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Distinguishing Five Models of Affirmative Action
Berkeley Womens' Law Journal (1990)
  • David B Oppenheimer
For all of the debate, all of the court decisions discussing affirmative action, and all of the articles and books on the subject, there is no consensus on what the term "affirmative action" means. The purpose of this essay is to clarify the issue by identifying and distinguishing five models of affirmative action, and to suggest that the debate focuses too much attention on the use of quotas. I herein propose that in discussing affirmative action we often confuse its many manifestations, which can be grouped into five models: strict quotas favoring women or minorities (Model I); preference systems in which women or minorities are given some preference over white men (Model II); self-examination plans in which the failure to reach expected goals within expected periods of time triggers self-study, to determine whether discrimination is interfering with a decision-making process (Model III); outreach plans in which attempts are made to include more women and minorities within the pool of persons from which selections are made (Model IV); and, affirmative commitments not to discriminate (Model V).
  • Affirmative Action
Publication Date
Citation Information
David B Oppenheimer. "Distinguishing Five Models of Affirmative Action" Berkeley Womens' Law Journal Vol. 4 (1990) p. 42
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