©2018 by polity.

  • Alex Wok

Affirmative Action

Edited by Marc Eastmure


  • Occupational inequality has always been a large issue in the workforce: those born into social or economic advantage often have better access to education, resulting in better employment outcomes. This leads to structural disenfranchisement, limiting the potential of these groups to reach social parity with the more advantaged.

  • However, these programmes have not come without controversy, and pose questions about the nature of what constitutes equality. Notably, Harvard Law School has come under scrutiny and legal action regarding its admission policies: allegations of racial bias were posed when it was found that Asian-Americans made up merely 19% of admitted students, despite greater academic performance when compared to their peers. This bias is extremely statistically significant: Economist Peter Arcidiacono, employed as part of the litigation against Harvard, found that male Asian-Americans with qualifications to satisfy a 25% chance of admission would have a 36% chance if Caucasian, 77% chance if Hispanic, and 95% chance if African-American.


Is affirmative action effective in combatting structural inequality against marginalised groups?

read more:

  1. The Conversation, 'Colleges need affirmative action - but it can be expanded'

  2. ABC News, ‘Point/Counterpoint: Affirmative Action Benefits Everyone’; The Conversation, ‘How Much Diversity Can The US Constitution Stand?’.

  3. ABC, 'White South Africans complain affirmative action policy is causing them to face discrimination'.

  4. Diversity Council Australia, ‘Annual Report 2017

  5. Time, 'Viewpoint: the Goal of Affirmative Action Should Not Be 'Diversity' but Righting Wrongs'

  6. The Atlantic, 'The Painful Truth About Affirmative Action'; The Daily Intelligencer, 'Jordan Peterson Does Not Support ‘Equality of Opportunity’'

  7. Yahoo News, 'Affirmative action rubbish' or just squaring up: Army's push to recruit only women sparks debate'; The New Republic, 'Affirmative, Sir! (And Ma'am!): The U.S. military needs affirmative action now more than ever'.

  8. Futurity, 'How to Use Stats to Fight Racial Inequality, not Support It'

  9. The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘A License To Discriminate

  10. The Washington Post, ‘Affirmative Action Based On Income