Bench Memos

Reviews of Randall Kennedy’s For Discrimination

This past weekend Stuart Taylor had an interesting review in the Wall Street Journal of Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy’s new book For Discrimination (which I haven’t read). The review begins:

The case for racial preferences in higher education has long been made using sophistry designed to hide the heavy social and moral costs of affirmative action. In “For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law,” Randall Kennedy makes that case with rare intellectual honesty and fair-mindedness. And while it won’t persuade opponents of the policy, the book has the salutary effect of clarifying the terms of the debate.

Gerald Early, a professor of modern letters at Washington University, offered his own favorable review in the Washington Post. I am sorry to see that Early’s review includes, in passing, his ugly and outrageous assertion of a “common conservative belief that blacks are inherently dysfunctional.”


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