Anderson's The Imperative Of Integration By Elizabeth Anderson

1080 Words 5 Pages
Imperative of integration

This essay will begin by shortly describing the main points of Elizabeth Anderson’s 2010 book “The Imperative of Integration” followed by an analysis of the arguments she lays out for the justness of Affirmative Action through the lenses of Thomas Nagel’s argument in his 1973 paper “Equal Treatment and Compensatory Discrimination”.

In her 2010 book The Imperative of Integration, Elizabeth Anderson argues that segregation is the root factor of social inequality. As a result, in order to obtain justice, integration should be a policy imperative. She argues against the abandonment of integrative policies as happened when Brown v. Board of Education ceased to be enforced—leading to greater levels of segregation, higher
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Anderson disagrees with this and states first of all that having knowledge of what is better does not necessarily mean we have to know what is the best, and second that we often come up with solutions following a realization that something is bad, not the other way around.
Thus, she begins by suggesting that we should address existing forms of inequality that are noticeable along the fault lines of racial groups in American society through the advancement of solutions which respond to that reality.

This aims at avoiding the pitfalls of Ideal Theory through three ways. Firstly, by keeping the discussion of principles centred on how people are, not how we wish them to be, in other words keeping in mind human nature as is. Secondly, by avoiding gaps between ideals and reality—an analysis through the lens of ideal theory tells us that we tend to perceive any gap between the real world and the ideal as a problem. One only needs to look at issues such as the French State’s constitutional laicité and consequent difficulty in tailoring policies regarding the use of islamic clothing in schools for example. Thirdly, ideal theory may allow for obfuscation of certain features of real people, which might not be accounted for in ideal theory settings. For example, we can think of class injustice
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For that, she uses a notion of ‘social closure’, which is when a group monopolizes a good by impeding access to it by out-group people. Preeminent among these mechanisms of social closure is the hoarding of opportunities, which happens when a group impedes others from enjoying a specified good—such as the access to good education through well-funded schools being monopolized by Euro-Americans to the detriment of Afro-Americans and other minority groups. This lack of access would impede equality of ability to compete for jobs, for example, a point of contention which I will address later in my

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