Where's the Talk About Racial Justice?

United States


The New York Times
July 13, 2008


To the Editor:

Stephen L. Carter’s critique of the bipartisan failure to address racial inequality unfortunately plays to the ranks of the so-called post-racial advocates who hope to eliminate public discourse on race altogether. 

Opponents of affirmative action have not used their victories to broaden opportunities for the very students Mr. Carter champions, but have instead attacked the remaining programs designed to improve educational access for those locked out. 

Their attacks on voluntary integration, magnet school programs and resource equalization efforts prove that the assault on affirmative action is simply a beachhead in the larger war to remove racial equity concerns from polite policy debates altogether.

It’s not because of the Bakke decision that Americans have turned a blind eye to the lack of opportunity for the black and brown poor. Bakke, while flawed, prevented a wholesale rollback of America’s commitment to racial equality. 

Mr. Carter is right to call for a renewal of that commitment, but shortsighted in believing that sacrificing affirmative action on the altar of colorblindness is the way to do so.

KimberlĂ© Crenshaw Madrid, July 8, 2008 

The writer, a professor of law at U.C.L.A. and Columbia Law School, is the executive director of the African American Policy Forum.




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