Bakke Case : Politics of Inequality
- Hardback | 278 pages
- 137.16 x 210.82 x 33.02mm | 476.27g
- 01 Nov 1979
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P
- United States
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The several recent books about the much-touted Bakke case have diligently turned over most of the legal and constitutional stones. Dreyfuss, a journalist, and Lawrence, a lawyer and law professor, abandon all pretentions to "objectivity" and argue in favor of legal action to combat racial discrimination. Their case against Bakke, they believe, is stronger than the one made by the University of California. (The 1954 Brown litigation, they point out, marshaled the legal resources of minority groups, while the broad anti-Bakke forces were excluded from the legal process itself.) They refer to public opinion polls to show that whites and non-whites today view the existence of discrimination differently; that while whites think that racism has been dealt with, non-whites still see it as pervasive. This difference in perception is important insofar as it demonstrates the difference in the experience of being black or Hispanic in America - and this, they contend, not mere skin color, justifies affirmative action programs: in the case of medical schools, it is the existential background that makes it important to train black doctors to practice in black neighborhoods. Questioning admissions procedures too, they amass impressive evidence to render the "capability" argument based on standardized testing moot - including the excellent records achieved by specially-admitted, low-scoring minority students at UC-Davis, Bakke's target. But they also emphasize that both blacks and whites are "victims" of a system that produces too few doctors and creates high-pitched competition for scanty openings. And they fear that the nation has become complacent about the exclusion of whole groups from positions of advantage. A powerful argument that transcends strict legality. (Kirkus Reviews)