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Copyright (c) 1998 University of Michigan Law School
Michigan Journal of Race & Law


Spring, 1998

3 Mich. J. Race & L. 395


Joyce A. Hughes *


In this Article, the author critiques the use of "reverse discrimination" claims by White plaintiffs to challenge the hiring of Blacks in institutions of higher education. The author argues that "reverse discrimination" is a myth since no such claim is possible when one White candidate is selected over another; assumptions of inferiority are implicit where such a claim is made when a Black candiate is selected over a White candidate. In other words, allowing such a claim, even if ultimately unsuccessful, implies a presumption of superiority on the part of the White candidate. For this reason, the author argues that it is improper to assume that "reverse discrimination" occurs any time a Black candidate is chosen over a White candidate. If both are equally qualified, no such claim exists. The term "reverse discrimination" is not neutral in tone and therefore should not be treated as if it is neutral in application. The author concludes that institutions of higher education must not allow fears of unfounded "reverse discrimination" claims to prevent them from hiring, promoting, and granting tenure to Black faculty.


[T]he view of affirmative action as reverse discrimination that destroys the careers of white ... professors is not supported by the evidence ... There is an ever-widening gap between the reality of continuing racism and the myth of reverse discrimination. 1

This Article focuses on suits by White faculty members against predominantly White institutions 2 of ...
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