Brian Leiter has a post up where he queried Prof. Lionel McPherson on his experiences on the job market. McPherson's view is that affirmative action/equal opportunity notices can have pernicious effects. Importantly, he does not oppose affirmative action initiatives, but rather, he questions the use of notices professing affirmative action policies without implementing such policies. I quote his letter in Leiter's blog: "I have grown skeptical in general about affirmative action/equal opportunity notices from leading philosophy departments, at least regarding minority candidates. In short, I believe that such notices stigmatize minority candidates, mislead non-minorities about the prevalence of minority hires and hiring attempts, and provide false cover against the charge of lack of faculty diversity--while rarely making an ultimate difference to actual hiring practices."
An entry on the what's it like to be a woman in philosophy blog voices a similar concern: "Many of the entries on this blog refer to affirmative action, as if there is some stigma attached to being an affirmative action hire. I think women and minorities should worry about the so-called ‘unfair’ advantage given by affirmative action exactly when the white males start worrying about the unfair advantage given by white male privilege."
So, despite the best intentions it seems that Affirmative Action notices can sometimes have an adverse effect - they give the misleading impression that minority candidates have an unfair advantage (whereas affirmative action precisely tries to mitigate the unfair advantage of non-minority candidates!). How do we amend the pernicious effects of insincere affirmative action notices, short of introducing actual quotas?