The fate of minority preference programs is one of the major civil rights policy questions that will be determined in the 1990s. The merits of these minority preference programs have become increasingly controversial; debate has raged in the media, in the legislatures, and in the courts. Proponents claim that these policies are responsible for tremendous progress in minority employment and business ownership and therefore are necessary to reverse entrenched patterns of racial discrimination that the marketplace has failed to ameliorate. Critics argue that the programs are overbroad and superfluous since there is no evidence of specific discrimination. They add that the programs benefit only "rich minorities," and result in sham transactions. Consequently, these critics contend that the programs are ineffective.

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