ERIC Number: ED229498
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr-29
Reference Count: 0
Legitimizing Race as a Decision Making Criterion: Where Are We Going?
Reynolds, William Bradford
The Assistant Attorney-General for Civil Rights argues that preferential treatment to individuals based on their race cannot be justified under the law. Reynolds reviews the drafting of the Constitution and notes that the Constitution wronged blacks when it accorded them a fractional status of free persons. The doctrine of "separate-but-equal" dictated public policy for over fifty years until it was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in the 1954 "Brown vs. Board of Education" decision, he observes. The "Brown" decision and subsequent legislation such as the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, 1964, and 1968, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Reynolds suggests, were intended by Congress to be colorblind. Thus, he contends, it is the Reagan administration policy to enforce the civil rights laws to their maximum extent and to consider "affirmative action" to be discriminatory if it bestows advantage on members of a particular group. An alternative policy to racial quotas in educational and employment situations would be to evaluate people of all races on the basis of their qualifications, Reynolds suggests. (AOS)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Department of Justice, Washington, DC. Civil Rights Div.
Identifiers: Reagan Administration
Note: Paper presented at the Forum on Law and Social Justice of the Annual Houston Lecture (4th, Amherst, MA, April 29, 1983).