objections include the arguments that unqualified blacks are unaffected, white candidates’ rights are violated, and employers’ rights are violated. For each of the forward-looking objections, Ezorsky gives greater discussion to AA proponents.

The backward-looking adherents believe that blacks deserve compensation for slavery and prolonged discriminatory practices. Objections include the arguments that no repayment is possible (so why try), better off black families do not deserve compensation, and preferences that damage the most disadvantaged are unfair. As the reader has observed throughout the book, these criticisms are presented in the dimmest light and are summarily dismissed by the author.

The meritocratic criticism of AA is presented as an unfeeling and impersonal approach to job placement. Under this criticism, opponents of AA assert that a pure merit system is the only one that could be fair. They are dismissed as not having considered the implications of blacks’ lack of opportunities. Blacks have not been afforded the privilege that whites have and they, therefore, do not posses the ability to perform at comparable levels. The merit system is unjust, because it gives the best qualified candidates the position without regard to the disparity of racial opportunities.

The last point in the discussion of moral objections addresses the possibility that AAwill lead to a decreased self-respect by blacks. The critics charge that AA will lead to blacks feeling inferior, since they "need" AA to succeed. This is obviously erroneous, because blacks realize that they have not had the opportunities, and therefore deserve disproportionate compensation to compete equitably.

The author concludes with a few court cases that deal with AA. The cases either support AA, or they are wrong. As with the rest of the book the author turns on the high beams when others agree and dims the lights for the opposition. The case presentation is interesting, though. They provide a cross-section of legal decisions that parallel the main points of the book. Ezorsky shows how they support her arguments, and offer some answers to the tough problems that AA causes. In sum, Ezorsky’s book provides an overview of both sides of the AA debate. Unfortunately, the book does not give equal treatment to both sides. For those who support AA prior to reading the book, it gives added ammunition, but for others it gives only a superficial view of their opinions, frequently glossing over the strongest points of their arguments. Overall, this is an interesting book, but hardly what the author purports to be providing.

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Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 23:10:46 -0600
From: Scott Berends <swberen@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Re: Racism and Justice (Miller)
Robert,

i am curious to know where you stand concerning Ezorsky's advocation of the minimum qualifications argument. in your argument you reached the logical conclusion of the argument, namely that the higher qualified whites in america would be denied jobs in favor of minimally qualified (but under qualified when compared to whites) minorities. two questions naturally follow from a conclusion such as this: by what standards does measure whether someone is "qualified"? and even if the minimally qualified argument does result in a job force dominated by minimally qualified blacks while a number of more qualified whites go jobless, does that necessarily entail a bad thing? i am merely curious to know your opinions concerning these questions and my above statement.

Scott Berends Illinois State University swberen@mail.ilstu.edu ·

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Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 22:08:57 -0800
From: Autumn Pemble <atpembl@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Racism & Justice (Autumn Pemble)
To: POS334-L@H-NET.MSU.EDU
Ezorsky, Gertrude. Racism & Justice: The Case For Affirmative Action, (Cornell University Press: 1991). Reviewed By: Autumn Pemble

Due to the amount of racism in our society, affirmative action programs have been implemented to open many doors for blacks and other minorities. Racism & Justice: The Case For Affirmative Action is a book that defends affirmative action programs. In this book, Gertrude Ezorsky discusses many debatable topics concerning affirmative action programs. Unlike Shelby Steele, Gertrude Ezorsky is a firm believer in affirmative action (AA) programs. She gives many well supported arguments and addresses many issues on affirmative action.

Ezorsky begins the book by distinguishing between overt and institutional racism. Overt racism occurs when one is deprived or harmed because he or she is a particular race. Institutional racism occurs when policies are put in place that intentionally or unintentionally tend to keep minorities out or essentially that is what is happening. Overt and institutional racism are concepts Ezorsky addresses throughout the book because they keep blacks from the work force.

Ezorsky argued that blacks are disadvantaged from the beginning when they are seeking a particular job. According to Ezorsky, blacks lack certain traits and acquaintances that are necessary to obtain certain positions. For example, blacks often lack the "friend" that is needed to give the boss a good word or two that whites often have. Ezorsky claims that most people do get their jobs based on the number of "friends" that they have. Therefore, blacks are disadvantaged because they live for the most part in a separate society in which the contacts are not visible. Not only are jobs jeopardized by the lack of "friends" but living arrangements are also at risk. "A University of Chicago study of the nation's ten largest cities showed that blacks and whites rarely interact outside the workplace (17)." Thus, the chances of blacks having white contacts within the workplace or outside of it are very slim. This contributes to the idea of overt racism because these practices (personal contacts) indirectly keep blacks from grasping or benefiting from a particular job.

Ezorsky also explains how and why blacks lack essential skills that are necessary in certain workplaces. She explains how in the sixties and seventies blacks were banned from certain schools, depriving them of better educations. She notes that black children adopted by white middle class families score higher on the scale than black children adopted by middle class black families. Therefore, because of past treatment of blacks in America, whites are advantaged since birth. She says blacks do poorly on standardized tests because of their separate backgrounds than that of the whites. Whites seem to produce better test scores because they are better equipped due to the bias of the test.

If not indirectly, blacks can be directly susceptible to racism. For example, qualifications may be raised to purposely exclude blacks from the pool of applicants. Racist employers and employees may purposely implement higher qualification criteria in their policy to keep minorities out. One's "personality" or "vigor" may be put to the test. These type of qualities and traits will only reinforce racial prejudices and promote racism.

Another point Ezorsky makes is that when a black person does receive a job it may not benefit him or her as it would if he or she was white. Ezorsky says that it is the whites who have secured seniority. Seniority can make or break one's job and future. Seniority causes one to receive substantial benefits financially. On the flip side, blacks will be falling off the ladder because they lack seniority. "Whites have eleven times the wealth of blacks; one-third of all blacks have no major assets whatsoever except cash on hand (25)." Unfortunately due to these devastating statistics, blacks are seen as inferior to their white counterparts. Even after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, blacks were still deprived of seniority status. For example, before the act blacks would be at the bottom of the work ladder working their way up. However, after the act, they would not be deprived of the better white departments. Yet, blacks gained entrance to these departments only to start once again at the bottom of the work ladder and work from scratch. Because of such practices, blacks continue to remain disproportionately at the bottom of the ladder in workplaces.

Ezorsky feels that Affirmative Action programs are practical and moral remedies for racism. She is not concerned with rather these remedies fit into the constitution; She is concerned with justice. Ezorsky acknowledges that Title 7 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act give employees who feel they have been discriminated against a say in court. However, Ezorsky claims that minorities are prevented from making accusations and recovering proper remedies. Minorities are prevented from using these sources and getting what is deserved because the co-workers would view them as "troublemakers" and it is hard for them to actually prove bias in the workplace. Employers have ways to cover things up.

Ezorsky supports affirmative action because she feels that blacks suffer from a racist society. Therefore, affirmative action programs are made to help compensate minorities. According to Ezorsky, many blacks have benefited from Affirmative Action programs. She says that blacks are beginning to represent themselves in the work force. For example, "by 1982 20,000 black officers had been added to police forces around the nation (48)." Also the number of minority construction workers increased more than 10% (48).

Since Ezorsky is in favor of Affirmative Action and believes that it is doing good for blacks she challenges many claimed pitfalls of affirmative action. One issue involves the idea that political parties should also benefit from Affirmative action programs. She does not agree that blacks should be considered the same as other groups like conservatives or Republicans. She acknowledges that other groups are also disproportionately represented in areas. However, she says that blacks are the ones suffering from overt and institutional racism. Thus, banned "throughout society" because of the color of their skin (56).

Other people against affirmative action programs, argue that other minority groups other than blacks are achieving their desired goals without the provisions of Affirmative Action. Ezorsky feels that the history of blacks is far more complex than the history of other minority groups. She also sees the history has threatening the presence of black workers in today's society. For example, blacks were forced into white society and severely punished if they showed signs of rebellion against white cultures. The laws were specifically against blacks and designed for them. Laws regulated segregation and harsh penalties were of use if blacks tried to disobey segregation. Other sociologists claim that minorities actually benefited from racism. Robert Blauner said that minorities such as the Jewish and the Irish took Northern blacks jobs and forced the blacks into Harlem. Thus, minorities other than blacks did benefit from racism. Unfortunately, the black "underclass" was also a result.

