Written by: Stephen Mahan
When the Grutter decision upheld affirmative action at the University of Michigan Law School, many commentators hailed it as a step forward in race-relations. Our own law school, Widener, has taken steps to further encourage and foster diversity within its halls, in the hopes of obtaining those educational benefits associated with diversity, by appointing its own “Multicultural Affairs Officer.” (Link to announcement.) Meera E. Deo, of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law has recently written on Grutter’s actual effects on race-relations in the law school classroom. See Meera E. Deo, The Promise of Grutter: Diverse Interactions at the University of Michigan Law School, 17 Mich. J. Race & L. 63 (2011). (Link to article.) But a different type of survey might better reveal how race-relations in the legal profession have advanced since Grutter – a survey of more recent minority graduates and their experiences in the job hunt. It has been some years since Justice Clarence Thomas graduated, when “Yale meant one thing for white graduates and another for blacks, no matter how much anyone denied it.” Clarence Thomas, My Grandfather’s Son 99 (2007) quoted in Jeffrey Toobin, The Thomases vs. Obama’s Health Care Plan, The New Yorker, August 29, 2011. (Link to article.) But, to borrow a phrase from Justice Thomas, has the “taint of racial preference” – that “You only got into U of M because you’re a minority” – yet dissipated?
The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.