Affirmative Action is Dead; Long Live Affirmative Action


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Faye J. Crosby

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Affirmative action is a much-debated policy, in employment as well as in education, in the Supreme Court as well as on the street. Yet as this book shows, affirmative action is both sensible and effective, differing little from many other government programs that evoke no controversy. Why don’t Americans wholeheartedly support affirmative action?

In this timely and accessible book, Faye J. Crosby analyzes several different explanations offered by social scientists to answer this important question. Some explanations suggest that opposition stems from a belief that affirmative action functions as a governmentally sanctioned form of reverse racism or sexism, or that it is ineffective or socially disruptive. Other explanations locate the problem in the ignorance or prejudice of the people who oppose the policy.

Crosby concludes by offering a different explanation, proposing that the American failure to endorse wholeheartedly what is a fair and effective policy arises, ironically, from Americans’ infatuation with justice. Smitten with the concept of merit, says Crosby, we are perturbed by a policy that invites us to recognize the complications of social justice.

Faye J. Crosby is professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of many books and articles, including Justice, Gender and Affirmative Action, and Affirmative Action: The Pros and Cons of Policy and Practice. She also contributed to the preparation of one of the amicus briefs for the recent Supreme Court cases about affirmative action.

"At long last the Supreme Court has spoken on affirmative action. But to move forward, America needs an integration of what we’ve learned from one of the most hotly contested debates of the latter 20th Century. This is what Faye Crosby achieves in this soon-to-be classic book—a brilliant, readable, empirically based narrative that integrates what we’ve learned from this historic debate into a wisdom for how to move ahead."—Claude Steele, Stanford University

"An excellent overview of psychological research on affirmative action. The book is very timely and will add greatly to the ongoing debates on the subject."—Irene Hanson Frieze, University of Pittsburgh

Affirmative Action Is Dead is a provocative analysis of current controversies surrounding affirmative action and the psychological evidence bearing on them. Dr. Faye Crosby, a leading expert on the topic and respected scholar, challenges common misperceptions about affirmative action and its effects. She also offers keen insights into the nature of race relations and the challenges to policies for achieving racial equality. This very readable and engaging volume should be of great interest to anyone interested in affirmative action, race, public policy, and the political and social challenges of the 21st century.”—Jack Dovidio, Colgate University 

“This is a well argued, well written book that will be of interest and helpful to both experts and novices. It fills an important niche.”—Robin Stryker, University of Minnesota

ISBN: 9780300191431
Publication Date: February 17, 2004
352 pages, 6 x 9
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