According to Ezorsky, blacks from poverty and from wealth are benefiting from Affirmative Action Programs. Many critics argue that only middle class blacks can be benefited from Affirmative action. However, Ezorsky points out that blacks are shifting into better positions, and poor college bound blacks are being admitted into professional schools.

The next argument that Ezorsky makes is that the black "underclass" is also benefiting from AA. William Wilson the author of The Truly Disadvantaged claims that the black "underclass" cannot reach the benefits that AA has to offer. Yet, Ezorsky believes that blacks just by knowing about AA become more motivated, gain certain jobs, and grasp educations that will help them succeed.

A controversial argument that Ezorsky raises, is if AA is morally justified. Ezorsky claims yes, while others claim no. Shelby Steele, a researcher at Stanford University, says that AA defeats Americas system of merit in his book A Dream Deferred:The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America. Ezorsky says the merit system is not being defeated because some AA candidates are better qualified than the whites who are already in the work force. She says our labor system is not really based on merit anymore. People get their jobs by who they know and certain qualifications that are out of the reach of blacks are not needed to perform the job anyhow. She believes that AA promotes integration between the races by giving blacks and whites the opportunities to interact with one another. Integration she claims will reduce racial tensions.

Lastly, she does not agree with the argument that AA causes people to lose their self-respect. She reinforces the reality that blacks were once slaves and are subject to institutional racism. Even Justice Marshall viewed the history of the blacks as different than other minorities and acknowledged that blacks were to abide by laws that made them racially inferior. Therefore, blacks do not lose self-respect due to AA because self-respect was jeopardized from the beginning of the African American history.

In the last part of the book, she examined the discrimination that blacks had faced in the 50' S and says that the discrimination still exists today. She brings up the bell system. The bell companies resisted hiring blacks. Then in the 1940's blacks were given the worst jobs the bell companies had to offer. However, the number of blacks did increase form 1940-1960. Yet, they are still over represented as operators and equality as yet to be reached in the bell system. The company policies regarding educational requirements have continued to keep blacks out. The bell system does point out how underrepresented blacks are in employment situations.

In conclusion, Ezorsky feels our country owes AA to make up for its past wrong doings against blacks. Nothing can ever change the facts and cruelties of slavery and racism. Because of the history of blacks, success in achieving an integrated society without governmental help is highly unlikely. Overt and institutional racism keep blacks out. Sacrificing a few positions and educational seats is a small price to pay for the hardship America has caused blacks and other minority groups. ·

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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 19:26:08 CST
From: ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Racism and Justice (Miller)
Scott,

The author does not explicitly state any opinions in the book. Therefore, it is necessary for the reader to consider the style of writing and the emphasis put on the subjects covered. Through the book the author gives analysis of various positions on affirmative action. Some are given topical treatment, while others are given deep consideration. Those that are given closer consideration follow the pro-affirmative action discourse. The discussion of affirmative action culminates in a thorough discussion of the "basically qualified principle." The treatment of the "basically qualified principle' is noticably kinder than the treatment of the arguments by opponents to affirmative action. This is the basis upon which I decided that the author was in favor of the "basically qualified principle," which I prefer to call the minimally qualified principle.

To answer your second question, yes I do think that a labor force of less-qualified individuals would be a bad thing, regardless of their race. By adopting a racially biased employment policy, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Not only does a discriminatory policy legitimize racism, it also decreases incentives. The latter of which proved to be the downfall of the communists.

Rob

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Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 20:25:16 -0600
From: Adam E Sebastian <aeseba0@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Racism & Justice (Adam Sebastian)
Gertrude Ezorsky, Racism & Justice, (Cornell University Press, 1991). Reviewed by Adam Sebastian

The case for affirmative action (AA) is a broad one, like any controversial policy in the United States there are different standpoints by which the policy can be evaluated. An issue can be questioned on fairness, justice, constitutionality, morality, etc. Gertrude Ezorsky is an advocate for AA and breaks down this policy’s arguments on all levels. Ezorsky stresses AA’s potential for instituting fairness and justice in the American workforce after years of overwhelming prejudice against blacks. Ezorsky centers on blacks because of the huge amount of wrongs that have been perpetrated against this group of people. Although AA may be a remedy for future and pass injustice, it seems by the end of her book, Racism & Justice; Ezorsky is advocating stretching AA into a set of policies that Americans would never swallow in the name of justice. Ezorsky manages to work out a fair remedy for the racism that has affected the blacks of this country but pays little attention to the constitution or what is politically feasible in reality.

Ezorsky begins by distinguishing from overt and institutional racism. Overt racism is blatant favoring or withholding benefit strictly because of a person’s race. Institutional racism is when race neutral practices actually impede the success of one race. Although AA combats both types of racism, institutional racism is more often overlooked by law because of its race neutral stance; AA can be used as an affective way to stop it. Three examples of institutional racism in the workforce are personal connections, qualification standards, and seniority status. Personal connections are means by which many people are hired. This is not a blatant form of racism but does have the effects of institutional racism. Personal connections are built though family, friends, unions, etc., yet because blacks have been victims of such a strong level of overt racism their personal connections lack in the knowledge of jobs. The segregated social structure of the country has left blacks with almost no personal connections to the job market, compared with whites. Qualification standards can also be a form of institutional racism. Blacks have for years been denied as high of a level of education or job training as whites have been given. A lack of true equality in the educational system and in the unions has left blacks with lower qualifications then whites. High qualification standards have been a barrier to blacks that can not attain the qualifications because of overt racism. Seniority systems have also affected blacks in negative ways although it is a race neutral practice. Last hire, first fire policies result in the firing of blacks who have less seniority than most of the white workers because of the years of overt racism that may have barred them from that job. Ezorsky claims that AA can solve these forms of institutional racism and create a more even distribution of races in all occupations.

Affirmative action is an, “active measure to increase significantly the recruitment and upgrading of minorities” (31). The hope is that AA can move minorities to statistical parity in employment of all jobs, blue-collar and white-collar. With regard to employment Ezorsky argues the need for specific and goal orientated AA in hiring. To get beyond good faith and tokens recruitment must have specific goal of how many and a time frame in which minorities will be hired. This type of AA could solve the problem of the lack of personal connections experienced by blacks. The Supreme Court in Griggs v. Duke Power Co has already recognized qualification standards as institutional racism. It was ruled that an employer must show definite connection between the standard and the ability to perform the job. Even here the additional support of AA could farther lessen the effect of qualification standards on blacks. This comes in the way of the basically qualified strategy. In this AA strategy the employer hires basically qualified minorities in an attempt to boost statistical parity. As one can see this would counteract the years of inadequate schooling received by the black people. Seniority-based firing could also be rid of the racism by the concept of worksharing. Instead of laying off people an employer could give employees a four-day workweek, some employees working Mon.-Thurs. and some Tues.-Fri. Perhaps an employer, who had to make layoffs, might have a white and minority group in which seniority would be judged separately and the layoffs split between the groups. All this forms of AA seem an adequate solution to the problems that racism causes in the workforce.

Of course there are critiques of AA. One of these being that blacks are given statistical representation as a group, why not work to give every group that same benefit of statistical representation in every level of the workforce. For example there might be a call to give red haired or green-eyed people statistical representation in the workforce. Ezorsky believes this slippery slope is incorrect. She believes this is because blacks have been victims of such a high amount of racism and this would not apply to all groups in general. Yet what about those disadvantaged groups in the past that have succeeded in the job market without AA, such as the European immigrants. It seems as though they made it without AA. Yet Ezorsky says these immigrants were not as badly discriminated against and in fact they took most of the low jobs that would have gone to blacks, if not for racism. Therefore, the European immigrants benefited from racism and the blacks were always at the bottom.

