Document Type



A panel discussion on "Race, Class, and the Contradictions of Affirmative Action" was held as a part of the Third Annual Conference on Critical Legal Studies on November 10, 1979. Professor Alan Freeman, of the University of Minnesota Law School, convened the panel by setting forth the questions to be discussed and critiquing existing theories that have been offered to address the topic. The questions set forth for the panel was whether racism, although a historically separate and identifiable form of oppression, can be approached and remedied in any substantial way without simultaneously confronting the class structure in general. Can remedial goals such as affirmative action programs for racial minorities do anything more than provide some improvement for a small number of middle-class people whose allegiance to the class structure is in the interest of the ruling class? More importantly, does the pursuit of programs like affirmative action, as separate projects, play into the hands of the ruling class by frustrating efforts to develop a more generalized class consciousness? Professors Derrick Bell and Henry McGee, Professors of Law from Harvard Law School and the UCLA School of Law, respectively, gave brief presentations before opening the discussion for audience participation.