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Affirmative Action

  • As women, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians began to move into the world of management, the emphasis was not on learning from them. Efforts focused, instead, on fitting minorities and women into what once was the domain of white men. These efforts almost totally missed the point by failing to take advantage of the new resources being brought to the management world. Interestingly, though, as affirmative action has gained ground, management theory and practice are expanding the concept of what makes a good manager. The new members of the workforce exhibit many of the behaviors that are being discussed and very tentatively tried out by managers.

  • [On affirmative action:] Universities give a boost in admissions for other factors besides race, factors that bring no social benefit, such as athletic ability, celebrity of parents, and alumni connections. It is remarkable how little agitation there is against those practices.

  • It is important to understand that the system of advantage is perpetuated when we do not acknowledge its existence.

  • Many corporate executives have learned to live with affirmative action over the years, and even to welcome what they thought were clear rules that enabled them to increase diversity in their work forces without inviting lawsuits.

  • I had no need to apologize that the look-wider, search-more affirmative action that Princeton and Yale practiced had opened doors for me. That was its purpose: to create the conditions whereby students from disadvantaged backgrounds could be brought to the starting line of a race many were unaware was even being run.

  • ... to doubt the worth of minority students' achievement when they succeed is really only to present another face of the prejudice that would deny them a chance even to try it. It is the same prejudice that insists all those destined for success must be cast from the same mold as those who have succeeded before them, a view that experience has already proven a fallacy.

  • Affirmative action, welfare state, and welfare queen have become a mantra, evoked as single (albeit complicated) signs for and of everything wrong with the United States ...

    • Wahneema Lubiano,
    • "Black Ladies, Welfare Queens, and State Minstrels: Ideological War by Narrative Means," in Toni Morrison, ed., Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power ()