The End of Affirmative Action

44 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2021 Last revised: 7 Jan 2022

See all articles by Meera E. Deo

Meera E. Deo

Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE); Southwestern Law School; American Bar Foundation

Date Written: March 22, 2021


We have arrived at the end of affirmative action. Now, more than ever, institutions of higher learning must move beyond a single-minded focus on educational diversity, which admits students of color primarily to enrich the classroom experiences of their white peers and then ignores what they may need to maximize both engagement and retention. Instead, affirmative action programs need an immediate update; they should take contemporary issues of race and racism into account, as well as the lived realities of students of color—by including multiracial students, recognizing diversity beneath the student of color umbrella, acknowledging intra-racial differences in pan-ethnic groups, and accepting that the resources and realities of Black immigrants differ from Black native-born Americans. Furthermore, to maximize the benefits of educational diversity, institutions must also prioritize equity and inclusion once students are enrolled. Using national longitudinal data from the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, this Article compares and contrasts students from different backgrounds on multiple measures to reveal how their lived realities should guide affirmative action policies for their remaining years.

Keywords: legal education, empirical research, diversity equity inclusion, LSSSE, affirmative action

Suggested Citation

Deo, Meera E., The End of Affirmative Action (March 22, 2021). 100 North Carolina Law Review 237 (2021)., Available at SSRN:

Meera E. Deo (Contact Author)

Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) ( email )

1900 E. Tenth Street Eigenmann Hall
Suite 419
Bloomington, IN 47406-7512
United States

Southwestern Law School ( email )

3050 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
United States

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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