Other critiques are brought up; one being that AA reinforces whites prejudice against blacks that get a job because of AA. Whites may have the idea of blacks being inferior and the only way they could get a job would be AA. Yet, Ezorsky counters this by the fact that whites may always be prejudice but between the two evils she would rather have blacks with jobs because of AA than no job at all. She also rejects the idea that AA only helps the high up blacks. Ezorsky even suggests that economic expansion would not be a remedy for blacks in the job market as much as AA would be. This is because even in expansion blacks are the last hired and there is often not adequate public transportation to many job opportunities. There still would be problems of personal connections and education as well. AA may not help those incapable of holding a job but such people would not benefit from other proposals.

After dealing with those critiques of instrumentation of AA, Ezorsky moves to addressing moral objections. This is where she looses touch with feasibility and makes week connections. She begins by explaining that there is a moral obligation to compensate blacks for all the wrongs that have been done to them. She concludes AA is a just compensation and cites the government’s similar policy for veterans. She points out that compensation can be a repayment for past suffering and does not prolong suffering. All blacks have suffered at some level because of racism, even better off blacks. Yet she does say better-off blacks might be less deserving but it doesn’t, “follow that they don’t deserve any compensation” (79). However because better-off blacks deserve compensation this must mean that the disadvantaged European immigrants, that did not suffer as much as blacks, still do deserve compensation. Yet, Ezorsky does not address this issue.

She then deals with the rights of the employers, claiming that the right to choose employees is not a personal right as choosing a spouse. Yet she does not draw a line on how much an employer can be told to do, in terms of hiring. In terms of the white workers who are hurt by AA, she acknowledges that this is unfair and suggests solutions to this problem. First she claims that whites who haven’t been racist can morally be ask to compensate blacks, but acknowledges preferential treatment of blacks is a high price. Someone must pay for the compensation. She then suggests whites should perhaps, pay blacks that are laid off because of seniority. I don’t think many would be willing to do this. Another idea is a federal progressive tax that would pay whites that were unfairly treated because of AA. Of course there would be a limit to how many times and how much one could be compensated because of AA. This seems utterly unfeasible, for obviously the public would not go along with this. In addition blacks would be in fact be partly paying for their own compensation, this is another injustice that would have to be dealt with somehow. These ideas just seem to fall apart with out her even noticing.

Although she fails to recognize those problems she comes back defending AA against those who say merit should remain the base for employment. Yet merit is not the base, among other preferential treatment there are personal connections, for example. She rightly concludes that merit is not the overwhelming basis for employment. Whites get jobs all the time because of personal preference or connections, AA is just another preference in the job market. Also blacks should not feel low self-respect for an AA job, it is compensation, they deserve it. The white person who gets a job because of personal connections does not look back and have low self-respect, neither should the black. The black even has more of a claim for preference.

Ezorsky’s AA system is an ideal one and would be the most just. She really does convince me of the fairness of AA in her system. It is too bad it will never become reality. Her moral ideas, of a progressive tax for instance, are totally unfeasible in the US. She flies though the constitutionality of AA policies with no real insight into that potential problem with AA. The cases that AA comes out on top she seems to say, “See!” and if AA loses she seems to say, “But it is fair.” Constitutionality isn’t talked much about; it is almost as she does not see it as a potential obstacle. Ezorsky’s ideas are great and so is her argument for AA. Yet it seems as though she lives in a fair, moral, constitution-free, and politically docile country. Surely, she does not live in the United States. ·

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Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 23:17:41 CST
From: ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Racism and Justice (Miller)
Racism and Justice, the Case for Affirmative Action by Gertrude Ezorsky Reviewed by Robert Miller Mail to: ltrobmil@hotmail.com

Gertrude Ezorsky’s book purports to give readers the perspective of both those who support affirmative action (AA) and those who oppose AA. She is decidedly pro-AA, but she attempts to discuss its opposition. The book begins with an overview of the problem of racism and continues by providing a thorough discussion of AA, to include some relevant court cases. As we will see, Ezorsky’s handling of the arguments for and against AA prove to be suspiciously one-sided. Her sympathy for the pro-AA stance is very pronounced even when attempting to "explain" its critics. She seems to go into much greater detail when discussing her beliefs than when discussing the alternative viewpoint. This will be the most distinct way for readers to grasp which are her views versus the ideas of her opponents.

The author begins with two definitions of racism. According to her, there are two basic types of racism, overt and institutional. Overt racism occurs when individuals intentionally treat minorities in a harmful manner. This may happen by the offender refusing a job, promotion, or raise to a minority based on race. An obvious example is the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Texas, but less violent activities such as employment practices also qualify. It is the author’s opinion that overt racism is a serious problem, but is difficult to address, since it is very hard to directly identify, since offenders are quick to conceal their activities.

Institutional racism is the other type. Ezorsky’s view is that AA is better suited to addressing institutional racism, than overt. Institutional racism for Ezorsky is a matter of unintentional, nominally neutral, practices that have adverse effects on minorities. Such practices include personal connections that whites may have based on their privileged status, qualification standards that favor whites due to their disproportionate education opportunities, and seniority status that many whites enjoy due to previous hiring decisions made by racist employers. Whatever the method of bias employers use to further institutional racism, AA can correct it.

Remedies for the two types of racism presented by Ezorsky follow three basic models. The first is the complaint remedy. The complaint remedy can be applied by blacks when they feel that their employers have subjected them to unfair practices. This remedy requires the plaintiff to announce their grievance publicly, and potentially subject themselves to both the ridicule of their coworkers and their employer’s possible reprisal. Ezorsky does not feel that this is a viable option for the victims of racist policies, whether overt or institutional.

The other two possible remedies for a racist society, according to the author, are both types of AA. Ezorsky defines the first as unspecific AA, while the second is predictably called specific AA. The first type puts the onus on employers, while the second requires government intervention in the workplace. Both types are intended to correct the past inequities in opportunity experienced by minorities.

Unspecific AA requires prospective employers to use methods such as outreach programs to actively seek potential black applicants that posses the sought qualifications. These candidates would be more representative, since they have been drawn from a pool of workers that has not been the common pool of applicants. This "good faith" effort on the part of employers can provide the black community with the opportunity to expand their options. Ezorsky believes, albeit subtly, that this type of AA is ineffective due to the emphasis on the good will of the employers who have been past offenders. Obviously, those who have already been practicing fair employment practices will not be the focus of this effort, and those who will need to begin unspecific AA will be unwilling participants.

The type of AA that this author would most like to see implemented is specific AA. In this version of AA the government would require employers to select candidates for hiring, promotion, and raises primarily on racial qualifications and secondarily on job-related qualifications. The author asserts, between the lines, that this type of AA would be the only successful remedy for racism in the workplace. As we will see, Ezorsky asserts her opinion by thoroughly describing specific AA, rather than clearly stating her support for it.

Specific AA can be implemented by employers through four basic strategies. The first opportunity for employers to support specific AA is through the use of quotas. The quota system is the most commonly recognized and attacked form of AA. Under the quota system, regardless of qualifications, minorities receive favoritism based on their race. This method will be discussed further as the criticisms of AA are reviewed, but suffice it to say that it meets strong opposition. The second form specific AA can take requires courts to review policies on qualification standards. Under this form, employers would be required to eliminate qualifications that do not seem to be directly job-related. Such qualifications as education, for instance, cannot be required by employers in dispensing rewards. Employers may not grant employees benefits based on requirements that do not specifically relate to the job as determined by the courts. Ezorsky seems to present this as a viable solution, but it does not go far enough. This solution only grants the benefits of job advancement to those African-Americans that posses qualifications which exceed those of their competitors and are job-specific.

The third form of specific AA gives basically qualified blacks the advantage over whites. For instance, if a black applicant possesses the minimum requirements to perform a job he will be afforded the opportunity over a white candidate even if the white candidate is better qualified. Since there is no limit to the program, this type of AA could potentially result in a minimally-qualified black majority hierarchy, which controls a better-qualified white subordinate group of workers.

