What is Edward Blum trying to do? The ACLU claims he is seeking nothing less than “to kill affirmative action in higher education” and calls his lawsuit against Harvard University, which argues that Harvard’s admissions practices discriminate against Asian-Americans in favor of less well qualified Caucasians and African-Americans, “[a] cynical attempt…to pit people of color against one another.” Blum says simply that he is suing because, “your race and your ethnicity should not be something used to help you or harm you in your life’s endeavors.” Whether or not Blum prevails—his suit is now pending in federal district court—he already has succeeded in forcing Harvard to make public hundreds of pages of previously private documents describing its admissions practices and criteria.
Blum is not a lawyer. He is an activist and legal strategist who, since the 1990s, has played an instrumental role in bringing before the Supreme Court six cases bearing variously on race, voting rights, and racial gerrymandering. Of the six, the Court has ruled fully or partially in his favor in four.
Join us on April 3 as Edward Blum discusses the lawsuit against Harvard and the implications it may have for race relations and affirmative action in American life.