Playing with Cards: Discrimination Claims and the Charge of Bad Faith

Social Theory and Practice 42 (2):285-303 (2016)
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A common response to claims of bias, harassment, or discrimination is to say that these claims are made in bad faith. Claimants are supposedly not motivated by a credible or even sincere belief that unfair or unequal treatment has occurred, but simply seek to illicitly gain public sympathy or private reward. Characterizing discrimination claims as systematically made in bad faith enables them to be screened and dismissed prior to engaging with them on their merits. This retort preserves the dominant group’s self-image as unprejudiced and innocent without having to risk critical analysis of the claim’s substance.

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David Schraub
Lewis & Clark College


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