Interview with Luke Harris
QUESTION 3
JACKIE SHEARER:

Now, in February of 1977 the Supreme Court decided to hear the Bakke case. What was significance, what was its symbolic significance to you, as a Black graduate student, at the time.

LUKE HARRIS:

Well, it, it was, it was--

JACKIE SHEARER:

I'm sorry can you give me the Bakke case.

LUKE HARRIS:

Oh yeah. The Bakke case was of tremendous significance, ah, for all students, ah, in the United States, at that time. Ah, in particular, ah, students of color. Ah, for the first time the issue of affirmative action was going to be heard by the Supreme Court, and actually decided upon. I mean, the issue had come before the court once before, in the DeFunis case and been mooted. So, there was a, ah, a lot of vocal attention focused upon the issue of what was called, at the time, and what is still called in, in the mass media, the issue of affir--of, of, ah, reverse discrimination. And, the idea that reverse discrimination is inextricably linked with the, ah, inherent nature of what affirmative action programs are supposed to be all about. And, so that issue caused a, a great amount of concern amongst, ah, the entire student body at Yale--particularly students of color. And, ah, I have to say, that, ah, ah, part of the, ah, the array of concerns that, that, that developed as a function of the, the, the whole reverse discrimination debate was that, ah, the issue affected--in some ways--that could be considered psychologically damaging the, the feelings that even some Black students, in particular, and some other students of color felt about, ah, their participation in the environment at Yale. And, so, all of these issues were crystallized, ah, with the courts focusing upon deciding the Bakke case.