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Campus Racial Unrest and the Diversity Bargain

Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality, Vol. 5, Issue 1 (2016)

Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 16-21

13 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2016  

Steven W. Bender

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

Campus racial unrest challenging the status quo of unwelcoming environments for students of color drew recent national attention. While achieving some short-term victories, the current protests prompted backlash that exposes the sinister and sobering foundations of racism on college campuses that connect to the seeming permanence of racism embedded in U.S. institutions and law. In this article, I suggest that despite the window dressing of diversity mission statements and policies that claim to open the campus doors to racial minorities, society fears an educated and activist minority population that sets out to change the status quo of systemic racism. As I posit, activist minority students, whether in law or other disciplines, have violated their covenant of admission and tolerance on the college campus. Should the students, as angry products of working-class families of color, learn the nature of their oppression and its sources and aim to change that world, starting with their own campus, they violate their tacit bargain, long enforced by a variety of policies and strategies detailed in the article. Faculty of color can be complicit in those strategies, and I suggest how to move from an enforcer to a risk-taker in the interest of exposing and challenging the diversity bargain.

Keywords: Racial campus unrest, protest, affirmative action, diversity, systemic racism

Suggested Citation

Bender, Steven W., Campus Racial Unrest and the Diversity Bargain (2016). Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality, Vol. 5, Issue 1 (2016) ; Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 16-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2869338

Steven W. Bender (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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