The fourth incarnation of specific AA discussed is intended to address the under-representation of blacks in organizations’ senior levels. Institutional racism has presented minorities with the unique problem of having less seniority than their white counterparts. The author asserts that through statistically standardized layoffs the seniority issue can be alleviated. Unlike the current system of laying-off the least senior employees, which has a disproportionately negative effect on blacks, the new system would treat them fairly. Her argument loses steam, though, when she tries to address the problem of equity for whites who have earned seniority. This problem presents some complicated ramifications, however, and the author gives some questionable solutions. For each of the remedies for inequality, the author also gives the criticisms. The opposition receives marginal treatment at best. As mentioned, Ezorsky presents her views in depth, but gives critics only topical discussion.

She handles the statistical representation solution (quotas), by showing that critics charge that it is natural for blacks to play their cultural role in society. This skewed criticism asserts that blacks naturally gravitate toward occupations that are common for their demographic group. Such jobs are usually low-skilled, low-paying, manual labor jobs that limit their future prospects. According to Ezorsky, the critics believe that these jobs are the most attractive to blacks, and they need not be forced into the upper levels of organizations. The author’s example is the employment of operators for Bell. Here the operators are disproportionately black. They are not afforded the opportunity to advance, but are in the occupation best suited them, according to AA critics. For most readers this opinion is unseemly, as it should be. The handling of the opponents is entirely biased, as are the handling of the other oppositions to AA.

Another reason to oppose AA is the belief that increased prejudice will result from AA. In this scenario, whites who were not given opportunities will see blacks in an increasingly negative light. The result will be suspicion and resentment of successful blacks.

The final criticism of AA is that it will not affect the lowest layer of the black population. Those at the bottom of the food chain will not benefit from the advances made by those who are more privileged in the black hierarchy. This problem will manifest itself in those who are not even basically qualified for desirable positions. The least successful will continue to wallow in poverty, while those able to capitalize on AA would have succeeded anyhow, and will certainly succeed when given the opportunity.

Ezorsky educates the reader that AA opponents hold up immigrants as proof that our system is fair. She shows us that these critics hold immigrants as shining examples of minority success stories. The most successful of these are Indian immigrants, who have achieved disproportionate success in the job market. According to Alejandro Portes and Ruben Rumbaut in Immigrant America, the untold story is that Indian immigrants have been positively selected based on their unusually high level of education. They have also not been subjected to centuries-old discriminatory practices as has the black population. The author also presents the moral implications of AA. She gives four aspects of AA from the moralist perspective, which is obviously opposed to AA. She gives four groups of opinions regarding the morality of AA. These are forward-looking, backward-looking, meritocratic, and black self-respect.

The forward-looking perspective has occupational integration as its goal. Moral objections include the arguments that unqualified blacks are unaffected, white candidates’ rights are violated, and employers’ rights are violated. For each of the forward-looking objections, Ezorsky gives greater discussion to AA proponents. The backward-looking adherents believe that blacks deserve compensation for slavery and prolonged discriminatory practices. Objections include the arguments that no repayment is possible (so why try), better off black families do not deserve compensation, and preferences that damage the most disadvantaged are unfair. As the reader has observed throughout the book, these criticisms are presented in the dimmest light and are summarily dismissed by the author.

The meritocratic criticism of AA is presented as an unfeeling and impersonal approach to job placement. Under this criticism, opponents of AA assert that a pure merit system is the only one that could be fair. They are dismissed as not having considered the implications of blacks’ lack of opportunities. Blacks have not been afforded the privilege that whites have and they, therefore, do not posses the ability to perform at comparable levels. The merit system is unjust, because it gives the best qualified candidates the position without regard to the disparity of racial opportunities.

The last point in the discussion of moral objections addresses the possibility that AAwill lead to a decreased self-respect by blacks. The critics charge that AA will lead to blacks feeling inferior, since they "need" AA to succeed. This is obviously erroneous, because blacks realize that they have not had the opportunities, and therefore deserve disproportionate compensation to compete equitably.

The author concludes with a few court cases that deal with AA. The cases either support AA, or they are wrong. As with the rest of the book the author turns on the high beams when others agree and dims the lights for the opposition. The case presentation is interesting, though. They provide a cross-section of legal decisions that parallel the main points of the book. Ezorsky shows how they support her arguments, and offer some answers to the tough problems that AA causes. In sum, Ezorsky’s book provides an overview of both sides of the AA debate. Unfortunately, the book does not give equal treatment to both sides. For those who support AA prior to reading the book, it gives added ammunition, but for others it gives only a superficial view of their opinions, frequently glossing over the strongest points of their arguments. Overall, this is an interesting book, but hardly what the author purports to be providing.

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Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 05:09:42 -0600
From: "Eddie O'kelley" <eokell@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Racism@Justice (Eddie O'Kelley)
Ezorsky, Gertrude.Racism@Justice, The Case for Affirmative Action, (Cornell University Press,Ithaca,NY:1991) Reviewed by: Eddie O'Kelley eokell@ilstu.edu

As the old saying goes if you don’t think I’m sinking look at the hole I’m in. Gertrude Ezorsky wrote a book about and titled Racism and Justice-The case for affirmative action. She did just that, brought to the table the case about affirmative action. Her book is divided into three parts. Part one deals with a breakdown of racism. She breaks this down into two main points’ overt and institutional racism. She starts out by defining what is overt racism. 

Overt racism she says, “takes place only if a harm is inflicted or a benefit is withheld because of the perpetrator’s racial bias against the victim or the perpetrator’s obliging the race prejudice of others.” This of course is the most visible form of racism between these two points. Then she states what institutional racism is, this occurs when a firm uses a practice that is race-neutral (free of racial bias) but that has a negative effect on blacks as a group. Ezorsky feels that this occurs by basically three possible ways. The first example being through what is described as personal connections or the more modern name of networking. However, this form of networking is done only through ones own race. The second way that Ezorsky feels institutional racism to occur is through certain qualifications that set specific standards in order for promotion/advancement to occur in ones field/job. The third way is the seniority status of individuals who you can say received this by the combination of the latter two. These can be looked at as a traditional “good-old-boys” NETWORK in which one leads into the other and only if you belong do you reap the rewards. 

After going over these messages Ezorsky goes onto talk about the so-called remedies for racism, with a major focus on affirmative action. Ezorsky talks about how title 7 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act tries to help curb racism, by prohibiting discrimination. Under title 7 individuals who feel that they are discriminated against have the legal right to file a complaint. If this complaint is proven then there are serious consequences for that employer, such as a fine and having that negative label for their company. The employee normally receives financial restitution and or immediate promotion for the being discriminated. Ezorsky goes on to state however, that this complaint is rare and hard to prove. Other forms of remedies she talks about is the unspecific which implies the “good faith” practice of hiring such as advertisement in the classifieds/help wanted section of the newspapers. This to me though is the reason why there is a need for concern because this “good faith’ practice was not being met in the first place. The other remedy she talks about is also need for concern. This is called the specific, which has quotas, special qualification requirements and even “basically qualified requirements. 

All of these specifics tend to bring the worst out of everyone. Whites claim that because of these specifics there is a form of reverse discrimination. The thought being that just because you are black/minority there is a preference in hiring which is unfair to them. (This sounds pretty ironic to Me.). While some blacks claim that there is a sense of inferiority placed onto them because of this practice of preferential treatment. This is supported by the “basically qualified” strategy of hiring rather than the best-qualified man and or women for the job. The suggestion of blacks not being able to compete so they need assistance is put in the mind of those it is intended for and those it is not. Here Ezorsky goes onto talk about the practical effectiveness and moral acceptance of AA before AA became the many different meanings of what it is know for in today’s mainstream. 

I found this to very interesting because it gave me a more solid understanding of the systematic way in how the ones with the power kept the power, even in areas where they were clearly the minority. While reading this I was reminded of how the blacks in South Africa clearly the majority were suppressed by the white minority. This special need for concern is how eventually AA was even necessary and eventually created. She then goes to Part II of her book that takes a look at how these programs effectiveness are doing. First she tells of how they are effective by where this program is enforced has showed significant benefits for blacks. Then she takes up the issues of these programs moral perspectives. She brings to the table a bunch of arguments, one being against statistical representation. She brings in the argument of how other minorities are successful. She asks the question of whether AA has helped not only the advantage black but also the black underclass? 

