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The debate over affirmative action

At issue is the very nature of egalitarianism. Opportunity egalitarianism will demand that affirmative action programs ensure that all citizens have access to some basic programs, and will admit that not all individuals will make use of opportunities in the same way; outcome egalitarianism, on the other hand, will concern itself with the composition of society at the end of the day, and insist that, for example, an institute of higher learning exhibits a racial composition that mirrors that of society en masse. To wit: many argue that the existence of racial diversity in institutes of higher learning actually enables students of all races to develop an understanding of different culturesłan understanding that will be critical in the business world later in life (Crockett 96).

Brought to bear on each of these approaches is the idea that racial disparities must be eliminated at the "starting line". As Lisbeth B. Schorr writes in The American Prospect, if affirmative action is ever to be counted as unnecessary, it will only be once racial disparities in "birth outcomes" and "school readiness" are eliminated (30). Further, opportunities offered "by elementary, middle, and high schools", as well as opportunities for "adolescents to make a healthy


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