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The Errs Of Dworkin Essay

1447 words - 6 pages

For many years, preferential treatment has been used to try to make up for past wrong-doings to minorities. There have been many cases tried over racial discrimination, with verdicts of both innocent and guilty. Ronald Dworkin attempts to argue that preferential treatment is socially useful and at the same time does not violate people's rights. This is wrong for many reasons; here I shall illustrate how preferential treatment hinders racial equality, violates people's rights, and can lead to a lower opinion toward a particular race.Dworkin believes that continuing preferential treatment will decrease racial consciousness and the importance of race. This is the total opposite of what truly ...view middle of the document...

That way, minorities don't even have to worry about competing with whites for a position. This does not, in any way, reduce racial consciousness by setting two tracks for admission to medical school, one for the minorities, and one for the majority.Mr. Dworkin supports the idea that preferential treatment does not violate people's rights. His argument is weak here because he attempts to prove this by saying that if two things do not violate people's rights, then neither does a third. The two things that supposedly do not violate rights are the denial of someone to medical school because of their age and because their test scores are just below the cutoff line of admission. He then assumes that because these two do not violate rights, then neither does denying an applicant because he will not reduce racial consciousness as much as an individual of another race would. By taking this argument apart piece by piece, it is evident that all three parts of his argument violate rights.Preferential treatment violates a person's right to be 'judged on merit and merit alone(299).' Dworkin says that another definition for merit is qualification, and for some jobs, race can be a qualification. Given a specific job, certain human characteristics are more desirable than others. People with these preferred characteristics are more likely to get this job. For example, a desirable quality for a surgeon is steady hands; therefore, a person with steady hands is more likely to get this position than a person with shaky hands. Using race in a similar example, preferential treatment would be just if there were a job where one race is more qualified than another. The problem with this is that there are no such jobs. Dworkin says that denying a person admission because of his age does not violate that person's rights, but then, is the individual being judged on his merit and merit alone? No. It is therefore wrong to discriminate against someone because of their age because it violates his rights.A second objection to Dworkin's belief that preferential treatment does not violate people's rights is that people have the right to be judged as an individual. Preferential treatment supports grouping people together according to race and then judging them as a whole. Dworkin agrees with Colvin when he says that people have the right not to be disadvantaged because of one's race alone. Many colleges set cutoff limits to the applicants' scores that they admit. Some applicants that barely fall below the line have much more dedication and enthusiasm than those above the line, and would make better students by these attributes. Unfortunately, these students are not even considered because they are not looked at as an individual, but judged solely by their scores. Now imagine a situation similar to this where race is the determinant of whether a person is accepted or not. If a person were to be turned down from a college because of his skin color before he was given a chance to be...

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