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Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volume 2Moral Responsibility,  Structural Injustice, and Ethics$
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Michael Brownstein and Jennifer Saul

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198766179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198766179.001.0001

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The Moral Status of Micro-Inequities

The Moral Status of Micro-Inequities

In Favor of Institutional Solutions

(p.235) 3.3 The Moral Status of Micro-Inequities
Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volume 2

Samantha Brennan

Oxford University Press

An emerging story about the persistence of workplace inequality—in the absence of formal barriers to entry and progress for women, minorities, and disabled persons—looks to the twin causes of implicit bias and micro-inequities. I discuss why these phenomena often go together. I then argue that while the initial idea of a micro-inequity is easy to understand—specific examples, useful analogies, and colorful metaphors abound—careful analysis of the moral significance of micro-inequities is needed. I distinguish the kind of moral analysis needed from questions about the mechanisms by which micro-inequities add up to larger harms, as well as questions about praise, blame and moral responsibility. I also make clear that, while morally significant, micro-inequities are not the only problem facing women, the disabled, and minorities in the workplace. Finally, I argue in favour of institutional responses to micro-inequities rather than approaches that focus on the wrongness of individual acts.

Keywords:   micro-inequities, rights, thresholds, workplace, discrimination, implicit bias, harm

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