Positive discrimination is a form of affirmative action designed to directly redress the disadvantage that groups of people have experienced in the past. It is based on the premise that justified discrimination is needed in some situations for disadvantaged people to have the opportunity to become equal within society.
Acts of positive discrimination are allowed for under anti-discrimination laws.
Positive discrimination is a hot term for people who believe that all Australians should be treated equally and special treatment not be given to minority groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. They see policies that attempt to encourage participation of under-represented groups as unfair towards people not in those groups.
Such views are created when people cannot see the difference between treating people unequally and treating people unfairly. To treat disadvantaged groups in our society as equal ignores situations of inequality and therefore perpetuates that inequality.
Aristotle explains this succinctly: “There is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals”.
26 November 2004