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Cracking the Egg: Which Came First - Stigma or Affirmative Action?


Angela Onwuachi-Willig


University of Iowa College of Law

Emily Houh


University of Cincinnati - College of Law

Mary Campbell


University of Iowa - Department of Sociology


California Law Review, Vol. 96, p. 1299, 2008
U of Cincinnati Public Law Research Paper No. 08-24
U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-49

Abstract:     
This Article examines the strength of arguments concerning the causal connection between racial stigma and affirmative action. In so doing, this article reports and analyzes the results of a survey on internal stigma (feelings of dependency, inadequacy, or guilt) and external stigma (the burden of others' resentment or doubt about one's qualifications) for the Class of 2009 at seven public law schools, four of which employed race-based affirmative action policies when the Class of 2009 was admitted and three of which did not use such policies at that time.

Specifically, this Article examines and presents survey findings of 1) minimal, if any, internal stigma felt by minority law students, regardless of whether their schools practiced race-based affirmative action; 2) no statistically significant difference in internal stigma between minority students at affirmative action law school and non-affirmative action law schools; and 3) no significant impact from external stigma.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 55

Keywords: race, affirmative action, education, law school

JEL Classification: I20, J7

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Date posted: November 4, 2008 ; Last revised: May 20, 2009

Suggested Citation

Onwuachi-Willig, Angela and Houh, Emily and Campbell, Mary, Cracking the Egg: Which Came First - Stigma or Affirmative Action?. California Law Review, Vol. 96, p. 1299, 2008; U of Cincinnati Public Law Research Paper No. 08-24; U Iowa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-49. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1295357

Contact Information

Angela Onwuachi-Willig
University of Iowa College of Law ( email )
290 Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States
Emily Houh (Contact Author)
University of Cincinnati - College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 210040
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0040
United States
Mary Campbell
University of Iowa - Department of Sociology ( email )
W140, Seashore Hall
Iowa Ave.
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States
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