Understanding Public Perceptions of Affirmative Action
31 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2014 Last revised: 10 Sep 2020
Date Written: Spring 2013
With the very recent re-election of the United States' first African American President and the Supreme Court reviewing the status of affirmative action, this is an ideal time to reconsider the political posture that race and, correctly or incorrectly, its legal correlation, affirmative action, hold with the public. Depending on who is asked, race is culture, ethnicity, nationality, pride, or a card. Similarly, affirmative action has been viewed as a cure, a disease, a Band-aid, a crutch, a future, or a dead end. Appropriate or not, race dominated the media's discourse during both of President Obama's elections. Until Americans find commonality of cause with the country's "original sin," redemption can neither be sought nor achieved. Each faction's assaults upon the other assure a continued static state. Within this article, we seek to make sense out of these varied public understandings and suggest methods for moving forward toward a more common goal.
Keywords: Colorado's Amendment 46, race, equal opportunity, affirmative action, civil rights policies, votes, state constitutions, higher education, Ward Connerly, ACRI, American Civil Rights Institute, deliberative democracy
JEL Classification: J71, J78, K39, K00, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation