In the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding Fisher v. University of Texas, For Discrimination is at once the definitive reckoning with one of America’s most explosively contentious and divisive issues and a principled work of advocacy for clearly defined justice.
What precisely is affirmative action, and why is it fiercely championed by some and just as fiercely denounced by others? Does it signify a boon or a stigma? Or is it simply reverse discrimination? What are its benefits and costs to American society? What are the exact indicia determining who should or should not be accorded affirmative action? When should affirmative action end, if it must? Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School professor and author of such critically acclaimed and provocative books as Race, Crime, and the Law and the national best-seller Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, gives us a concise, gimlet-eyed, and deeply personal conspectus of the policy, refusing to shy away from the myriad complexities of an issue that continues to bedevil American race relations.
With pellucid reasoning, Kennedy accounts for the slipperiness of the term “affirmative action” as it has been appropriated by ideologues of every stripe; delves into the complex and surprising legal history of the policy; coolly analyzes key arguments pro and con advanced by the left and right, including the so-called color-blind, race-neutral challenge; critiques the impact of Supreme Court decisions on higher education; and ponders the future of affirmative action.
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Lay readers with an interest in affirmative-action controversies should find him both fair and tough-minded. A strong synthesis of legal precedents and historical narratives.Read Full Review of For Discrimination: Race, Aff... | See more reviews from Kirkus
Mr. Kennedy seems of two minds about his second justification for racial preferences...He asserts...that "at least in certain settings, diversity does indeed enhance teaching, learning, and decision making." But he remains "doubtful about social scientific 'proof' of diversity's value; much of that seems exaggerated."Read Full Review of For Discrimination: Race, Aff... | See more reviews from WSJ online
Affirmative action may not seem as sexy a topic as the N-word, but Kennedy shows us how it is every bit as racially explosive, and as unresolved. He goes straight at the issue with fearlessness and a certain cheekiness, telling the story in the beginning of the book about how he became a legal academic in an overwhelmingly white environment.Read Full Review of For Discrimination: Race, Aff... | See more reviews from LA Times
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