Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
Civil Rights and Discrimination
Law and Race
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AbstractIn addressing the subject of "reverse discrimination," I want to caution at the outset against permitting the use of the word "discrimination" to prejudice consideration of the subject. "Discrimination" has, in recent years, become a bad word. It tends to be used as a shorthand for "unjustifiably unequal treatment." In its original and still proper meaning, however, the word is quite neutral. Discrimination merely means differentiation. It comes from a Latin word that means "to distinguish." Accordingly, when we discriminate-i.e., when we differentiate or distinguish-among people, the propriety of our action depends upon the reasons that we have acted as we have. If we wish to know whether an act of discrimination is proper, we must inquire whether the distinction we have made is consistent with our moral principles.