Also raised is the question of whether preference reinforces white prejudice? Ezorsky redresses the moral perspectives on AA and brings to light the past of how not just private parties but even our government practiced these forms of methods to discriminate. She states that in 1973 legal scholar Boris I. Bittker stated, “More than any other form of official misconduct, racial discrimination against blacks was systematic, unrelenting, authorized at the highest levels, and practiced by large segments of the population.” Ezorsky does something that loses me and I do not agree with. She brings a solution to the table but it is on the deep end of solutions. She suggests that whites should be compensated for black preferential treatment. Then she uses a critic by Mr. Shelby Steeles’ in which his statement about compensation is a counterproductive claim for AA. Part III. She talks about the Bell system in which she gives information on how blacks were kept from advancement and given only the lowest paying and least attractive jobs in the whole company. She also brings up the issues of reform for institutional racism. 

She ends her informative book about AA and justice with a response to the moral critics of Affirmative Action from an individual who I admire the late Justice Thurgood Marshall in which he is expressing his opinion about a case, where he is concurring in part and dissenting in part. I tend to believe that Ezorsky brings up the many issues concerning AA. I found her book to be very informative and understanding while enjoyable and easy to read. Even though she brought up many points concerning AA and had counter arguments for these as well as some solutions, she sometimes did not have enough backing for those arguments and her ideals seemed to be a little bit to far fetch to me. One solution that comes to mind is her belief about compensation for whites. Ezorsky however, despite these few shortcomings did a just job in explaining the history of AA, its’ different forms and remedies. She explained the criticism of AA and had fairly sufficient support to back up most of her claims. It seemed to me that she had an ideal of what direction she wanted her book to go and she for the most part followed that path. I guess you could say, if she slipped and fell she got right back up again so nobody would see it. Her message got across through her book loud and unmistakable. Her message was convincing and clear to me except for the compensation part that I stated earlier. I tend to believe that her messages in this book are worth all to explore and to relish. In the future these problems to me will be not as existent as today. I feel that if in the past these problems were address then, and looked at honestly, we just might not be having as much as a concern with AA today. Since we did not pay attention in the past we surely will have to be patient in trying to get out of this quicksand. ·

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Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 23:10:46 -0600
From: Scott Berends <swberen@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Re: Racism and Justice (Miller)
Robert,

i am curious to know where you stand concerning Ezorsky's advocation of the minimum qualifications argument. in your argument you reached the logical conclusion of the argument, namely that the higher qualified whites in america would be denied jobs in favor of minimally qualified (but under qualified when compared to whites) minorities. two questions naturally follow from a conclusion such as this: by what standards does measure whether someone is "qualified"? and even if the minimally qualified argument does result in a job force dominated by minimally qualified blacks while a number of more qualified whites go jobless, does that necessarily entail a bad thing? i am merely curious to know your opinions concerning these questions and my above statement.

Scott Berends Illinois State University swberen@mail.ilstu.edu ·

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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 19:26:08 CST
From: ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Racism and Justice (Miller)
To: POS334-L@H-NET.MSU.EDU
Scott,

The author does not explicitly state any opinions in the book. Therefore, it is necessary for the reader to consider the style of writing and the emphasis put on the subjects covered. Through the book the author gives analysis of various positions on affirmative action. Some are given topical treatment, while others are given deep consideration. Those that are given closer consideration follow the pro-affirmative action discourse. The discussion of affirmative action culminates in a thorough discussion of the "basically qualified principle." The treatment of the "basically qualified principle' is noticably kinder than the treatment of the arguments by opponents to affirmative action. This is the basis upon which I decided that the author was in favor of the "basically qualified principle," which I prefer to call the minimally qualified principle.

To answer your second question, yes I do think that a labor force of less-qualified individuals would be a bad thing, regardless of their race. By adopting a racially biased employment policy, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Not only does a discriminatory policy legitimize racism, it also decreases incentives. The latter of which proved to be the downfall of the communists.

Rob

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Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 02:17:17 -0500
From: "Ureatha Watkins, Illinois State University" <uawatki@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Re: Racism & Justice (Autumn Pemble)
I thought that your review was very interesting.

1) "Blacks do poorly on standardized test because of their separate backgrounds. Whites produce better scores because they are better equipped due to the bias of the tests.

I don't necessarily agree with that statement (by the author, I suppose). I believe that blacks don't score as high or equivalent to their white counterparts because of institutional racism. Coming from the city of Chicago, Illinois I have seen first hand what black high schools have to offer their students for the competitive future. Not much of anything. Individuals in majority minority high schools are not on the same scale because this society would rather spend the money on armed forces and the war on drugs instead of educating all children equally.

I believe that white society is content with watching black children who don't receive adequate education. They are content with watching blacks shoot and kill each other. There isn't a problem for them until their "white" children are being shot in "Jonesboro" by white school mates, now it's an epidemic that must be solved at once. "GUN CONTROL."

In your review you said "black are seen as inferior to their white counterparts," who does the author says believes this?

I don't believe that this country owes me (being a black American) anything. There isn't anything out there in this world that I cannot achieve. Affirmative Action was not designed to "make up for past wrong doings." It was designed to provide equal opportunities to those who would not otherwise receive it. I, personally don't need any guilt ridden, sympathy passed to me because of my color or because I am a female.

Ureatha ·

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Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 13:26:45 -0500
From: Matthew Schueman <mrschue@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Racism and Justice (Matthew Schueman)
Ezorsky, Gertrude; Racism & Justice The Case for Affirmative Action; 1991 Cornell University Press

Reviewed by Matthew Schueman mrschue@ilstu.edu

Gertrude Ezorsky divided her book, Racism & Justice the Case for Affirmative Action, into three sections that contain two chapters each. The first section provides an analysis of racism and suggests some remedies for this problem. The second section deals deeper with the remedies for racism evaluating them as tools for ending racism and dealing with criticisms of these remedies. The third section contains the documentation she uses to support her claims.

Ezorsky begins the first section of her book by defining two types of racism that exist in the world. The first type is called overt racism. This type of racism "takes place only if a harm is inflicted or a benefit withheld either because of the perpetrator's racial bias against the victim or because of that perpetrator's obliging the race prejudice of others" (Ezorsky 9). This type of racism can take place even if the perpetrator is not racist individually, but conforms to the racism of others. The author gives the example of black students who, because of segregated school districts that receive unequal funding, are provided with an inferior education. In all the places I have ever lived funding for school was provided by property taxes so it seems unlikely that this specific example deals with any form of racism. Schools that receive a lot of funding, such as Hinsdale or Wheaton schools in Illinois, are provided for by the taxes people pay on having big houses and living in areas with low crime rates. I spend this much time on this particular example because many pro affirmative action authors, especially Ezorsky, list the inadequate schooling that blacks receive as a reason for having affirmative action and they label this discrepancy in quality of schooling racism. This would not appear to be an overtly racist action. It is just a result of the difference in incomes that can be seen between blacks and whites. Perhaps this discrepancy can be labeled with Ezorsky's second definition of racism, institutional racism.

"Institutional racism occurs when a firm uses a practice that is race-neutral (intrinsically free of racial bias) but that nevertheless has an adverse impact on blacks as a group" (Ezorsky 9). This definition of racism would apply to the discrepancy in the quality of schooling that can be seen between blacks and whites. Another example of this type of racism is the standards that can exist for employment. If workers applying for a job are required to have certain credentials such as x amount of years experience or specific training, and blacks do not generally have these credentials, then these standards are a form of institutional racism. The author is careful to point out that in a society that is all white or free of any racial bias these practices would be okay, but in our society they are a form of racism. For example, last hired first fired employment practices tend to knock blacks out of jobs because they have not held them for as long as whites. These two types of racism can be used together and manipulated to produce some very racist results. Labor unions have been doing this for years to exclude black applicants from higher paying jobs. Ezorsky feels that institutional racism has been the greatest contributor to racism in the work place. She describes the effects of this type of racism by defining the three ways that it is present in our society.

