Interview with Luke Harris
QUESTION 6
JACKIE SHEARER:

So the question is about your relationship to affirmative action.

LUKE HARRIS:

Ah, yea, I'm interested in affirmative action, really for two reasons. One grows out of my personal background. And, the other grows out of my experiences at Yale. In so far as my personal background is concerned, I'm deeply interested in affirmative action because, I'm a product of it. I mean, I was fortunate enough to be raised by a very loving great-aunt and great-uncle who were like a mother and father to me; and, they gave me everything that, ah, ah you could have expected and more. But we grew up on--my brother and I--we grew up on welfare in, ah, in southern New Jersey and, ah, additionally, I spent, ah, the first six or seven years of my education in a segregated, ah, elementary school in Merchantville, New Jersey. And, I went to junior high school and high school in, in Camden. Now, by the time I was in ninth grade, ah, I was getting signals from the guidance counselors that, ah, you know, college is not for you. Ah, you know, you're not the kind of guy that's ever going to learn how to do things like chemistry and calculus and physics, and you know, you know, at the time I had never heard of chemistry and calculus and physics, and, and so it was, it was a little disturbing. By the time I got to high school, you know, they had decided that I couldn't take a full college prep load and, ah, ah, I was taking a lot of what's called industrial arts classes--whatever the hell they are. Now, what, what happened for me, and the way things dove-tailed in a way that worked is that I grew up in the fifties and sixties, and I graduated, ah, from high school in 1968. And, it was the year, really, when affirmative action was becoming a national policy at, ah, colleges and universities across country.