ERIC Number: ED235263
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Sep-12
[Civil Rights Goals for the Year 2000 and the Means for Achieving Them.]
Reynolds, Wm. Bradford
Today, the United States stands at a critical crossroad with regard to civil rights; the choice is between an officially colorblind society and a government-supported, race-conscious one. The purpose of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments was to end a discriminatory system and to erect in its place a regime of race neutrality. In 1896, the separate-but-equal doctrine of "Plessy" turned back the clock, and it was not until "Brown v. Board of Education" (1954) that the Supreme Court acknowledged that race neutrality is required by the Equal Protection Clause. Judicial decisions and civil rights legislation of the late 1950s and the 1960s all endorsed the principle of race neutrality. Today, however, there are those who reject this principle in favor of preferential treatment for all members of the previously disadvantaged racial group. Such a system defeats the very purpose it intends to serve, for race-based preferences cut against the grain of equal opportunity, and in the process society becomes more racially polarized. The cure for racial discrimination is not to impose burdens on innocent individuals because of color, but to reach out to all individuals and extend to them a full measure of opportunity and consideration based on merit. (CMG)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Department of Justice, Washington, DC. Civil Rights Div.
Note: Speech given before the Annual Conference of State Advisory Committee Chairpersons, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Washington, D.C., September 12, 1983).