Evaluating the Effects of Race-Conscious and Colorblind Policies on Racial/Ethnic Inequalities and Identities

According to class discussion and assigned readings, some state (i.e. governmental) policies affect racial
identities and inequalities by using the power of the state to implement “race-conscious policies.” Raceconscious policies grant certain rights to privileged racial groups and deny those same rights to members of
non-privileged racial groups. Other state policies affect racial identities and inequalities by implementing
“colorblind” policies. Colorblind policies extend rights to citizens as individuals rather than as members of racial
groups.
Affirmative action is a state policy that has an effect on racial inequalities and identities. In 2012, the Supreme
Court of the U.S. heard arguments in a case involving the University of Texas’ (UT) admission policies. The
Court sent the case back to a lower court. The Supreme Court heard the case again and in 2013 ruled in favor
of the University of Texas’ use of race in admissions and against Fisher.
For this paper, I would like you to consider the effect that the Court’s decision may have on racial inequalities
and identities. I also want you to consider how a different ruling might have affected racial inequalities and
identities.
Two “Friends of the Court” briefs are available in Canvas. You will use these briefs to write the paper.
This paper should accomplish five tasks.

  1. Explain how race-conscious and color-blind policies differ from each other.
  2. Explain how race-conscious and color-blind state policies each have effects on racial inequalities and
    identities.
  3. Describe the policies advocated by the Asian American Legal Foundation brief and the Military brief and
    explain how they advocate race-conscious or color-blind policies. [Note: these briefs appear long, but you do
    not need to read every word. You can scan the documents to find the arguments about how the authors of the
    briefs think the Court should decide and why.]
  4. Explain how each of the two policies discussed in part 3 would affect racial identities and inequalities. In
    other words, what would be the social impact on racial identities and inequalities if the Supreme Court decided
    the Fisher case as each of the briefs prefers?
  5. If you were a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, how would you decide the case? Why?
    (There is no right or wrong answer to question 5, but please describe the reason(s) for your decision.)

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