As the Supreme Court seems poised to strike down affirmative action, many legal professionals are weighing in on whether the program is working as intended. Business Insider recently posted some thoughts from Indiana University law professor Kevin Brown, who supports affirmative action.
Like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Brown, who is also African-American, attended Yale Law School. Unlike Thomas, Brown still supports affirmative action and struggles to understands how Thomas reaches his legal positions.
“I’ve thought about this a tremendous amount, and I’ve tried to figure out how he could have arrived at his opinions,” Brown says.
Brown ponders on whether Thomas is more worried about what white people think, specifically whether whites will consider themselves victims, than the overall effectiveness of affirmative action.
“I would love to have this conversation with him,” Brown said. “I would say, ‘I don’t believe whites would [think] that. I have more faith and trust in them than that.'”
In that sense, Brown believes Thomas’ viewpoint has more to do with misplaced sentimentalism than the legality of the program.
Brown also says that his experience as a student at Indiana University, which didn’t have an affirmative action program, was that he was tolerated but his views weren’t appreciated. He later transferred to Yale.
It is also important to remember that the job off affirmative action is to ensure diversity, not end poverty. So those people who point to the affluence of some affirmative action beneficiaries are missing the point since the program was never designed to alleviate poverty. The point of affirmative action is to undo the American arrangement which favors white men over all other groups. Without affirmative action, the system promotes less competent white men at the expense of everyone else.