Recognizing Discrimination: Lessons from White Plaintiffs

41 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2013

See all articles by Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker

Wake Forest University - School of Law

Date Written: March 20, 2013


The Supreme Court has developed a robust Equal Protection jurisprudence to recognize the rights of whites complaining of race conscious governmental activity. This was particularly reflected in the Court’s opinion in Parents Involved, where the Roberts Court radically re-positioned the meaning of Brown v. Board of Education. While many have lamented this use of Brown, we have missed the promise of the Roberts Court’s “process-only discrimination” for minority plaintiffs. This Article argues that the Roberts Court has adopted a version of colorblind jurisprudence so unconditional and absolute that it unintentionally, but unmistakably, offers great promise to non-white plaintiffs. By making unlawful any different treatment of an individual by race, whether it has substantive consequences or not, the Roberts Court has expanded what is actionable under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, even for minority plaintiffs.

Keywords: Discrimination, Race, Minorities

Suggested Citation

Parker, Wendy, Recognizing Discrimination: Lessons from White Plaintiffs (March 20, 2013). Florida Law Review, Forthcoming, Wake Forest Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 2236187, Available at SSRN: or

Wendy Parker (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

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