Article: Khiara M. Bridges, Class-Based Affirmative Action, or the Lies That We Tell About the Insignificance of Race, 96 Boston L. Rev. 55 (2016).
This Article conducts a critique of class-based affirmative action, identifying and problematizing the narrative that it tells about racial progress. The Article argues that class-based affirmative action denies that race is a significant feature of American life. It denies that individuals—and groups—continue to be advantaged and disadvantaged on account of race. It denies that there is such a thing called race privilege that materially impacts people’s worlds. Moreover, this Article suggests that at least part of the reason why class-based affirmative action has been embraced by those who oppose race-based affirmative action is precisely because it denies that race matters, has mattered, and probably will continue to matter unless we make conscious efforts to make race matter less.
The Article proceeds in two Parts. Part I locates class-based affirmative action doctrinally. Specifically, this Part identifies class-based affirmative action as the heir of the “suspect class” to “suspect classification” shift—a shift that tells its own lie about race. The substance of this lie is that those who exist at the top of racial hierarchies are as vulnerable to denigration, stigmatization, and subordination on account of race as are those who exist at the bottom of racial hierarchies. Part II goes on to demonstrate that class-based affirmative action suffers from the same infirmities from which race-based affirmative action is charged to suffer. It argues that the reason why proponents of class-based affirmative action are sanguine about these infirmities when they are present in class-based programs, but loathe them when they are present in race-based programs, is because their opposition to race-based affirmative action is not due to these infirmities. Rather, it is due to their disdain of the work that race-based affirmative action performs. That is, race-based programs function to assert, loudly, that race still matters and does so in powerful ways. Many proponents of class-based affirmative action resist this function.
Moreover, class-based affirmative action functions to assert that we, as a society, have entered a post-racial future. That is, class-based affirmative action tells a lie about the insignificance of race. Many proponents of class-based programs likely find these programs attractive and comforting for that very reason. The importance of this Article is that it uncovers the narrative work that class-based affirmative action performs, and it argues that those who are interested in racial justice ought to resist these programs because of their dangerous discursive effects.
News Article: William S. Flanagan & Michael E. Xie, Median Family Income for Harvard Undergrads Triple National Average, Study Finds, Harvard Crimson (Jan. 25, 2017).
Article: Shakira D. Pleasant, More than Just the Numbers: Fisher v. Texas and the Impact of Texas’s Top Ten Percent Law, 24 Univ. Miami Bis. L. Rev. 111 (2016).
Data — actual facts — demonstrate that Texas’s Top Ten Percent Law (“TTPL”) is insufficient to achieve diversity in the state’s universities and colleges. A significant amount of TTPL students graduated from hyper-segregated schools where African-American and Latino/a students, combined, comprised 80% or more of the total school population. Also, a substantial amount of these hyper-segregated schools had an economically disadvantaged student population exceeding the state average of 60.2%. Even with these numbers, however, Caucasian students were the majority racial group admitted to the University of Texas at Austin (“UT”) via TTPL in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Thus, this essay concludes, as did the brief, that “racial isolation in schools is a perverse and insufficient means to attain diversity in higher education.”
Part one gives background about the TTPL — the underlying law at issue in Fisher v. Texas. Part two contrasts statewide enrollment data and TTPL admissions data. Part three focuses on regional TTPL data, specifically Region 4 (Houston), which produces the highest rate of students that are automatically admitted to UT. The final part analyzes the data and TTPL’s impact on UT’s holistic admissions process — the underlying issue in Fisher v. Texas. From this analysis, part four demonstrates that UT needs TTPL and its holistic process to combat racial and socio-economic isolation which precludes diversity within racial groups.
Commentary: Barack Obama, The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform, 130 Harv. L. Rev. 811 (2017).
Article: Sidney D. Watson, Lessons from Ferguson and Beyond: Bias, Health, and Justice, 18 Minn. J. L. Sci. & Tech. 111 (2017).
Article: Charles M. Lamb,”HMDA, Housing Segregation, and Racial Disparities in Mortgage Lending,” State University of New York at Buffalo (July 2015).
Housing segregation and discrimination remain tenacious problems in America. This Article first explores the passage of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) of 1975 and its 1989 amendments in order to clarify their objectives and requirements for providing data to the public that potentially may be used to combat redlining and lending discrimination in the nation’s housing market. Given this background, this Article then relies on HMDA data to investigate the following question: Are racial minorities in America’s largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) more likely to receive government-insured mortgages rather than conventional mortgages if they reside in more segregated metropolitan areas?
The analysis indicates that housing segregation has a significant negative effect on African Americans’ ability to receive conventional mortgages, thereby distinguishing them from Asians, Hispanics, and whites. If African Americans are unlikely to receive conventional mortgages in more segregated areas, this suggests that in the future, highly segregated MSAs are likely to remain segregated along black-white lines and that African Americans will continue to be the mast segregated racial group in the country. Based on this analysis, the Article concludes that HMDA should be amended to require additional data from commercial banks in order to determine the extent to which lending discrimination is occurring and thus perpetuating-and possibly even increasing-housing segregation in the United States. At minimum this data should include such basic information as applicants’ total financial assets, credit scores and history, number of dependents, value of the property to be purchased, and size of down payments required Banks routinely collect this data during the mortgage application process, so it should be relatively easy to include in their lending disclosure forms.