Rogers Smith

Recent Articles

Race, Liberalism, Affirmative Action (III)

We continue the debate on the future of affirmative action in response to Paul Starr's "Civil Reconstruction: What to Do Without Affirmative Action," TAP , No.9. Winter 1992. D iscussion of the candidacies of Pat Buchanan and David Duke, even of the Los Angeles riots, have faded. But they should remain troubling. They are part of a broad, all-too-familiar pattern of resurgent bigotry in American public affairs. That pattern extends to some titularly on the left, such as anti-Jewish City College of New York professor Leonard Jeffries. But it is reinforced when liberals play it safe by distancing themselves from the issue of racial equality. To be sure, that stance is tempting. Recent expressions of bigotry may be mere vestiges of a prejudice-scarred past that merit only benign neglect. Perhaps the modern civil rights movement achieved too much for the U.S. ever to regress dangerously. But it is equally possible that such expressions are grim heralds of new growth in those hardy...