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  Web Editor:
  Vernellia R. Randall
Professor of Law
The University of Dayton
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Race and Health Care
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Do We Need Affirmative Action?  Stephen R. McAllister, One Anglo-Irish American's Observations On Affirmative Action, 5-SPG Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 21-28, 25-26 (1995).  . . . . 

It is clear that the elimination of affirmative action probably would not produce a colorblind meritocracy. Nothing in this country's history remotely suggests that such a result is attainable in the absence of strong medicine, if at all. Moreover, the facts that very few minorities hold high elective offices or positions of power in corporate America strongly suggest that there is a very real glass ceiling for minorities (as well as women). It is at least arguable that until all persons, irrespective of race, are treated as serious candidates for such positions, we have a significant racial discrimination problem. And although there are anti-discrimination statutes which provide some measure of protection, it appears that they are at least sometimes ineffective and often extremely expensive to invoke. 

It is difficult to accept Justice Scalia's insistence that the Constitution is absolutely colorblind, that the Constitution simply does not permit government to draw distinctions on the basis of race, irrespective of purpose, because constitutionally there is no such thing as "race." For an originalist such as Justice Scalia to make such an assertion is especially surprising. It is impossible to deny that the Constitution as originally ratified tolerated slavery (some of the Framers owned slaves) and protected slave owners in at least four ways. It further is indisputable that it took a civil war and three constitutional amendments to banish slavery effectively from this country. 

All that history does not mean that African Americans, in particular, now are somehow a "creditor" race, to which nonminorities owe some special obligation, and in that respect Justice Scalia may have a point. Nonetheless, American history certainly suggests that any reasonable judicial consideration of the constitutionality of affirmative action-as well as political consideration of the propriety of such measures-must recognize and honestly grapple with our past. Ignoring that history or pretending that it does not exist-not to mention the continuing reality that minorities sometimes face obstacles that nonminorities do not-is nothing more than an attempt to short circuit the affirmative action debate altogether, and avoid the truly difficult issues. The real question probably is not whether we must engage in race-conscious or race- sensitive measures to equalize opportunities, but rather how to define, implement, and ultimately terminate such efforts.


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Parents Involved in Community Schools V. Seattle School District No. 1 and Race-conscious Student Assignment Policies ] Recasting MLK as an Affirmative Action Opponent ] Higher Education Admissions  Compliance Manual ] FOR WHITES ONLY - A Long History of Affirmative Action ] Mandatory Affirmative Action ] How Affirmative Action Helped George W. ] Bakke and the Causation Fallacy ] Is Affirmative Action Still Needed? ] Is Affirmative Action Still Needed? ] Color Blinded by Whiteness ] The Need for Affirmative Action- Strong as Ever! ] I am an Affirmative Action Baby! ] Merit and Affirmative Action ] My Word's Worth - Affirmative Action ] Innocent Whites and Colorblindness ] Adding Salt To The Wound ] Grutter v. Bollinger ] Asian Americans and Affirmative Actions ] The Evolution Of Race In The Law ] Affirmative Action and the Law ] The Pre-Affirmative Action Era ] Diminished Self Worth ] [ Anglo-Irish American Observation on Affirmative Action ] Sameness does not Mean Fairness ] Meritocracy and Diversity ] Affirmative Action Based On Economic Disadvantage ] Affirmative Action Backlash or Debunking the Myths ] Chicana/o Desegregation Cases ] Asian Americans and 1996 California Civil Rights Initiative ] Whites Swim in Racial Preference ] White Women and Affirmative Action ]
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