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"Preferential Treatment"

Affirmative action programs attempt to institute selective "preferential treatment" as a way of eliminating conditions in the workplace and elsewhere that systematically injure minorities. A large part of the process of reversing discrimination involves the reform of employment testing, because various types of tests have typically included cultural biases that discriminate against the non-white and the non-male. Consequently, affirmative action intrinsically includes the reform of pre-employment testing (Calvert, 1979, p. 267).

The United States has made a long-term commitment not only to reversing the effects of past discrimination, but to taking advantage of the diversity of the American people (United States Commission on Civil Rights, 1981, p. 37). Virtually everyone agrees that the goal of a pluralistic society that cherishes differences among individuals is a good one. Reasonable people disagree, as they are free to do, about best methods for achieving that goal. The main point of controversy centers on the elements of affirmative action programs that provide numerical formulations for addressing racial and ethnic imbalances and imbalances related to gender.

Many different groups oppose the concept of affirmative actions goals or quotas. There are those who see the imposition of quotas for changing the demographic balance at places of employment as a


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