Discussion Questions on George Sher, "Justifying Reverse Discrimination in Hiring"

1. Sher begins by considering two arguments for reverse discrimination, which he then rejects. What are the arguments and why does he reject them?

2. Sher emphasizes the apparent unfairness of distributing the burdens of compensation entirely to those who are competing for jobs, yet he winds up defending preferential hiring. How?

3. Sher offers a defense of preferential hiring as a sort of compensation, but not as a way of redressing or rectifying past injustice. How is this possible? What is his defense?

4. Why does Sher believe that the case for preferential hiring of women is much weaker than the case for preferential hiring of African Americans? What do you think of his argument?

5. One might say, "With friends like Sher, affirmative action needs no enemies." Why? Why would most defenders of affirmative action be unsatisfied with Sher's supposed "justification" of reverse discrimination in hiring?