Interview with Luke Harris
QUESTION 14
JACKIE SHEARER:

I want to try and personalize things a bit. Do the rights that you enjoy as a citizen come to you as an individual or as a member of a particular group?

LUKE HARRIS:

I think, I think really in the context of American history that that's really a very false distinction. I mean obviously my rights come to me as a function of, of being an individual. But what does it mean to be an individual of color or Black in this, in this society apart from one's racial identity. The two are inextricably intertwined. And my individuality, to a certain extent, has been determined by who it is, ah, or what it is to be a person of color in the latter part of 20th century America. And in fact, it is precisely this reality that admissions committees around the country were responding to. And that's why they decided that, one of the additional factors that they were going to have to begin to consider when it came to admitting students, was their racial background. You know this was not a decision that was made in a vacuum. It was a decision that was made with respect to a particular understanding of the nature of American history with respect to Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, some Asian Americans and Blacks. And all these things taken together are a part of why Affirmative Action is important. But what Affirmative Action is really about is trying to expand our conception of what equal protection means in the latter part of the 20th century. Ah--Can I stop there a second.