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Red's thread has recently gone offroad from its attempt to provide a justification for AA based purely on merit.  Plus I have a bigger question for Red et al: why does AA need theoretical justification at all?

In other words, for all those attempting to provide various justifications for AA based on diversity, merit, fairness, and other abstract or semi-abstract principles: why does AA need a justification beyond the empirical fact that it lessens the racial stratification of our society without imposing a significant cost? 

This "empirical fact" is certainly debateable (maybe it doesn't reduce racial stratification or maybe the cost is too high), and I'd be open to hearing arguments about it, but otherwise, justifications from fairness, merit, diversity, etc. all seem largely irrelevant.

Certainly these abstract principles are employed in my implicit assumption that lessening racial stratification is a good thing, but that is irrelevant; few people, i think, support racial stratification, though their particular reasons for opposing racial stratification differ, so we should ignore why and instead focus on the fact that most people do oppose racial stratification.  As long as we all agree that racial stratification should be reduced, if it is empirically true that AA helps reduce it, and the cost of AA is not too great, then AA is justified, end of story.

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