Don't Be Fooled; America Needs Affirmative Action

As many in the liberal media throw in the towel on affirmative action, asserting that it's no longer necessary, Sherrilyn A. Ifill argues at the New York Times that that idea couldn't be further from the truth.

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Students protest outside the Supreme Court in 2012. (Tom Williams/Getty Images)

As the Supreme Court deliberates over whether America still needs affirmative action in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, Sherrilyn A. Ifill writes at the New York Times that many in the liberal media have already decided that we don't. Ifill argues that they are all mistaken.

No, the Supreme Court has not yet announced its decision in the landmark case of Fisher v. University of Texas; that ruling is expected any day now. But an alarming number of scholars, pundits and columnists -- many of them liberal -- have declared that economic class, not race, should be the appropriate focus of university affirmative-action efforts.

How can we explain this decision to throw in the towel on race-based affirmative action? Are we witnessing a surrender in advance of sure defeat? Or just an early weariness with a debate that, a decade ago, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor predicted would last another 25 years?

Perhaps it is the presence of a black president that has encouraged so many to believe that race is simply no longer a significant factor in American life. It is true that we have come a long way since the days of Jim Crow segregation. But the plain fact is that race still matters.

Read Sherrilyn A. Ifill's entire article at the New York Times.

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is a civil rights lawyer and professor at the University of Maryland School of Law.

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