Inequality for black families now is still being affected by housing discrimination in the 20th century

As a college president, I regularly see how differences in wealth and income affect access and student success. At Grinnell, we are fortunate enough to be able to be both need-blind in our admissions policies and commit to meet 100 percent of demonstrated student need. But we do not and cannot assess the availability of resources outside of the immediate family, and much of the impact of segregation exists still with grandparents and throughout the extended families of today's students.

As William Faulkner famously wrote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Jim Crow laws may no longer be with us, but the effects of their brutal discrimination still linger. And while our leaders can’t change the past, they have a moral obligation to know the past, and not only acknowledge its legacy, but also deal with it.  The systematic transgenerational impact of segregation and its effect on accumulation of wealth and the likely impact on so many facets of the lives of current families, including access to higher education, demonstrate the need to continue race-based affirmative action.

Continue reading "The long tail of Jim Crow."