Reflections Of An Affirmative Action Baby by Stephen L. Carter

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In a climate where whites who criticize affirmative action risk being termed racist and blacks who do the same risk charges of treason and self hatred, a frank and open discussion of racial preference is difficult to achieve. But, in the first book on racial preference written from personal experience, Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby, Stephen L. Carter, Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University and self-described beneficiary (and, at times, victim) of affirmative action, does it.Using his own story of success and frustration as “an affirmative action baby” as a point of departure, Carter, who has risen to the top of his profession, provides an incisive analysis of one of the most incendiary topics of our day—as well as an honest critique of the pressures on black professionals and intellectuals to conform to the “politically correct” way of being black.Affirmative action as it is practiced today not only does little to promote racial equality, Carter argues, but also allows the nation to escape rather cheaply from its moral obligation to undo the legacy of slavery. Affirmative action, particularly in hiring often reinforces racist stereotypes by promoting the idea that the black professional cannot aspire to anything more than being “the best black.”Has the time come to abandon these programs? No--but affirmative action must return to its simpler roots, Carter argues: to provide educational opportunities for those who might not otherwise have them. Then the beneficiaries should demand to be held to the same standards as anyone else.
 

About Stephen L. Carter

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Stephen L. Carter was born in Washington, D.C. on October 26, 1954. He received a bachelor's degree in history from Stanford University in 1976 and a law degree from Yale University in 1979. After graduation, he served as a law clerk for Judge Spottswood W. Robinson, III, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. In 1982, he joined the Yale University faculty and is currently the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law. He is the author of numerous non-fiction works including Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby (1991); The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion (1993); The Confirmation Mess: Cleaning Up the Federal Appointments Process (1994); Integrity (1996); The Dissent of the Governed: A Meditation on Law, Religion, and Loyalty (1998); Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy (1998); and God's Name in Vain: The Wrongs and Rights of Religion in Politics (2000). He has also written several fiction works including The Emperor of Ocean Park and Jericho's Fall. He was the first non-theologian to receive the prestigious Louisville-Grawemeyer Award in religion.
 
Published October 1, 1991 by Basic Books. 286 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Reflections Of An Affirmative Action Baby

Kirkus Reviews

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``I got into a top law school,'' he offers, ``because I am black--so what?'' He argues here that all should be based on merit and that affirmative action--what he decries as ``racial preference''- -further ghettoizes blacks by not allowing them to compete against ``the best.'' The ``taint''--the ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Yale law professor Carter's provocative critique of affirmative action has stirred much debate and discussion.

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Los Angeles Times

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At heart, however, he seems to care less about affirmative action than about community building among black Americans: "We should make our shared love for our people the center of our belief," he writes, "and use that shared center as a model for the possibility of a solidarity that does not seek...

Sep 11 1991 | Read Full Review of Reflections Of An Affirmative...

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