Discrimination: the elephant in the room

For Discrimination (Randall Kennedy)

Randall Kennedy is an author of five books that deals with race relation issues that is still looked upon as the elephant in the room.  His books Interracial Intimacies and Race, Crime, and the Law brings the elephant front and center.  His latest book, For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law released September 3 discuss the intricacies of affirmative action.

It has been 50 years since the March on Washington and we still have a long way to go.  This thought provoking book helps the reader better understand affirmative action and its effect on this Country.  Kennedy delves into several entities that have shaped the development of affirmative action from The Civil Rights Cases, 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act to Supreme Court decisions.

Diversity promotes the highest level of education that one could ever experience.  Kennedy uses several references from other authors to Court rulings to support his case about affirmative action and its affect on this Country.  If given a chance everyone should see improving race relations and diversity within the Country as an asset instead of a liability.

Ask Judge Sandra Day O’Connor, Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice.  It has been said that she now sees diversity as a way to promote racial understanding and break down stereotypes.  It appears that her view on race relations began to evolve during her tenure on the Supreme Court.  She further stated “classroom discussion is livelier, more spirited, and simply more enlightening and interesting when the students have the greatest possible variety of backgrounds.”

Despite all of the appearance of unity, diversity and cross-cultural interaction why are we still experiencing a hardship of incorporating and implementing affirmative action within the lives of America?  Could it be due to a lack of exposure?  Or awareness?  Or interest?  Through affirmative action the playing field is leveled.  Affirmative action should not be a lifetime effort but allowing enough time for the playing field to become level.

As indicated in the book, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said it best “Our society has been doing something special against the Negro for hundred years.  How then can he be absorbed into the mainstream of American life if we do not do something special for him now, in order to balance the equation and equip him to compete on a just and equal basis?”

Without affirmative action as a Country we become stagnant and stale.  Without affirmative action there is no room for growth in this Country.  Without affirmative action we become one-dimensional in our interpersonal relationships in this Country.  Without affirmative action we ‘all’ fail.

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