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Can Minorities Discriminate Against Majorities?

Talk by Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen at Ashoka University 23 February

On 23 February 2023 Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen will give a talk at Ashoka University with the titel: "Can Minorities Discriminate Against Majorities?"

Almost anyone agrees that, as a majority person - say, a member of a dominant or privileged etc. group - one can discriminate against a minority person - say, a member of a dominated or underprivileged group etc. However, is it also the case that a minority person can discriminate against a majority? While probably most theorists think that both forms of discrimination are possible, i.e., that the concept of discrimination is symmetric across the majority-minority person distinction, a minority take the view that the concept of discrimination is asymmetric in the indicated way. In the talk, I offer some examples of this position; clarify what it amounts to; and argue that empirical evidence suggests that the folk of discrimination is symmetric. Obviously, this does not mean that we could not decide to adopt an asymmetric concept of discrimination. Hence, in the last bit of the talk I argue that one can use a symmetric concept of discrimination and still accommodate all of the concerns that motivate some theorists to favor an asymmetric concept. Also, I show that at least on a range of influential accounts of what makes discrimination wrong, e.g., Eidelson’s disrespect-based account of the wrongness of discrimination, minority on majority discrimination can be wrong for the same reason as majority on minority discrimination.