Should affirmative action be scrapped?

September 10, 2018

This debate has clearly struck a chord. It has attracted more than ten times the usual number of votes on our debates page. Three days ago, when I wrote my closing statement, voting was split roughly halfway between those in favour and those against scrapping affirmative action. Now the side against has clearly won. But my previous assessment holds: most people recognise that there are serious inequalities in society, some of them structural, others due to unconscious bias, and are not against giving a leg-up to those who are discriminated against. But some are wary of the way that affirmative action is conducted. They want it to focus less on race and gender, and more on income. The conclusion is that affirmative action should not be scrapped, but reformed, until equal opportunity exists in society.

with Julia Sass Rubin, The Economist, September 3-10, 2018

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