How We Lost Affirmative Action

Mary Frances Berry SAVE THIS

Elvert Barnes (Flickr)

Affirmative action is dead. It died a long time ago, but no one seemed to notice. In truth, its death was predictable in the late 1960s when President Richard Nixon, faced with a radicalized Black Power movement that demanded reparations for slavery, used the federal non-discrimination statute (also known as Executive Order 11246) to appease Black folk. But its protections for race, color, religion, sex, and national origin made it possible for educational institutions and employers to say they supported affirmative action while hiring loads of white people. President Bill Clinton’s “Mend It, Don’t End It” approach in the 1990s similarly gave employers the opportunity to say they supported affirmative action while also hiring mostly white men.

Now we are faced with the irony of Asian Americans accusing Harvard University of discrimination based on race in their “diversity” plan – a system of supposed inclusion…

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