In this symposium essay in honor of critical race theory stalwart Mari Matsuda, we discuss two of her essays on affirmative action, "Affirmative Action and Legal Knowledge: Planting Seeds in Plowed-Up Ground" and "Who is Excellent?" We draw on the insights of these essays, one written almost twenty-five years ago and the other over a decade ago, to reflect on currently prevailing justifications for affirmative action, which revolve entirely around debates about diversity. We contrast the production of racial diversity with the more robust concept of affirmative action that Matsuda advocated. We argue that the modern diversity rationale lies at some distance from her arguments, but that we have good reason to reorient affirmative action to keep her original position in view, even as it continues to move forward. 




G. Mitu Gulati & Patrick S. Shin, Cultivating Inclusion, 112 Michigan Law Review First Impressions, 117–123 (2014).