Interview with Luke Harris

Okay, now, can you wipe your brow. Keep rolling. Did you feel that you were any different from any of the other students at Yale by virtue of your being an affirmative action student?


Well, it was always clear to me that, ah, that, ah, that not only myself, but that the students of color--Black, Hispanic students, ah, the Native American students--they were just as good as anyone else. Ah, the problem, ah, for me, was the interpretation upon the participation of students of color in this environment that was, that was very disturbing. And, it was something that I hadn't, ah, expected to find. It was something that was very different from my experience at, ah, at St. Joe's. Ah, I mean, I had been a, ah, a student that had participated in affirmative action program at St. Joe's, as well; and, ah, without affirmative action, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to attend that college, either. But, once I was admitted to St. Joe's, no one ever gave me, or any of the other Black students and other students of color that were there, the impression that we somehow didn't belong. It wasn't until I got to Yale Law School that I ran into--for the first time--ah, this idea, which I've never learned to stomach, this idea of the best Black. And, the way that works, is that, the idea is that there, that even the best Black, even the so-called best Blacks, are not quite as good, as the so-called best Whites. And, ah, I began to wonder where these, you know, ideas were coming from and how they were connected to, ah, people's conceptions about affirmative action. And, why it was they seemed to collide with reality of what meaningful equality meant in the latter part of the twentieth century, ah, for me and for other people of color in college and universities throughout the country. And, it was really at that time that, ah, my intellectual interest perked with respect to a concern about questions of race and equality in contemporary America.