Affirmative Action

the Web Editors 06-23-2016

Image via  /

"The race-conscious admissions program in use at the time of petitioner’s application is lawful under the Equal Protection Clause," said the court.

the Web Editors 05-03-2016

Eric Holder. Image via a katz /

Eric Holder, former attorney general under President Obama, waded into the debate over reparations for slavery at Georgetown University, reports America magazine.

While the call for reparations is an old one, the conversation really entered mainstream circles with Ta-Nehisi Coates’s 2014 essay on the subject in The Atlantic. Holder’s comments on April 29 continue that conversation.

Lisa Sharon Harper 06-03-2014

Can a vote outlaw equal protection under the law? The Court seems to think so.

Lisa Sharon Harper 06-25-2013
Tower at the University of Texas, Katherine Welles /

Tower at the University of Texas, Katherine Welles /

In a vote of 7-1 on Monday, the Supreme Court sent an affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas, back to the lower court for a re-hearing, while reaffirming the benefits of diversity in institutions of higher learning and authorizing the continued use of race as one factor in admissions. By sending the case back to determine if the University of Texas could find no “available, workable race-neutral” alternatives available to them, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg explained the court did not issue a strong enough support for affirmative action. I agree. By virtue of our nation’s not-so-distant history, race simply is a factor that should be considered.

For nearly 250 years, blacks were bought and sold like cattle and carriages on auction blocks across America. When the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in 1807, the U.S. bred slaves to reinforce the fundamental source of its wealth: free labor. When shackles fell from the wrists and legs of black men, women, and children — and the Reconstruction Era took hold — black families thrived and held public office. Then, for the next 80 years, thousands of white men in the South covered their faces with sheets, burned crosses, lynched 3,445 black men, women, and children, and instituted a web of laws that made it nearly impossible for blacks to vote, attain equal education, or own a home of much worth. At the same time in the North, blacks, Latinos, and Asians were redlined into urban ghettos where access to good housing, competitive education, adequate health care, effective law enforcement, and gainful employment was scarce.  

When did this reign of terror against African-Americans end? The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed so-called “Jim Crow” laws that had blocked blacks from voting and legally reinforced racial segregation. The acts laid the foundation for legal recourse against all manner of discrimination from that day to present. 

Now consider this: We have made only two generations of progress after 17 generations of comprehensive, structural, systematized, and racialized oppression. And the effects of that oppression still haunt us today.

The world is stubborn. It changes its thinking at a glacial pace. People fear change, and they come to hate what they fear. Powerful interests do not want to lose or to share power. The work of social justice, of affecting positive change requires persistent commitment and radical love that gives one the energy to continue the work across decades.

Edward Gilbreath 01-06-2010

As you probably know, one of the big articles making the rounds this week is Time magazine's major report on Willow Creek Community Church and the noteworthy progress being made in evangelical megachurches to bridge the racial divide.

Jim Wallis 07-29-2009
I have been away for the last couple of weeks, first for a family wedding and reunion on a lake in northern Michigan, and then at the Chautauqua conference center in rural New York state.
Jim Wallis 07-17-2009
The confirmation hearing for Judge Sonia Sotomayor this week again brings up the fundamental issues of diversity and affirmative action.
Eugene Cho 09-24-2008
This is hard to read. Hard to swallow. Hard to understand ...
Shane Claiborne 09-02-2008

[see all posts in this conversation on New Monastics and race.]

Vonetta and Jason, first I want you to know that I am deeply grateful for the conversation you've invited and stirred with our private conversations and now

Jim Wallis 07-01-1998

Or just in need of repair?