Is the present tense "are" properly used in the following? Why wasn't "were" used instead?

"And it makes sense, up to a point, to debate ending remedies for discrimination that are more appropriate to mid-20th century America, where nearly 90 percent of the population was white and racism kept blacks, Latinos and Jews from advancing in the workplace."

I'd appreciate your help.

  • 1
    The fact that the reference is to ending these "remedies for discrimination" implies they're still in force. So even though "mid-20th century America" no longer "exists" in the real world (that's now something in the past), you could still talk about what those remedies are appropriate to. Having said that, I think both tenses are fine, and I personally would go with were to emphasize the clearly intended implication that even though those remedies still exist, they're outdated, and should be discarded. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 8 '19 at 13:55

Because those remedies are suited to mid-20th century America. The remedies still exist, conceptually, and indeed are presumably still in place, given there's apparently debate about ending them.

Were could be used as well, because the remedies existed in the past as well as now. Are would not be appropriate if they had already ended. If they had never been put into place, but were ideas that had been discussed or suggested, then are would be appropriate.

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