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Reverse discrimination: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Reverse discrimination (also known as positive[1] or benign discrimination) is discrimination against members of a dominant or majority group, or in favor of members of a minority or historically disadvantaged group. Groups may be defined in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, or other factors. This discrimination may seek to redress social inequalities where minority groups have been denied access to the same privileges of the majority group. In such cases it is intended to remove discrimination that minority groups may already face. "Reverse discrimination" may also be used to highlight the discrimination inherent in affirmative action programs.


United States

Reverse discrimination aims to remedy entrenched social inequalities whereby minority groups are unable to access the same privileges as the majority. Examples include the denial of access by minority groups to loans, housing, employment and opportunities for capital gain and class mobility.[2] Reverse discrimination seeks to redress such inequalities.

In the United States of America, the term "reverse discrimination" has been used in past discussions of racial quotas or gender quotas for collegiate admission to government-run educational institutions. Such policies were held to be unconstitutional in the United States, while non-quota based methods, which may include race as a factor, including some affirmative action programs (race as a factor, ethnic minorities, and physical, mental, or learning disabilities) can be legal.

Nevertheless, some city governments still utilize racial quotas when awarding government contracts. The city of Chicago has mandated that all government construction contracts must award 25% of their value to minority owned businesses.[3] Chicago imposes stiff penalties upon general contractors who accept a government contract and fail to award at least 25% of the subcontracted work to minority owned businesses. [4]

The first United States Supreme Court case to challenge reverse discrimination is Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. In Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 [551 U.S. 701 (2007)], Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."[5]

In 2009, a group of firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut filed suit against the city for reverse discrimination after promotion test results were thrown out because no African-American firefighters passed the test. Sixteen Caucasian and three Hispanic firefighters passed the test. The Roberts Court in Ricci v. DeStefano found that this discrimination was unconstitutional. [6]

Opponents of reverse discrimination view it as denial of equal protection of the laws.[5][7]


In India, the term is often used by citizens protesting against reservation and quotas.[8][9][10]

See also





  1. ^ Compact Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ Lipsitz, George (2006). The Possessive Investment in Whiteness. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 
  3. ^ Chicago Municipal Code, Ch. 2-92, Ch. 2-92-430 and Ch. 2-91-445.
  4. ^ Chicago Municipal Code, Ch. 2-92-430 and Ch. 2-91-445.
  6. ^ Ricci v. DeStefano (June 29, 2009). This is the full text of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, via Findlaw.
  7. ^ High court backs firefighters in reverse discrimination suit. CNN, June 29, 2009.
  8. ^ Devanesan Nesiah. Discrimination With Reason? The Policy of Reservations in the United States, India and Malaysia. 1997. Oxford University Press. 0195639839.
  9. ^ Excess reservation will cause reverse discrimination, cautions Supreme Court
  10. ^ R. Kent Greenawalt. Discrimination and Reverse Discrimination. 1983. Knopf. ISBN 0394335775.

External links



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