commit us to the sort of utilitarianism of rights that the present objection suggests. That is,
one can recognize the need for trade-offs without being committed to adopting the policy that
maximizes protection of rights or minimizes their violation. Rather, one might want fairness in
the distribution of benefits and burdens. For discussion of the need for trade-offs, see
, "Rights Violations and Injustices: Can We always Avoid Trade-Offs," Ethics, Vol. 94. No. 2 ( 1984): 212-24.
For example, we can give special weight, over and above that given to other forms of
educational disadvantage, to those applicants for college admission who have attended schools
which in addition to having poorly funded or otherwise weak educational programs are de
facto racially segregated. Or, we can assume that all else being equal, the members of racial
minorities, particularly blacks, have encountered special burdens of racial discrimination.
Neither dictates that preference will be given to minority applicants over, say, disadvantaged
whites, but each insures that their problems will receive special attention. In this way, we can
have a "race conscious" policy which is not invidious in that (a) it does not exclude anyone
from the competition, (b) it allows us to assign appropriate weight to the special difficulties
facing all individuals, and (c) it does not require that members of any particular social group
actually be selected.
Here we adopt a suggestion made by Drew Days at a conference on civil rights,
sponsored by the Center for Philosophy and Public Policy, the University of Maryland, October, 1984.
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Nagel Thomas, and
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Dworkin, Owen F. Fiss, Thomas Nagel, George Sher, Robert Simon, and Judith Jarvis
Fullinwider Robert. The Reverse Discrimination Controversy. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and
Goldman Alan. Justice and Reverse Discrimination. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979.
Sindler Allan P. Bakke, DeFunis, and Minority Admissions: The Quest for Equal Opportunity. New
York: Longman Publishing Company, 1978.
Cohen Carl. "Race and the Constitution." The Nation, Vol. 20, No. 5 ( 1973), pp. 135-45.
Ezorsky Gertrude. "Fight Over University Women." The New York Review of Books, Vol. XXI,
No. 8 ( 1984), pp. 32-39.
Goldman Alan H. "Affirmative Action." Philosophy & Public Affairs, Vol. 5, No. 2 ( 1976), pp. 178-95.
Newton Lisa. "Reverse Discrimination as Unjustified." Ethics, Vol. 83, No. 4 ( 1973), pp. 308-
Nickel James. "Classification by Race in Compensatory Programs." Ethics, Vol. 84, No. 2
( 1974), pp. 146-50.
Taylor Paul. "Reverse Discrimination and Compensatory Justice." Analysis, Vol. 33, No. 6
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