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Backfire: A Reporter's Look at Affirmative Action [Hardcover]

By Robert Zelnick (Author)
Our Price $ 23.38  
Retail Value $ 27.50  
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Item Number 127293  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   415
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.37" Height: 1.35"
Weight:   1.56 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 25, 1996
Publisher   Regnery Publishing, Inc.
ISBN  0895264552  
EAN  9780895264558  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
"Make no mistake, this is going to be a controversial book. Bob Zelnick, a first-class journalist who is also a lawyer, has looked beyond the successes and well-meaning goals of affirmative action and found a bureaucratic morass that seems to have been designed by Kafka and implemented by Lewis Carroll. If our goals are fairness and racial harmony, we are obliged to address and answer the questions Zelnick raises."
--"Ted Koppel," "ABC News"

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Affirmative Action Debate Overwhelms Author  Nov 21, 2000
Bob Zelnick and I agree that affirmative action as often practiced in the real world causes much inadvertent harm. Abstract principles may look good on paper, but fail miserably when acted upon. He offers us numerous horror stories that should legitimately enrage us. Zelnick takes to task the hypocrisy of the major corporations who readily advocate affirmative policies knowing full well it cost them little in doing so. The firms truly paying the price are mostly small to mid size business entities. Nevertheless, I still maintain that fair minded and well thought out affirmative action remedies can be beneficial. Zelnick conveniently ignores our nation's long established history of racial prejudice. He overlooks the cold fact that many white people have always made sure their relatives and friends received special consideration. There has always been a sort of affirmative action for the wealthy and powerful. Also, a minority person may be rejected for employment due to the tacit, if not explicit, bias of the company. People tend to choose their own kind. What should be done, for instance, about a business hesitant to hire an Afro-American individual to represent their services and products to its white customer base? In such an unfair environment, how can a minority candidate receive a fair break? Aren't we caught in a Catch 22 vicious cycle? There are no easy answers to this dilemma, but Zelnick refuses to look at the other side of this most important debate. Absolutist positions are far easier for us to handle, but this mind set may distort the actual ambiguity and complexity of the situation.

A real crisis, however, develops when affirmative action is used to give an advantage to the less qualified. How can a rational person justify the hiring of shabbily qualified minority policemen merely to comply with affirmative action mandates? The sports world suits up only its best players for the game. Long ago even the most racist sports organizations abandoned their prejudices because they were beginning to lose too many contests to integrated teams. Self preservation sometimes motivates one to do the right thing. Why abandon the principle that only the best be chosen when the conversation turns towards the business sector and academics? Why can't we be consistent? Zelnick's book serves the purpose of meticulously detailing the injustices of some Liberal conceived affirmative action policies. Do you require such documentation? If so, you should obtain a copy of Zelnick's book. I cannot, however, recommend it on any other level. Zelnick candidly subtitled his book as "A Reporter's Look at Affirmative Action." A journalist perspective alas does not suffice. This national discussion requires the attention of its social philosophers. Zelnick is not up to the task.

Interesting review of AA policies in practice  Mar 10, 1999
The author performs a credible job of reviewing many of the common problems associated with the implementation of Affirmative Action. Unfortunately, he fails to adequately demonstrate why these policies could not have produced any other results. For a more intellectual discussion on why discrimination (rather than racism, sexism, etc.) is difficult to maintain in a capitalist society, read Nobel Prize Winner (Economics) Gary Becker's The Economics of Discrimination. James Bovard's Farm Fiasco is an example of why the policies used in Affirmative Action fail whenever they are applied, whether the "problem" to be resolved is race, ethnicity, and gender or occuptional (farmers receiving subsidies, protection from competition, etc.).

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