Authors

Robert S. Chang

Abstract

In this essay, Professor Chang explores the interaction of race and family in the affirmative action debate. Although discrimination against women remains rampant in our society, and despite the fact that white women have been the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action, white women are being told that affirmative action hurts them because it hurts their husbands, brothers, and sons. Familial loyalty is being invoked to do the work of an explicit call for white racial solidarity. This strategy may be successful because as late as 1987, even with the increasing rate of interracial marriage, 99% of white Americans were married to other whites. As a result, the invocation of family disrupts gender solidarity between white women and women of color, and it mediates gender conflict between white women and white men. Professor Chang argues that we should resist this attempt to return to a former domestic order.