Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Reverse Racism!

I love this quote from David Roediger (UIUC History Professor):

"We should transform 'reverse racism' from a curse to an injunction (Reverse racism!)."
--in Towards the Abolition of Whiteness (1974)

This quote introduces Chapter 7, "Reverse Racism! Affirmative Action, the Family, and the Dream That Is America" in Robert Chang's Disoriented: Asian Americans, Law, and the Nation State. (Click here for information from NYU Press).

Chang is a critical race theorist and legal scholar at Loyola Law School (in Los Angeles--a lot of alliteration, I know), and his book is really smart for anyone who wants to read more about how Asian Americans fit into critical race theory (which is basically legal theory with a racial orientation/focus). And his chapter on affirmative action is so important because Asian Americans have been set up as this example, this "model minority" for why we don't need affirmative action, and Chang lays out very succinctly and importantly what affirmative action is and who benefits the most from affirmative action (taking into consideration the number of legacies at ivy league colleges and athletes who get into college on special admission policies).

Another scholar in support of affirmative action in particular and diversity in general is Scott E. Page at University of Michigan. There's a great New York Times piece about his work and, most interestingly, the scientific/mathematical model he helped to develop that shows how diversity benefits society, which is the basic premise for his book The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies (Princeton University Press). You can read the article by clicking on this sentence.

For anyone who finds themselves in an argument about affirmative action or why diversity should matter, check out these two scholars. And remember, Reverse Racism!

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