Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=707624
 
 

Footnotes (214)



 


 



Negative Action Against Asian Americans: The Internal Instability of Dworkin's Defense of Affirmative Action


Jerry Kang


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law


Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (CR-CL), Vol. 31, 1996

Abstract:     
Ronald Dworkin has forcefully argued that because affirmative action does not violate the constitutional rights of Whites, it must be allowed to do the work of promoting racial equality. But the sword he forges to justify affirmative action has a double-edge that cuts unexpectedly against the liberal orthoýdoxy. In particular, Dworkin's theory justifying affirmaýtive action for certain minority groups, consistently applied under plausible empirical conditions, can authorize what I call negative action against Asian Americans.

By negative action, I mean unfavorable treatment based on race, using the treatment of Whites for comparison: Negative action against Asian Americans is in force if a university denies admission to an Asian Ameriýcan who would have been admitted had that person been White. The fact that Dworkin's theory justifies both affirmative action for racial minorities and negative action against Asian Americans suggests an internal instability within his theory. It is an instability because although traditional liberals are comfortable with the idea of affirmative action - admitting racial minorities into universities who would not have been admitted if they were White - they are uncomfortable with the idea of negative action against Asian Americans - rejecting Asian Americans who would have been admitted if they were White.

Prompted by this instability, I reconsider Dworkin's particular conception of the right to equality, which lies at the heart of his affirmative action defense. I argue that an alternate conception of equality based on the degree to which the objective social meaning of a governmental practice is stigmatic is superior to Dworkin's conception because it avoids the internal instability in a principled and normatively attractive manner.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 48

Keywords: affirmative action, Asian Americans, equal protection, quotas, negative action, colorblind

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: April 27, 2005 ; Last revised: July 22, 2008

Suggested Citation

Kang, Jerry, Negative Action Against Asian Americans: The Internal Instability of Dworkin's Defense of Affirmative Action. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (CR-CL), Vol. 31, 1996. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=707624

Contact Information

Jerry Kang (Contact Author)
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )
385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-206-7298 (Phone)
310-206-7010 (Fax)
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 3,257
Downloads: 320
Download Rank: 52,534
Footnotes:  214

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo4 in 0.343 seconds