|Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2014-04-25 07:16Z by Steven|
Cable News Network (CNN)
Martha S. Jones, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies
University of Michigan
(CNN) — I didn’t expect to find the specter of the mixed-race person making an appearance in Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision that upheld Michigan’s ban on affirmative action.
But there it was.
In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the plurality, cast doubt upon the court’s capacity to deliberate over race cases — and mixed-raced people were said to be the culprits.
Kennedy wrote that “not all individuals of the same race think alike.” Fair enough. But then he went on to suggest that mixed-race people confound the court’s capacity to “define individuals according to race.”
He continued (PDF), “In a society in which those lines are becoming more blurred, the attempt to define race-based categories also raises serious questions of its own.”
When we blur the lines, as mixed-race people like me are said to do, are we really undermining the court’s capacity to determine questions about the equal protection of the laws?
Kennedy’s view feels familiar: There is nothing new about regarding mixed-race people as a problem in the United States.
We can trace this idea to the earliest lawmaking in British colonial America. The first laws to regulate race were those that prohibited sex and marriage across the color line…
Read the entire opinion piece here.