In the aftermath of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, many colleges and universities were under external pressure to admit African-Americans for the first time, or increase their numbers. Many African-Americans of my generation were the beneficiaries of race-conscious decisions, and our numbers, unarguably, contributed to the emergence of a Black professional class in the succeeding decades.
On April 22, 2014, voting 6 to 2, the Supreme Court in Shuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action upheld the voters in the state of Michigan who banned affirmative action in university admissions. Although this case dealt with university admissions, the voters also prohibited the state from considering race in public hiring and state contracts. Similar bans are in effect in seven other states.
The justices in the majority, while affirming the right of the citizens of Michigan to ban affirmative action, also stated that: “The case is not about the constitutionality or the merits of race-conscious admissions policies in higher education. Here the principle that the consideration of race in admissions is permissible when certain conditions are met is not being challenged. Rather the question concerns whether, and in what manner, voters in the States may choose to prohibit the consideration of racial preferences.” (Diverse Issues in Higher Education)