The Remedy: Class, Race, and Affirmative Action

By Richard D. Kahlenberg | Go to book overview

Preface to the Paperback Edition

When The Remedy went to press in early 1996, it made a moral, legal, and political argument for basing affirmative action preferences on class disadvantage rather than on race or gender. A year later, the moral case remains unchanged, but the political and legal cases are substantially stronger. As support for race- and gender-based programs has continued to erode, the need to look to alternatives, like class-based affirmative action, has become more pressing.

Indeed, the events of 1996-97 have boosted the prospects of class-based affirmative action on both the left and the right. As affirmative action programs fell under attack, from California to Texas to Colorado, Louisiana, and New Jersey, liberals began quietly to explore new alternatives to expanding opportunity. As race and gender preferences grew increasingly unpopular, some liberals realized they needed to propose alternative programs if they were to achieve 51 percent support.

For a different set of reasons, the threat to race- and gender- based affirmative action prompted many prominent conservatives to embrace openly need-based remedies as a logical alternative. Cognizant that many Americans might balk at a cold-turkey abolition of affirmative action, these conservatives committed themselves to a program that would not naturally be part of their agenda.


ATTACKS ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Among the varied assaults on affirmative action programs, the most successful was passage in November 1996 of the California Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), to eliminate publicly-sponsored

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The Remedy: Class, Race, and Affirmative Action
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Praise for The Remedy: Class, Race, and Affirmative Action i
  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Preface to the Paperback Edition xv
  • Introduction - The Lost Thread xxiii
  • Part I 1
  • 1 - The Early Aspirations of Affirmative Action 3
  • 2 - Affirmative Action Gone Astray 16
  • 3 - A Report Card on Affirmative Action Today 42
  • Part 2 81
  • 4 - The Case for Class- Based Affirmative Action 83
  • 5 - The Mechanics of Class- Based Affirmative Action 121
  • 6 - Six Myths About Class-Based Preferences 153
  • Part 3 181
  • 7 - Picking Up the Lost Thread 183
  • Notes 211
  • Bibliography 322
  • Index 339
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