The End of Affirmative Action: Where Do We Go from Here?
In this brief synthesis of recent history, court decisions and policy proposals, Austin attorney McWhirter (Your Rights at Work), a self-described disillusioned liberal, offers a competent introduction to a divisive issue. He notes the different types of affirmative action-including recruitment and preferences-as well as their variable justifications, to compensate for specific or societal discrimination, or to foster diversity. He sketches the policy's murky, tangled history. He argues that preferences create victims and foster self-doubt in recipients. He summarizes key court decisions, suggesting that government affirmative action plans will become very narrowly drawn. Most useful is his acknowledgment that many opponents of affirmative action propound a myth of equal opportunity; he supports more innovative processes-such as selecting qualified applicants for schools and jobs at random-to aid minorities without the divisiveness of preference plans. He also argues that America's racial divide must further be bridged by massive government programs to rebuild inner-city slums. (Apr.)