The first form or institutional racism is hiring based on personal connections. It is easy to see how this practice has effected the black population negatively since affirmative action is rather young compared to the amount of time the practice of employment has existed in this country. Therefore, blacks have not had as much time to advance to higher positions where they would be able to hire their black friends. Ezorsky makes the statement that blacks and whites do not interact outside of the workplace so whites would not have black friends to extend the employment powers to. She has found many studies indicating that word of mouth through friends, family, and neighbors is probably the most widely used recruiting method. Hopefully, as blacks move up the ladder and gain higher incomes and access to predominantly white neighborhoods, this form of institutional racism will begin to dwindle away. 

The second form that she describes is the act of hiring based on qualification standards. Immediately she states that education standards are becoming less of a factor in the exclusion of blacks from higher paying employment because more and more blacks are obtaining higher education. However, because of past incidents of overt racism, if a qualification is work experience blacks are not as likely to get the job. In United Steelworkers of America v. Weber a black worker demonstrated how past racism excluded him from a job he was attempting to obtain. Though employers have every right to require experience in their applicants, the fact that many blacks were not able to obtain this experience in the past must be considered. The example of past segregation in the schools appears in Ezorsky's definitions of racism and her explanations of the need for affirmative action quite often. Here the poorer education that blacks received contributes to their inability to meet qualification standards. The last form of institutional racism that Ezorsky mentions is the effect of the seniority systems present in our workforce on black employees. Obviously, since blacks have been in the workforce for a smaller period of time they would not be able to gain senior status in corporations where promotions have benefited the senior employees and layoffs have hurt the newer employees.

In the second chapter of the book, Ezorsky describes how affirmative action should be applied in order to be an effective remedy for institutional racism of the present and overt racism of the past and present. She first states that complaints, or "actions taken to remedy overt discrimination against identifiable individuals" (Ezorsky 28), are not adequate for a number of reasons. First, complaints are not a practical remedy for racism in the workplace because the victims of this racism will be very reluctant to make complaints against the company they work for because they fear being labeled a troublemaker. This label can travel with an employee for life, and therefore victims are hesitant to risk this. Second, it is very difficult to prove that an employer is acting out of racial bias, which is often covered up by effective strategies used by management. Lastly, because if institutional racism, blacks often can not even hear about high paying jobs because of legal segregation and other practices of the sort. Complaints cannot be filed because a black person cannot afford to live in a white neighborhood, so blacks are out of the personal connection loop and can do nothing about it. These reasons are why Ezorsky feels that complaints are not acceptable remedies for racism. Next she describes the differences between two types of affirmative action, unspecific AA vs. specific AA. Ezorsky doesn't think that unspecific AA is a sufficient remedy. This type of AA includes recruitment by visits to black schools and by advertising. It also includes hiring blacks with no specific requirements for numbers such as amount hired or timetables for implementing the AA. The lack of numbers is obviously a big problem since white employers can then hire a few token blacks and not do any effective restructuring of the work force. Employers can also make promises of reform and never follow through on them since there are no deadlines. Another problem Ezorsky mentions with unspecific AA is that the advertising can benefit whites as well as blacks, the whites that are outside of the "behind-the-scenes hiring networks." Apparently not all whites have the powerful personal connections that Ezorsky (and other authors such as Delgado) had previously assigned to the entire white population in the United States. She thinks that specific AA, which includes numbers in the forms of timetables and requirements for quantity and quality of reformation in the work force, is a much better remedy for racism of the past and present. Ezorsky provides a couple of methods for how AA can remedy the forms of institutional racism. To help with the problems that qualification standards create for blacks when they are seeking employment, the author suggests that a "basically qualified standard" is used to racially balance the workplace. With this strategy, a trainable black applicant is selected over a fully qualified white candidate. While right off the bat, this suggestion sounds very unreasonable, Ezorsky provides reimbursement through government subsidies in an effort to ease the tax on the white candidate that this form of hiring places.

At first glance, I was appalled by this solution, but as I thought about it tough problems call for tough solutions. Another solution Ezorsky provides concerns the seniority system. In this system, the author suggests that seniority be judged by racial group since, in most cases, overall black workers are the younger members in companies. When a layoff is called for, such as a 1/5th layoff, 1/5th of the black workers will be laid off and 1/5th of the white workers will be laid off. This system of judging seniority based on race can be applied to remedy the effects of the seniority system on all the other areas of labor. The seniority system seems to be a fair way to determine advancements, layoffs, and other decisions concerning employees, so it is reasonable to think this solution unfair, but Ezorsky accounts for this and again suggests the government subsidies to ease the tax on white workers. I don't think this reparation is necessary. It is every member of society's job to make this country a fair and equal place for all races to live and seek employment. What must be remembered is that most solutions to the imbalance that exists between whites and blacks in terms of financial status, education, and employment, are temporary implements into the everyday practices that take place in our country. No one is suggesting that blacks cannot compete because of their race, only that right now, it is not fair to expect them to be able to compete after years and years of overt racism. After some period of time, blacks will balance off with whites and these strategies can be abandoned, if the strategies are followed correctly. This is the plan of many pro-AA people, and Ezorsky does a fine job of presenting how it will work, why it is necessary, and why it is fair. ·

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Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 22:08:57 -0800
From: Autumn Pemble <atpembl@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Racism & Justice (Autumn Pemble)
Ezorsky, Gertrude. Racism & Justice: The Case For Affirmative Action, (Cornell University Press: 1991). Reviewed By: Autumn Pemble

Due to the amount of racism in our society, affirmative action programs have been implemented to open many doors for blacks and other minorities. Racism & Justice: The Case For Affirmative Action is a book that defends affirmative action programs. In this book, Gertrude Ezorsky discusses many debatable topics concerning affirmative action programs. Unlike Shelby Steele, Gertrude Ezorsky is a firm believer in affirmative action (AA) programs. She gives many well supported arguments and addresses many issues on affirmative action.

Ezorsky begins the book by distinguishing between overt and institutional racism. Overt racism occurs when one is deprived or harmed because he or she is a particular race. Institutional racism occurs when policies are put in place that intentionally or unintentionally tend to keep minorities out or essentially that is what is happening. Overt and institutional racism are concepts Ezorsky addresses throughout the book because they keep blacks from the work force.

Ezorsky argued that blacks are disadvantaged from the beginning when they are seeking a particular job. According to Ezorsky, blacks lack certain traits and acquaintances that are necessary to obtain certain positions. For example, blacks often lack the "friend" that is needed to give the boss a good word or two that whites often have. Ezorsky claims that most people do get their jobs based on the number of "friends" that they have. Therefore, blacks are disadvantaged because they live for the most part in a separate society in which the contacts are not visible. Not only are jobs jeopardized by the lack of "friends" but living arrangements are also at risk. "A University of Chicago study of the nation's ten largest cities showed that blacks and whites rarely interact outside the workplace (17)." Thus, the chances of blacks having white contacts within the workplace or outside of it are very slim. This contributes to the idea of overt racism because these practices (personal contacts) indirectly keep blacks from grasping or benefiting from a particular job.

Ezorsky also explains how and why blacks lack essential skills that are necessary in certain workplaces. She explains how in the sixties and seventies blacks were banned from certain schools, depriving them of better educations. She notes that black children adopted by white middle class families score higher on the scale than black children adopted by middle class black families. Therefore, because of past treatment of blacks in America, whites are advantaged since birth. She says blacks do poorly on standardized tests because of their separate backgrounds than that of the whites. Whites seem to produce better test scores because they are better equipped due to the bias of the test.

If not indirectly, blacks can be directly susceptible to racism. For example, qualifications may be raised to purposely exclude blacks from the pool of applicants. Racist employers and employees may purposely implement higher qualification criteria in their policy to keep minorities out. One's "personality" or "vigor" may be put to the test. These type of qualities and traits will only reinforce racial prejudices and promote racism.

