Interview with Toni Johnson-Chavis

Now again, when you're at medical school, did you perceive Bakke's challenge of affirmative action as a threat to affirmative action? What did you think was happening?


I certainly thought that Bakke's challenge to affirmative action programs was a threat. Ah, I thought that if he won that case that in fact it was going to stop affirmative action programs. I strongly felt that those programs were necessary, that they were deserved, that there were years of racism and other things that had operated in the United States post-slavery, not only for Blacks for other Third World people. Ah, and that the United States should do something to try to rectify that. My feeling of affirmative action was that we, we should not be taking D students as the media tries to project, who are unqualified, in order to do that. But certainly in the selection process that we should include humanistic type of values in that selection process for affirmative action. So, I felt very much threatened that if this man was successful that some of the inroads that we had had post-Martin Luther King, ah, we would, we would lose. And that certainly that there was a real need that was occurring at that time with more Black students and other students, Hispanic and Asian students being selected. And I had a real fear that if he won that we would lose out on those in later years.