From Jim Crow to Affirmative Action and Back Again: A Critical Race Discussion of Racialized Rationales and Access to Higher Education

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Review of Research in Education

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As part of his 1978 opinion in the Bakke v. Regents of the University of California case, Justice Blackmun’s quotation speaks to the persistence of “problem of the color line” that W. E. B. DuBois identified in 1903. In a letter to Judge Friedman of the U.S. 6th District Court in Detroit, Michigan, the African American high school student’s remarks express her worry that the courts will eliminate the single policy in education that aims to account for race. Her comments refer to the University of Michigan’s race-conscious admission policy, challenged at the undergraduate and law school levels by White female candidates denied admission to the selective campus (see Gratz v. Bollinger, 2003; Grutter v. Bollinger, 2003). Taken together, these quotations reveal the “color-line problem” that undergirds affirmative action debates in higher education


Copyright (2004) Sage


*At the time of publication, Marvin Lynn was affiliated with the University of Maryland at College Park.



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