Another point Ezorsky makes is that when a black person does receive a job it may not benefit him or her as it would if he or she was white. Ezorsky says that it is the whites who have secured seniority. Seniority can make or break one's job and future. Seniority causes one to receive substantial benefits financially. On the flip side, blacks will be falling off the ladder because they lack seniority. "Whites have eleven times the wealth of blacks; one-third of all blacks have no major assets whatsoever except cash on hand (25)." Unfortunately due to these devastating statistics, blacks are seen as inferior to their white counterparts. Even after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, blacks were still deprived of seniority status. For example, before the act blacks would be at the bottom of the work ladder working their way up. However, after the act, they would not be deprived of the better white departments. Yet, blacks gained entrance to these departments only to start once again at the bottom of the work ladder and work from scratch. Because of such practices, blacks continue to remain disproportionately at the bottom of the ladder in workplaces.

Ezorsky feels that Affirmative Action programs are practical and moral remedies for racism. She is not concerned with rather these remedies fit into the constitution; She is concerned with justice. Ezorsky acknowledges that Title 7 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act give employees who feel they have been discriminated against a say in court. However, Ezorsky claims that minorities are prevented from making accusations and recovering proper remedies. Minorities are prevented from using these sources and getting what is deserved because the co-workers would view them as "troublemakers" and it is hard for them to actually prove bias in the workplace. Employers have ways to cover things up.

Ezorsky supports affirmative action because she feels that blacks suffer from a racist society. Therefore, affirmative action programs are made to help compensate minorities. According to Ezorsky, many blacks have benefited from Affirmative Action programs. She says that blacks are beginning to represent themselves in the work force. For example, "by 1982 20,000 black officers had been added to police forces around the nation (48)." Also the number of minority construction workers increased more than 10% (48).

Since Ezorsky is in favor of Affirmative Action and believes that it is doing good for blacks she challenges many claimed pitfalls of affirmative action. One issue involves the idea that political parties should also benefit from Affirmative action programs. She does not agree that blacks should be considered the same as other groups like conservatives or Republicans. She acknowledges that other groups are also disproportionately represented in areas. However, she says that blacks are the ones suffering from overt and institutional racism. Thus, banned "throughout society" because of the color of their skin (56).

Other people against affirmative action programs, argue that other minority groups other than blacks are achieving their desired goals without the provisions of Affirmative Action. Ezorsky feels that the history of blacks is far more complex than the history of other minority groups. She also sees the history has threatening the presence of black workers in today's society. For example, blacks were forced into white society and severely punished if they showed signs of rebellion against white cultures. The laws were specifically against blacks and designed for them. Laws regulated segregation and harsh penalties were of use if blacks tried to disobey segregation. Other sociologists claim that minorities actually benefited from racism. Robert Blauner said that minorities such as the Jewish and the Irish took Northern blacks jobs and forced the blacks into Harlem. Thus, minorities other than blacks did benefit from racism. Unfortunately, the black "underclass" was also a result.

According to Ezorsky, blacks from poverty and from wealth are benefiting from Affirmative Action Programs. Many critics argue that only middle class blacks can be benefited from Affirmative action. However, Ezorsky points out that blacks are shifting into better positions, and poor college bound blacks are being admitted into professional schools.

The next argument that Ezorsky makes is that the black "underclass" is also benefiting from AA. William Wilson the author of The Truly Disadvantaged claims that the black "underclass" cannot reach the benefits that AA has to offer. Yet, Ezorsky believes that blacks just by knowing about AA become more motivated, gain certain jobs, and grasp educations that will help them succeed.

A controversial argument that Ezorsky raises, is if AA is morally justified. Ezorsky claims yes, while others claim no. Shelby Steele, a researcher at Stanford University, says that AA defeats Americas system of merit in his book A Dream Deferred:The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America. Ezorsky says the merit system is not being defeated because some AA candidates are better qualified than the whites who are already in the work force. She says our labor system is not really based on merit anymore. People get their jobs by who they know and certain qualifications that are out of the reach of blacks are not needed to perform the job anyhow. She believes that AA promotes integration between the races by giving blacks and whites the opportunities to interact with one another. Integration she claims will reduce racial tensions.

Lastly, she does not agree with the argument that AA causes people to lose their self-respect. She reinforces the reality that blacks were once slaves and are subject to institutional racism. Even Justice Marshall viewed the history of the blacks as different than other minorities and acknowledged that blacks were to abide by laws that made them racially inferior. Therefore, blacks do not lose self-respect due to AA because self-respect was jeopardized from the beginning of the African American history.

In the last part of the book, she examined the discrimination that blacks had faced in the 50' S and says that the discrimination still exists today. She brings up the bell system. The bell companies resisted hiring blacks. Then in the 1940's blacks were given the worst jobs the bell companies had to offer. However, the number of blacks did increase form 1940-1960. Yet, they are still over represented as operators and equality as yet to be reached in the bell system. The company policies regarding educational requirements have continued to keep blacks out. The bell system does point out how underrepresented blacks are in employment situations.

In conclusion, Ezorsky feels our country owes AA to make up for its past wrong doings against blacks. Nothing can ever change the facts and cruelties of slavery and racism. Because of the history of blacks, success in achieving an integrated society without governmental help is highly unlikely. Overt and institutional racism keep blacks out. Sacrificing a few positions and educational seats is a small price to pay for the hardship America has caused blacks and other minority groups. ·

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Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 09:13:43 -0800
From: Josh Shea <jts_79@YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: review of racism and justice
What's your stand on Affirmative Action? Do you even know the specifics about Affirmative Action or are you one of those people that think it is some sort of scam to give minorities more jobs and cheat qualified whites out of a career they earned? Well, in Gertrude Ezorsky's book Racism and Justice, written in 1991; she presents an argument that is valid for the 1970s and early 1980s, yet somewhat clouded by reality since the book is significantly outdated. Racism and Justice is outdated because she is trying to reproportion the labor force, in hope that it will lead to a more diverse labor force. Ezorsky thinks people will start unlearning racist practices that were based on history. Times have changed drastically, not to say that Affirmative Action is unneeded or irrelevant, but it has extremely decreased since society is making progress in adapting to racial diversity. In today's society Affirmative Action is not needed at the level Ezorsky discusses since blacks hold more jobs in a variety of fields than ever before.

According to Ezorsky, Affirmative Action started in the 1960s with the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement to help blacks in employment opportunities and has been diminishing in the 1980s. The policy of Affirmative Action was established to lessen the unfavorable effects of past and present racist practices within our country. With this reasoning it is evident that Ezorsky believes Affirmative Action will gradually be utilized less. Based on her arguments she seems to dwell on the past and not on the present or future. From Ezorsky's stance she does not view Affirmative Action as discrimination of whites, instead she sees it as proportioning the workplace and giving all races their own opportunities. This is a flaw in her reasoning since Affirmative Action could be looked at as reverse discrimination, yet Ezorsky justifies her stance on Affirmative Action because of previous racist practices in the U.S. Ezorsky's argument for Affirmative Action contradicts her meaning of overt racism given in the first section of the book. There are two categories of racism that Ezorsky discusses, overt racism and institutional racism. Overt racism occurs when harm is inflicted or a benefit is withheld because of a racial bias against a certain person or because it is obliging a racial prejudice of another person. Institutional racism, which is when a firm or practice that is race-neutral goes against their policies and possesses negative effects on blacks. Ezorsky persists to support her opinion by bringing up such issues as segregated education, housing discrimination in certain areas, the last hired, first fired policies of employers which deprive blacks of experience, the exclusion of blacks from white society where personal connections to jobs are made, and the refusal of unions and firms to train black youths.

This reasoning is common to many pro-Affirmative Action supporters, but after the 1990s and entering the 21st century these complaints have significantly diminished. Many blacks live in the same housing areas as whites and interact with whites. Today's society is far less infected with racism than the previous three to four decades. There are blacks acting in the Congress, as CEOs, military leaders, and all types of managers and corporate higher-ups. Blacks have been successful in the U.S. and not all have gotten there with preferential treatment or Affirmative Action, they strived as hard as any other person of a different ethnic background.

