Sunday, July 25, 2010

Missing the point

James Webb, a somewhat atypical Democratic Senator, recently argued that affirmative action should be limited to African Americans. Kevin Drum manages to completely miss Webb's point and responds by calling for replacing race based affirmative action with class based affirmative action. Whatever the merits of this position it is more or less the opposite of what Webb is arguing for. Webb is not objecting to race based affirmative action for blacks which he believes can justified on the basis of the injury slavery and its legacy did to blacks. Webb is objecting to extending affirmative action to groups with no comparable moral claim both because this is unfair to the groups not included and because it reduces the benefit to blacks. Drum's proposal would further remove affirmative action from what Webb believes is its only legitimate purpose and moral basis, alleviating the harm done by slavery.

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