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A persuasive circumstantial case can be made that affirmative action is a useful tool of American elites, which enables them to preserve a social definition of merit that primarily serves their own economic interests. (This article was part of a special report in The Boston Review, "Rethinking Affirmative Action," contributors including Lani Guinier, Susan Sturm, Howard Gardner, and other writers.

From The Boston Review, Dec/Jan. 2001