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on the principle of equality ofopportunity; thus, most people evaluate the justice of currentdistributions by this standard. (2) Even advocates ofequality ofoutcome agree that inequalities due to the fully voluntary choices ofindividuals among equivalent opportunity sets areunobjectionable. (3) Even libertarians agree thatdisadvantagesdue to state-sponsored racism and sexism are unjust, and thatreparations are due to those whose property has been taken away in ahistory of unjust (coercive) transfers.

In practice, then, most disputants agree on thenormativeimplications for affirmative action of different causal accounts ofsocioeconomic inequality. The case for affirmative action isundermined if the fundamental causes of race and gender inequality canbe traced to (a) an innate, biological inferiority of the intendedbeneficiaries of affirmative action in intelligence, motivation to workhard, prudence and self-control, or other attributes needed forsuccess; (b) cultural pathologies of the intended beneficiaries thatinterfere with their ability or willingness to take advantage ofopportunities; or (c) voluntary choices to pursue less rewardingopportunities. The case for affirmative action is advanced ifthefundamental causes of race and gender inequality can be traced toracism and sexism as discussed above--that is, to (a) overt,intentional discrimination by private parties or the state, on groundsof race and gender; (b) unintentional discrimination by individuals dueto their unconscious acceptance of unjust stereotypes, evaluativebiases, or group-based antipathies; or (c) structural obstacles to theadvancement of nonwhites and white women whose causal antecedents canbe traced to (a) or (b). The literature on causes of groupinequalities is so vast that only a brief sampling of theories can beoffered here.

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affirmativeaction policiesinclude any policies that (a) attempt to actively dismantleinstitutionalized or informal cultural norms and systems of ascriptivegroup-based disadvantage, and the inequalities historically resultingfrom them, and/or that (b) attempt to promote an ideal of inclusivecommunity, as in ideals of democracy, integration, and pluralism(multiculturalism), (c) by means that classify people according totheir ascriptive identities (race, gender, ethnicity, sexualorientation, etc.) and select people for participation in institutionsusing these classifications as criteria.
Arguments for affirmative action policies can bedividedinto 4 categories. (1) Arguments on grounds of justice defendaffirmative action as a compensation or corrective for past andcontinuing racism/sexism.

Blalock, Toward A Theory of Minority-Group Relations, John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY, USA, 1967

This occurs when a facially race-neutral basis fordiscrimination is accepted at least in part because it tracksrace. For example, the Social Security system for its firstseveral decades did not cover domestic servants or agriculturalworkers. This was the price white Southern politiciansexactedfrom President Roosevelt for their support for the Social SecurityAct. Most of the excluded workers were black or Hispanic, andwhite Southerners did not want to pay for the retirement of theirnonwhite employees. Here the racist motive was explicit, butitis not hard to imagine covert racist motives operating in a similarfashion. As long as the facially race-neutral classificationwould have been rejected, had its negative impact been felt morestrongly by a socially advantaged race, the policy depending on theclassification is considered a form of racism by proxy. (c) racism which is neither overt, covert, nor secondary, includes policiesthat perpetuate the legacy of racial discrimination by means ofclassifications that disproportionately impact disadvantaged racialgroups, but are not accepted because they do this. An examplewould be the practice of colleges and universities giving preference inadmissions to the children of alumni ("legacies"). If theseschools practiced racial discrimination in the past, their alumni willbe disproportionately white, and so will their legacies. Thus,certain applicants will have an edge in admission because their parentsare white. This comes closest to a pure differential impactstandard, since it applies regardless of present (but not past) purposeor motive. It is the most controversial standard of racismforthis reason. Fundamentally, it claims that we ought to avoidnotonly racial harm, but racialharm. It asserts a duty of care to avoid reinforcing ormagnifying the harmful consequences of past racial discrimination.

For teaching purposes one might want to considerwhetherthe word "racist" is too emotionally charged to be worthusing. Many students resent the application of this term to cases lackinghostile intent, even if they might accept that a policy could beobjectionable because its causal history and impact are inappropriatelytied to race.

The term “Hispanic American”: a.