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What was Affirmative Action and Why Does it Matter?

February 29 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

The Third Rail Series aims to address some of the most thorny and contentious social, political, and cultural issues related to race and ethnicity in contemporary society.—-What was Affirmative Action and Why Does it Matter?  Robin D. G. Kelley Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History, UCLA   The Supreme Court’s overturning of affirmative action, the passage of anti-DEI legislation, and the criminalization of liberal multicultural education have caused panic in higher education. We have attributed this shift to “whitelash” and the neofascist turn in American politics, but it is not new. The assault on affirmative action began at its inception, both as policy and as an idea rooted in color-blind racism and stigmatizing myths of undeserved privilege. To paraphrase W. E. B. Du Bois, the Right murdered affirmative action so completely we do not recognize its corpse. Kelley’s “autopsy” will revisit the history of affirmative action, the long war on racial justice in higher education, and offer reflections on the struggle ahead. —Robin D. G. Kelley is Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History, at UCLA. His books include, Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression; Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination; Yo’ Mama’s DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America; Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original; and Our History Has Always Been Contraband: In Defense of Black Studies, co-edited with Colin Kaepernick and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. His essays have appeared in dozens of publications, including the Boston Review, for which he also serves as Contributing Editor. He is also a member of Scholars for Social Justice.This event is online: https://brown.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwodeqprzIuHt2DSEQagEtSEK9hJqts0tbN#/registration