The Public Interest

“Affirmative-Action Stalemate”: A second perspective

Herbert Hammerman

Fall 1988

I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED in the field of equal opportunity for well over twenty years. In 1986, The Potomac Institute published my study of affirmative action in the 1970s, entitled A Decade of New Opportunity. I also served some fifteen years with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), before my retirement in 1981. I give this brief resume as a preface to my statement that, although Nathan Glazer and I approach the issues of affirmative action from opposite viewpoints, I find myself in full accord with most of what he says in his article, “Affirmative-Action Stalemate” (The Public Interest, Winter 1988). On two points, I believe I can help shed some additional light: one is why certain groups are beneficiaries of affirmative action while others are not; the other is why big business defends affirmative action from its opponents, particularly those in the Reagan administration.

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