Affirmative Action Rhetoric

Social Philosophy and Policy 8 (2):130 (1991)
Abstract
For the students, while the numbers are up,… the problem that minorities face – and it is persistent – is that there is still too much of a patronizing air in the professional schools. And there's still too much of the notion that if you're here it must be because someone gave you a break and you're different and you really don't belong here. And indeed when my son went off to school four years ago… I really wanted to warn him about the atmosphere that you see on all too many campuses, diat if you're black and walking on campus, that all too many people look at you and say, “You must be an affirmative action product,” whatever that means to them. “You're here only at our good grace.” And no one's looking at the individual. Thinking about it in retrospect, I guess, in some ways I enjoyed an advantage in being [the only black in my law school class]. It was a terrible disadvantage in a lot of ways, but, because I was the only black, the one thing I never faced was anyone ever challenging my intellectual capability. The way they brought this off was to say, “Well, you're different. You're black but you're not really black.” I think it's a lot worse now…. Professional schools are hard enough as it is, and to constantly have the pressure of what others are thinking about you and wondering whether you really belong, that really is a difficult burden
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DOI 10.1017/S0265052500001163
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