What is the justification of equality of opportunity?

The Equality of Opportunity norms prohibit discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, race, ethnicity, religion, colour, sex, etc. But it must be taken into account that certain kinds of discrimination cannot be designated as unlawful. For instance, a black person may be more comfortable in making black friends. This cannot be considered to be wrong morally. Therefore this cannot be considered as discrimination. But on the other hand, if a firm is bent on employing only whites, this would tend to limit the employment opportunities of the blacks. Thus this kind of discrimination should be considered as unlawful and laws and social customs should be framed to prohibit this kind of discrimination.

In order to fulfill formal and substantive equality of opportunity ideals, discrimination needs to be eradicated. These broader ideals should be valued morally and should be fulfilled unconditionally. They might also be justified on instrumental grounds. For instance the discrimination between men and women should be eradicated in order to fulfill equality of opportunity.

Thus the ideals of equality of opportunity are not only desirable on the basis of morality but also for the establishment of effective governance. Therefore it should be considered and designated as a deontological requirement or as a valuable state of affairs which must be promoted.

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