In Black America Podcast
5:01 pm
Sun November 10, 2013

Harvard Law's Randall Kennedy on Race, Affirmative Action and The Law

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Randall Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and author of "For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action and the Law."

Affirmative action is perhaps one of the most divisive policies in this country. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding Fisher vs. University of Texas , affirmative action is once again making headlines. 

Randall Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School
Randall Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

But what is affirmative action, and why is it fiercely championed by some and just as fiercely denounced by others? What are its benefits and cost to American society, and how does American race relations’ law play out against the backdrop of international development. 

According to Kennedy, the design and implementation of affirmative action is in accord with the federal constitution.

With clear reasoning, Kennedy accounts for the slipperiness of the term “affirmative action” as it has been appropriated by ideologues of every stripe; delves into the complex and surprising legal history of the policy; coolly analyzes key arguments pro and con advanced by the left and right, including the so-called color-blind, race-neutral challenge; critiques the impact of Supreme Court decisions on higher education; and ponders the future of affirmative action.