Synopses & Reviews
Rejecting simplistic arguments for and against affirmative action, Christopher Edley, Jr., offers here a spirited, cogent analysis of one of the most vexing and contended issues in politics today. As point man for the White House review of affirmative action, Edley had extended discussions with President Clinton and other administration officials, weighing all the relevant legal and social-science evidence, public-policy developments, and private-sector practices. In this eloquent, powerful book, he does for general readers and serious voters what he did for the President, making the case for "mending, not ending," affirmative action.
Affirmative action laws are essential to the cause of social justice in this country, Edley argues, but he knows their flaws and understands their drawbacks, for both of which he suggests precise and sensible remedies. Throughout, his real focus is on the deeper reasons why we disagree, and on the moral choices about values that we all must make in thinking about race in America. His book offers a lesson in reasoning about difficult policies, and he searches for the traces of truth on all sides of the debate.
Edley's own views on race are clear, but this is no polemic or brief. The author's rich discussion of the issues shows us the moral importance of thinking clearly on this subject, and teaches us what is at stake in the positions we urge our elected officials to take, and in the arguments we use to persuade one another about fairness, justice, community, and progress.
"Sheds useful light on the intricate legal, moral, and policy questions presented by affirmative action. [Edley] argues persuasively that affirmative action has not yet outlasted its usefulness."--James O. Freedman
Rejecting simplistic left-right arguments, Christopher Edley, Jr., offers a cogent and persuasive analysis of one of the most contended issues in politics today. He makes the powerful argument that affirmative-action laws are essential to social justice in this country, though they have flaws and drawbacks (for both of which he suggests precise and sensible remedies). He shows us what is at stake in the positions our elected officials take and in the arguments we make about fairness, justice, and progress.
About the Author
Christopher Edley, Jr., was born in Boston and graduated from Swarthmore College and from both the Kennedy School of Government and the Law School at Harvard University. He worked in the Carter administration, served for a time on the editorial staff of The Washington Post, and since 1981 has taught at the Harvard Law School.
Mr. Edley was also national issues director for Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign and senior adviser on economic policy for the Clinton-Gore Presidential Transition. In 1992-94, he served as Associate Director for Economics and Government at the Office of Management and Budget; in February 1995, he became Special Counsel to the President, in which capacity he led the White House review of affirmative action.
In August 1995, Mr. Edley returned to Cambridge and resumed full-time teaching and research.