Discrimination and Social Meaning

THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF THE ETHICS OF DISCRIMINATION, edited by Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (2018 Forthcoming)

Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2017-57

24 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2017

See all articles by Deborah Hellman

Deborah Hellman

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: October 3, 2017

Abstract

This chapter presents the view that discrimination is wrong when and because it is demeaning. In order to demean, an action must both express denigration and be adopted by a person or institution with social power. In order to determine whether a law, policy or action does expresses denigration, the account looks to its meaning in the context and culture in which it occurs. As a result, the actual subjective intentions of alleged discriminators are not relevant. This account helps explain why discrimination on the basis of socially salient traits is more often wrongful than discrimination on the basis of other traits.

Suggested Citation

Hellman, Deborah, Discrimination and Social Meaning (October 3, 2017). THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF THE ETHICS OF DISCRIMINATION, edited by Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (2018 Forthcoming), Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2017-57, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3047432

Deborah Hellman (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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