Equality policy lives on

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The Independent Online
A recent out of court settlement in a landmark race relations case showed how far public and legal opinion has now swung against 30 years of affirmative action.

This policy, which encouraged positive discrimination for jobs and university places in favour of ethnic minorities and women has been in retreat for more than a year.

The celebrated case of a white teacher, Sharon Taxman, who sued for wrongful dismissal after her school chose to keep a black teacher on the staff, had been expected to decide the legality of "affirmative action" once and for all.

But last month Ms Taxman agreed to settle for more than $400,000 rather than go to the Supreme Court. The money was paid not by the school authorities (the defendants), but by the Black Leadership Forum, a group of civil rights organisations. Their only possible motive was to fend off a judgment that they anticipated would go against affirmative action. The settlement means that there will be no Supreme Court ruling, therefore no end to affirmative action.

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