Should Affirmative Action Be Colorblind?

Date: December 5, 2014

On Friday, December 5, at 10:00 a.m. ET, the Economic Policy Institute will host a debate between noted scholars on affirmative action in American higher education, featuring Georgetown University Law Professor Sheryll Cashin and Richard Rothstein, a research associate at EPI. They will be joined by American University Law Professor Lia Epperson, and Catharine Bond Hill, president of Vassar College.

In her 2014 book, Place, Not Race, Cashin argues that race-based affirmative action is neither desirable nor necessary, citing its impediment to coalition-building with whites and the importance for universities of recruiting deserving but economically disadvantaged students of all races and ethnicities who live in low-income neighborhoods or whose families have little wealth.

EPI research associate Richard Rothstein, in a critical review of Cashin’s book, argues that race-based policies remain necessary to address the unique exploitation of African Americans and to enroll middle-class black students who are most in need of affirmative action. Colorblind recruitment of disadvantaged students is desirable, he says, but not as a substitute for race-based policy.

Valerie Wilson, Director of EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy will moderate the discussion.

This event is open to the public, but we ask that you RSVP. 

This event will be webcast live. To view the webcast bookmark this page and return to it shortly before 10:00 am on December 5. The video will be archived on this page thereafter. No registration is required to view the webcast.

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