Cover image for The ups and downs of affirmative action preferences
The ups and downs of affirmative action preferences
Raza, M. Ali.
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Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 1999.
Physical Description:
x, 207 pages ; 25 cm
The origins of affirmative action -- From individual rights to group preferences: Supreme Court decisions (Griggs to Metro Broadcasting) -- One step backward and two forward -- Affirmative action diversity: a euphemism for preferences, quotas, and set-asides -- Preferences in California's colleges and universities and academic resistance -- The California civil rights initiative: Proposition 209 -- The ending of Affirmative Action preferences in California: testing the Constitutional amendment.
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HF5549.5.A34 R39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In the context of the evolution of affirmative action at the national and state levels, this study offers an empirical account of the citizens' movement in California that successfully resulted in the passage of a constitutional amendment to abolish such preferences in public education, public employment, and public contracting. It describes how the concept of affirmative action was transmuted into quotas and set-asides even in those situations where there was no credible evidence of past discrimination. This process was aided by Presidential Executive Orders as well as by some Supreme Court decisions which, until the late 1980s, failed to provide clear parameters of compensatory versus preferential actions. The California movement arose to reassert the original vision of equality as contained in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Raza, Anderson, and Custred, who have studied the historical development of the phenomenon and have witnessed its actual operation, lift the curtain of secrecy that surrounds such preferences.

This book challenges the notion that affirmative action is a benign and temporary measure that simply provides a helping hand to those who are disadvantaged. There is ample evidence of the institutionalization of preferences that generally provide advantages to those who could otherwise compete on their own merits. Such unfair competitive advantages, provided by government agencies and public educational institutions have neither moral nor political majority support; however, they continue to exist through pressure of political interest groups, liberal political ideology, and entrenched bureaucrats who administer the system. Quite contrary to some people's thinking, the system of preferences may no longer be considered either permanent or necessary.

Author Notes

A. Janell Anderson is a Political Scientist who teaches Business Law and Organizational Behavior at the College of Business Administration at California State University, Sacramento.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

California State University academicians Raza, Anderson, and Custred present a participant-observer perspective from inside the brain trust of California's Proposition 209 movement, which led to the passage in 1996 of a state constitutional amendment to abolish affirmative action preferences by public agencies in education, employment, and contracting. The authors begin by tracing the origins of affirmative action and relevant Supreme Court decisions related to it, and then turn to a detailed examination of Proposition 209. They contend that affirmation action efforts have resulted in unfair advantages and have led to the institutionalization of preferences. Their account is highly ideological and harsh in tone, which diminishes its value for thorough and honest analysis and debate. Blatant disregard for, or ignorance of, historical accuracy regarding Hispanics and non-European immigrants is particularly disturbing to this reviewer, particularly since one of the coauthors is a cultural and linguistic anthropologist. Also, no evidence is provided for the so-called 3,000,000 race-norming recipients. The authors do present interesting case law summaries, however selective in nature. An excellent contrast to this volume is Susan Welch and John Gruhl's Affirmative Action and Minority Enrollments in Medical and Law Schools (CH, Apr'99). Chapter endnotes; extensive use of newspaper accounts; a few interesting tables. Most appropriate for libraries collecting comprehensively on this topic, particularly at the research and professional levels. A. A. Sisneros; University of Illinois at Springfield

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
1 The Origins of Affirmative Actionp. 1
2 From Individual Rights to Group Preferences: Supreme Court Decisions (Griggs to Metro Broadcasting)p. 19
3 One Step Backward and Two Forwardp. 43
4 Affirmative Action Diversity: A Euphemism for Preferences, Quotas, and Set-Asidesp. 75
5 Preferences in California's Colleges and Universities and Academic Resistancep. 111
6 The California Civil Rights Initiative: Proposition 209p. 139
7 The Ending of Affirmative Action Preferences in California: Testing the Constitutional Amendmentp. 159
Indexp. 199