Interview with Robert Links

OK, let's go back though to the debate. I like the way that you framed it with affirmative action versus reverse discrimination. Give me your sense of how profound or how simple-minded, however you choose to express it, the way that most Americans got to hear about these issues back then.


I think the way most people heard about the Bakke case and the way most of the people who heard about it felt about it, was that the university's policy was racial discrimination, it was turned around, if you will, against the "majority" and that that was a reversal of discrimination against the "minority". And therefore people said, "Well it's discrimination in reverse, it's reverse discrimination." On the university's side, people felt that this was a "affirmative action program" and that concept is something that I think all of us, ah, in one form or another, endorse. And so people would say, "I'm for affirmative action." And one of the problems is that just like the people who would say, "I'm against reverse discrimination," it doesn't mean anything because to say you're for affirmative action doesn't meant anything unless you define what affirmative action is. And I think that, that people who tried to gain an understanding of the case through the editorial pages and the newspaper articles and what not I think ended up with simply a very superficial discussion of the deeper issues.