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A central pillar of the Supreme Court’s educational affirmative-action jurisprudence is that the pedagogical benefits of being educated with students from diverse backgrounds are sufficiently “compelling” to justify some degree of race-conscious selection in university admissions.

This essay argues that the blanket permission to advance educational diversity, defensible or not, should not be extended to employment. The purpose of the workplace is not pedagogical. Rather, employees are hired and paid to do a job, deliver a service, produce a product, and complete specified tasks efficiently and effectively. Whether race-conscious practices for the purpose of creating a more diverse workforce will enhance the functioning and economic viability of a particular organization cannot be assumed. Such claims must be carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis by considering the costs as well as the benefits of deviating from race-blind methods.


Civil rights, Title VII, constitutional law, disparate-impact doctrine, labor & employment, discrimination, structural racism, workplace diversification, rightful position, remediation, equity, varied demographic profiles, race-based preferences

Publication Title

University of Chicago Law Review Online

Publication Citation

2020 U. Chi. L. Rev. Online 94 (Oct. 30, 2020)