Recently, the Trump administration directed the Justice Department’s civil rights division to investigate affirmative action policies that discriminate against White applicants. (The Justice Department is also looking into complaints by Asian Americans.)
But this partisan shift of priorities should be expected. Under Democratic administrations the DOJ’s civil rights division directs its attention to systemic discrimination against minorities and Republican administrations’ attempt to do right by their constituencies by investigating claims of “reverse discrimination” against Whites.
The flip flop of department direction and staffing has been going on for decades.
But affirmative action supporters were dismayed by President Trump’s actions because just last year in Fisher v. University of Texas, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the university’s race-conscious admissions program. (Abagail Noel Fisher claimed the school discriminated against her because she was White.) Affirmative action supporters viewed the Supreme Court’s ruling as a landmark decision that secured “race as a factor” in college admissions for another generation.
But the phrase “for another generation” five decades after affirmative action was created can no longer be overlooked. The phrase “for another generation” is a time frame. It’s also a reminder that the policy was a temporary course of action for a targeted generation.