Copyright (c) 2007 University of Michigan Law School
Michigan Journal of Race & Law
ESSAY: WITHOUT COLOR OF LAW: THE LOSING RACE AGAINST COLORBLINDNESS IN MICHIGAN
12 Mich. J. Race & L. 465
Khaled Ali Beydoun*
INTRODUCTION: AN UNEVEN RACE TOWARD JUSTICE
During a presentation at Wayne State University in Detroit, a young African American student asked me, "Why did they get an Arab to do your job, does affirmative action even effect Arab Americans? Couldn't they find a black lawyer? After all, it is a Black issue." The young student's question reflected a common misconception, the same Manichean myth that helped to end affirmative action in California and Washington State, and ultimately Michigan. Affirmative action is considered by many as an exclusively Black/White issue. It was only my first week working as the Affirmative Action Coordinator for the ACLU of Michigan & the African American Policy Forum ("AAPF"), 2 yet this student's question foretold of the myriad personal and campaign-related challenges that lay ahead.
Roughly one-year after embarking on the struggle to safeguard affirmative action in Michigan, I find myself reflecting upon the campaign. Piecing together the scattered personal experiences with the notable events that transpired during the campaign was no easy task, particularly in light of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative's ("MCRI") ultimate victory; which mandated the end of affirmative action in Michigan. As disappointing as the outcome was, writing about it is an extremely cathartic exercise. No redeeming observation could be had to eliminate defeat nor postpone the aftermath that lay ahead, but Michigan's loss of affirmative action will fail to eliminate the passion, unity and strides made by the committed collective that took on former University of California-Regent and ...
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