Affirmative Action in the United States and India: A Comparative Perspective

By Thomas E. Weisskopf | Go to book overview

Notes

Introduction
1
The relevant literature includes books by Parikh (1997) and Nesiah (1997), conference proceedings edited by Cunningham (1997), and articles by Weiner (1983), Dubey (1991), Chandola (1992), and Jenkins (1998). Nesiah, Cunningham, and Jenkins address positive discrimination policies also in countries other than the US and India.

Part I: Introduction
1
President Kennedy first used the term "affirmative action" in Executive Order No. 10925, dated 6 March 1961 (see Mills 1994:5).
2
I will use "affirmative action" and "reservation policies" when referring specifically to the corresponding policies implemented in the US and India, respectively. I will use the term "positive discrimination" to denote the general practice of preferential selection of members of under-represented identity groups-except that I have used "affirmative action" in the book title because this term is surely more familiar to most readers.
3
As many scholars have shown, the term "race," as used in the context of identity groups, does not correspond to any scientifically valid biological or genetic concept of race; membership in a "racial" group is socially determined. See, for example, American Anthropological Association (1998).
4
This list of characteristics that may define an identity group is not exhaustive; sexual orientation, native language, and family religious background could be added as well. Although not a physical or cultural characteristic, place of birth can also confer identity to a group because it, too, is involuntary and unalterable.
5
For studies of positive discrimination policies in favor of women, see Bergmann (1996) on the US and Jenkins (1999) on India.

1 On the origins and nature of positive discrimination policies in the US and India
1
My sources for this section include Dubey (1991), Nesiah (1997), Parikh (1997), and Jenkins (1998).
2
I will use the term "Black" interchangeably with the term "African American," reflecting common practice, unless the context calls for the latter, more official term. In the cases of Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, there are no widely utilized shorter terms that are identical in

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