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Privileged Targets and Affirmative Action Essay

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Updated: May 6th, 2021

The development of society and the formation of moral and ethical principles have largely predetermined the features of the relationship among people, which constantly underwent changes depending on social trends. Such a concept as affirmative action is direct proof that humanity is taking steps to protect the vulnerable segments of the population and is concerned about possible problems of inequality. This concept is described in the book by Caliendo who focuses on the types of positive discrimination and notes that “there are legitimate concerns over how affirmative action affects both whites and members of racial minority groups” (187). According to him, the initiatives put forward by many activists in support of the so-called privileged targets are a logical phenomenon since the protection of people’s rights and freedoms is highly valued today (Caliendo 187). The advantage of affirmative action is also in the fact people are provided with a workplace regardless of gender, race, or physical characteristics.

However, the author did not pay enough attention to how the majority treats such changes. Much attention is paid to describing the problems of minorities and vulnerable categories, but nothing has been said about the position of other people. Therefore, the following question is topical: how does the majority of the population relate to such a social phenomenon as affirmative action?

An augmented position is described in the book by Wacquant where the author claims that affirmative action is still discrimination (199). Even when creating positive conditions, the emphasis is shifted to the gender, race, or origin of the person. It can also be a negative phenomenon for someone who does the same job as a minority applicant. Therefore, it is essential to observe the balance and not violate the rights of all the categories of the population.

Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism regards competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It transfers people to the category of consumers whose democratic choice is best manifested in acts of buying and selling. It is these conclusions that Wacquant makes, arguing that “the freedoms and rights of the individual, the equality of all citizens, constitutionalism, private property, and entrepreneurship are the foundation of the social life” (254). The author compares this concept with standard liberalism and notes that the difference of the new trend lies in the desire to emphasize as much as possible the self-sufficiency of all the strata of the population and the independence of people from any existing prejudices (Wacquant 255). These conclusions are quite logical, given that modern social trends are often based on the principles of neoliberalism.

Nevertheless, some ideas concerning this direction have not been properly reviewed. For instance, the issue of the negative consequences of neoliberalism and its implications may arise. If society adheres exclusively to this concept of behavior, some complexities will likely arise in several areas. Therefore, it is possible to ask the following question: what negative consequences does neoliberalism have, and can this concept be considered as the one that can harm society?

The answer to this question is partially given in the work by Caliendo who compares neoliberalism with potential aggression towards the established canons of the society and views this phenomenon as partially justified since it does not solve significant public problems like racism (206). This explanation can exist if people’s neoliberal moods are considered an attempt to destroy the established foundations and change the course of history. Therefore, good reasons are needed to call such a social direction successful and the only right one.

Works Cited

Caliendo, Stephen M. Inequality in America: Race, Poverty, and Fulfilling Democracy’s Promise. 2nd ed., Westview Press, 2017.

Wacquant, Loïc. Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity. Oxford University Press, 1990.

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1. IvyPanda. "Privileged Targets and Affirmative Action." May 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/privileged-targets-and-affirmative-action/.


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IvyPanda. "Privileged Targets and Affirmative Action." May 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/privileged-targets-and-affirmative-action/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Privileged Targets and Affirmative Action." May 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/privileged-targets-and-affirmative-action/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Privileged Targets and Affirmative Action'. 6 May.

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