The Impact of Affirmative Policy on Correcting the Market Failures of Racial Discrimination: Are African Americans Better Off?
Marilyn E. Lashley
Glaringly absent from current discourse on affirmative action and other racially targeted social policies is any reference to the sustained social and economic disparity caused by a legacy of public policies and practices that restricted competition to the advantage of white Americans. Unlike the situation of Jews and the Holocaust where it is deemed important to remember the past for fear of repeating it, many whites believe that African Americans are overly sensitive to the "slavery thing," that its lingering role in the making of contemporary American history is minimal, and that both are best forgotten. Similarly, many analysts either conveniently forget, or trivialize the cumulative impact of state-sanctioned slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, and segregation on the present fortunes of African Americans. Not only do many policy analysts evaluate the impact of affirmative action
The author thanks Kent Weaver of the Brookings Institution and William Jackson of the Kenan-Flagler School of Business of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for their helpful comments on earlier drafts. However, this chapter is not an exhaustive analysis of policy impact, and the responsibility for all inaccuracies rests entirely with the author.