Repeal of race preference programs:
edale1 at bellsouth.net
Tue Nov 28 06:30:49 PST 2006
Steve's point is an important one, and while I share Justice Thomas' concern
that affirmative action all too often means admitting a handful of blacks to
educate whites about what it means to be black, in the end I come down in
the pro Affirmative Action camp for precisely this reason. It is too easy
for my students to convince themselves that most blacks are just too
different from themselves, and that it is better for whites and blacks to
live separate but equal lives. My students don't take this position because
they are overtly racist, or nasty, they do it because they've lived their
entire lives in worlds where most people look like them and are like them
and they feel more comfortable in those worlds and threatened by positions
that seem to undermine them.
I will never forget the day I taught Brown to a class of undergraduates and
inadvertently shocked them all by pointing out in passing that over half my
teachers in K-8 grades were black. My students had never had a black
teacher, and they were amazed I had. Part of their amazement seemed to be
that I managed to overcome this strange situation as well as I had.
We are always going to have to have some conversations like that with
students; in a country that is as diverse as this one, and has the pockets
of ethnicity, class, religion, and political groups that it has, we will
always have students who have never met Jews, or Democrats, or people from
cities, or gays or what have you. But given the historical salience of race,
and the constitutional imperatives about racial equality, and the age of
Brown, we really should not be still having conversations about what it's
like to have blacks as teachers, or doctors, or lawyers, or ministers or as
Associate Professor, US Legal History, Department of History, University of
Affiliate Professor, Legal History, Levin College of Law, University of
PO Box 117320
Gainesville, Florida 32611
edale at history.ufl.edu
From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Steven Jamar
Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 8:35 AM
Cc: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: Repeal of race preference programs:
A child of a privileged black family still brings diversity, Rick. But you
don't value diversity based on race, so this carries no weight with you.
That child may well come from a black cultural perspective, may have grown
up in a black community, attended a black church, and have a composite set
of values that regardless of the variability within the non-monolithic black
community still is different from yours. And, even if that person is not
"black enough", that type of diversity within the group is itself valuable.
And we should affirmatively act to include people of all backgrounds, and we
should be able to include race as one of the parts of a person's background.
Race (still) matters.
Steve "too-often-the-proxy-black-because-I-teach-at-Howard" Jamar
Prof. Steven D. Jamar vox: 202-806-8017
Howard University School of Law fax: 202-806-8567
2900 Van Ness Street NW mailto:stevenjamar at gmail.com
Washington, DC 20008 http://iipsj.com/SDJ/
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
Robert Burns, 1785
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