Early on Ezorsky makes the statement that blacks and whites are living in two different worlds despite the fact that the United States has been labeled as integrated for the past three decades. The issues that were previously mentioned such as housing discrimination and personal connections along with last hired, first fired were a few of the most vital factors in backing her argument. Ezorsky used these reasons in her argument because she states whites were often well educated. Through education, they learned about the history of the U.S., which has been clearly guilty of regarding blacks as an inferior race. Due to this belief of inferiority many whites have established their own happy lives excluding blacks from their neighborhoods despite their economic status or education. When these blacks are excluded from their neighborhoods they are excluded from the communication with whites that starts to separate the two races. Then with this separation Ezorsky suggests the cause of other limitations that blacks face. She mentions the most significant point that I always tend to bring up when debating Affirmative Action…education. I also believe that school systems in our country have inherited the social structure of the past whereas black children's school districts get far less funds. This has been proven through many studies such as East St. Louis school district. These funds result in an inadequate education, which leaves blacks ill equipped for future employment. The personal connections factor does not even play a role if blacks' education is at a below par level. Ezorsky argues that the last hired, first fired by employers forces blacks to lose their jobs too quickly making the Affirmative Action policies to hire blacks backfire altogether. She insists this contributes to blacks lack of seniority in the workplace, which perpetuates easily through unions by disallowing blacks to join.

This is a very outdated argument because employers are not being forced to hire thousands of blacks making them the last hired. This occurred back in the 1970s in the southern states. A diverse array of people are being hired day in and day out in today's society making her entire proposition of last hired, first fired incorrect. It is impossible to state that one race has been hired lastly; in today's society the majority of employees are hired by merit.

When it comes to defending her argument against the meritocrats, Ezorsky states that merit is overlooked many times in society because of politics or connections. Therefore, she sees it as acceptable to give preferential treatment. However, when two candidates come to the table with different competency levels Ezorsky believes that the highest competency should prevail in earning the job.

In attempting to justify her opinions, Ezorsky pleads her case for Affirmative Action to make blacks beneficiaries in employment opportunities that they would have been discriminated against. In proposing Affirmative Action, Ezorsky goes on to say that this program will not hurt whites. She suggests allotting a certain proportion of whites and blacks to be laid off based on the amount that are employed with the corporation. The government would compensate these whites that get forced out of their occupation until they locate a different job or get rehired. This occurred in the Supreme Court case Vulcan Pioneers versus New Jersey Department of Civil Service, when the court ruled that since the jobs lost were in the public's good they deserve compensation This contradicts what she was stating earlier, on competency levels. She does agree a reduction in competency is negative for an employer, therefore why not layoff by merit? In the business world merit is the most profitable method. Managers disregard the race of their employees; their attention is devoted to profits. If the hiring of a black person is harmful to the business necessity and it is proven then it is acceptable decided by Robinson versus Lorillard. During the section of the book were Ezorsky defended the pro-Affirmative Action side against the anti-Affirmative Action side, she addressed the question of whether or not Affirmative Action had the ability to help poorer blacks. Ezorsky thought it helped the poorer blacks, especially in the South getting jobs in textile mills and other various factories. This allowed many black women to get jobs that more than tripling the wages they were making as maids, nannies, and housekeepers. These Affirmative Action programs also helped black males that were previously working jobs that had worse conditions and fewer wage. This program clearly does not only benefit the fortunate few, instead it benefits all blacks and brings them into the mainstream occupational system of society.

Clearly this shows that her proposition on Affirmative Action is outdated. Blacks already integrated into the labor force, employers know blacks can handle the workloads resulting in their getting hired. The notion of black inferiority Ezorsky dwells on is beyond the picture of employers in today's society. To preserve Ezorsky's idea of Affirmative Action would be making a constant quota. All races have the ability to get any job of their choice pending on their qualifications.

Ezorsky also fields the question of whether or not Affirmative Action scars black self-respect. She argues that it is no downfall in the eyes of blacks. Preferential treatment is used on other occasions such as veterans attaining jobs over non-veterans. She views this as compensation for the past injustices done toward blacks race and as a step to better race relations. Accepting an offer of Affirmative Action is not unworthy; Ezorsky believes it is a boost in self-confidence and encouragement to strive harder to eliminate the barrier of racism. Ezorsky's ideas are focused on attacking racism by trying to force integration, which later will teach whites to disassociate blacks with inferiority.

Preferential treatment is clearly an act of overt racism to better the standing of another race. In today's society everyone is born with an equal chance. Not one person is discriminated against and if it does occur the issue is decided in court. With the policies of financial aid and other outreach programs everyone is given a fair opportunity to take their share of the American Dream. No particular race is given charity in getting hired for jobs. By using preferential treatment or Affirmative Action programs it can be observed as giving a black person a free token and saying they are a step ahead since they were born with dark skin. Whites do not have their own scholarship funds or television stations. The majority of whites work for what they achieve.

Affirmative Action was needed decades ago to integrate the work place and attempt to reduce racist tensions by learning about other races through this interaction in the work place. Entering into the 21st century, Affirmative Action is superfluous since it promotes the idea of the two separate societies that Ezorsky spoke of in the U.S. With the playing field being leveled, opportunity is equal and Affirmative Action has no significant bearing.

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Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000 10:09:16 -0700
From: Josh Shea <jts_79@YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: response to review of racism and justice
Allana addressed Ezorsky's book Racism and Justice, from the same angle I did. She brought up the strong points of how the book was definitely outdated and the manner in which Ezorsky attempted to make Affirmative Action keep helping blacks. However, in reality AA was instilled as a program to integrate the workplace and once that process was started it was needed less and less. Blacks do hold positions in the professional world and are exceling more often than the 1960s and 1970s. Indeed Ezorsky's arguments were based in the late 70s forcing the reader to question their validity? Another good point that Allana did include was that AA could be looked at as hurting the black race and considering them inferior, therefore they should get a charitable consideration for job opportunities since they are black. She did address the issue of compensation in regards of past wrong doing towards the black race, but not in her idea of trying to lay off whites as well as blacks, to keep more blacks in the labor fore. Ezorsky's idea of compensating whites to keep blacks in the labor force was quite an outragous idea, since lay-offs tend to not affect workers with more seniority. If blacks have more seniority they should keep their jobs, if whites do they should keep their jobs. To take something away from a white just because blacks don't have it would be wrong. Overall, this was a quality review that brought out all the main points that were discussed by Ezorsky and she examined a few flaws in her argumentation.

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Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 00:55:23 -0500
From: allana michelle hennette <amhenne@ILSTU.EDU>
Subject: response to Josh's review
Josh and I shared several views of the book Racism and Justice by Gertrude Ezorsky. We both believed that her views were terribly outdated. She needs to update her data and her study. AA was instituted to bring all races on an equal playing field, but it needed to start long before the 60s.

Josh did a good job discussing many of the flaws in Ezorsky's argumentation, especially the points that whites could view AA as reverse discrimination. Ezorsky claims that there is no such thing as reverse discrimination, because whites continue to benefit, even if they loose jobs. Also the concept of first fired, last hired is discussed well, including the impact on blacks in and out of the work force. He also hits on the merit argument, which is an important argument of the opposers of AA. They feel that AA is used to give them a leg up because they could not get the position on their own merit. This is mostly untrue and most of the beneficiaries of AA are highly qualified.

The only problem I had with the review was the almost idyllic view Josh has of today's racist practices. Unfortunately they are still alive and well in American society and are not going to disappear anytime soon. They are in the workplace and the military and in education, but most places are able to hide it behind other doors. it is true that black Americans have made great strides in the past few decades, but they have a long way to go. There is still discrimination, but Josh does make the point that most employers are moving toward the profit margin rather than toward the color barrier.

I enjoyed Josh's review and I believe that he and I have very similar views of the book and of AA. It is still a necessary program in our American society. Until a black and a white person can be looked at together as people, not black and white, then AA will be necessary. ·

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