Before yesterday’s decision on the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin race case — in which the person suing, Abigail Fisher, is a white woman — University of Minnesota law professor Michele Goodwin mentioned in the Wisconsin Law Review the role of white women in affirmative action:
“(Ever since) Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, individuals suing universities for discrimination against them in the academic admissions process have been white women: Abigail Fisher (Fisher v. University of Texas); Barbara Grutter (Grutter v. Bollinger); Jennifer Gratz (Gratz v. Bollinger); and Cheryl Hopwood (Hopwood v. Texas). That white women led the charge against affirmative action in these cases is worthy of note for a few reasons.
First, white women benefit significantly from state and federal affirmative action programs (in higher education, small business loans, and government contracts) and in the private sector with hiring and recent efforts to diversify boards of Fortune 500 companies.
Second, prior to revamped admissions practices in direct response to civil rights laws, women had much less possibility of success in suing a university to admit them. Discrimination in education and employment defined the norms for three-quarters of the last century. In Barbara Grutter’s case, with the exact same academic record, commentators are doubtful that she would have been admitted to the University of Michigan prior to 1975—as she was also an “older” student when she applied. Civil-rights laws changed that; now protections exist to shield “older” students from discrimination.
Third, in each of these landmark affirmative action cases, white men were admitted with lower test scores than the women suing the institutions for racial discrimination, raising the question as to why race and not gender? Or, why attack race in admissions rather than legacy policies?”
You can read the original article above.