Does Racial Diversity Promote Cultural Diversity?: The Missing Question in Fisher v. University of Texas
Lewis & Clark Law Review
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
In Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court declined to revisit the constitutionality of race-based admissions policies in higher education. The Court instead remanded the case to the lower court to re-evaluate whether the University’s use of race as an admissions factor is necessary to achieve the benefits of student-body diversity. The Court’s opinion does, however, reveal an important change in its views about the effect of racial diversity on a student body. The Court no longer acknowledges that racial diversity tends to promote cultural diversity and, indeed, appears to reject any claim that race is associated with culture.
This Essay highlights and critiques the Court’s resistance to an association between race and culture, with a focus on black people and Black culture. Part I describes the Court’s shift from previously embracing a race-culture association in the context of higher education to its present resistance to such an association. Part II explains and substantiates the association between black people and Black culture, and suggests why such an association seems to be resisted by some observers, including by some black scholars. Part III returns to the legal question of race in higher education admissions, arguing that the Court’s failure to acknowledge the relationship between race and culture undermines its ability to recognize the value of racially diverse student bodies and the need of universities to use race to assemble them.
Kim Forde-Mazrui, Does Racial Diversity Promote Cultural Diversity?: The Missing Question in Fisher v. University of Texas, 17 Lewis & Clark Law Review 987-1017 (2013).