Carol Swain, professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt University, weighs in with a sensible critique of the Court’s support for affirmative action in Grutter. Her essay,
"The Survival of Racial Preferences: Missing the Mark," echoes Justice Thomas’s criticism that the Court’s endorsement of affirmative action actually enables institutions to pursue their own objectives through alleged racial balancing--i.e., merely looking like they do not discriminate by offering for public display the "right" numbers of particular minorities--rather than helping those admitted under the race-preferential policies.
Swain’s main argument, previously made in her book, The New White Nationalism in America: Its Threat to Integration, is that "racial double standards" facilitated by affirmative action will embolden white backlash and further divide the country along racial lines. While it is debatable the extent to which race extremists will increase their numbers because of the Court’s support for affirmative action, Swain does well to remind us of the urgent necessity to "save America" by the inculcation of "common principles and common values that include the betterment of all of society."
The president’s recent statement, which "applaud[ed] the Supreme Court for recognizing the value of diversity," only concedes the rhetorical high ground to affirmative activists, who have hijacked the concept of diversity to permit--nay, require--government action to guarantee proportional, racial representation in American society. Swain is right to conclude that neither major party in the U.S. has offered leadership on the divisive issue of racial preferences. All the more reason to keep individual rights and equal treatment under the law before the American people until they regain their legitimate place in the public mind.