In Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby, Stephen L. Carter, an Afro-American law professor at Yale University, has written a wide-ranging book on affirmative action policy. Like numerous other books on the subject, Carter covers the issues of its legitimacy as policy, white opposition, impact on black mobility, and contradictions faced by universities in administering affirmative action. Carter also offers a new area of discussion — namely, the evolving division among Afro-Americans regarding affirmative action, allocating six of eleven chapters to facets of this issue. Carter uses his own experiences to frame these discussions — a mode of discourse that offers considerable rhetorical facility. This outcome suits his essential purpose, to highlight the downside rather than the upside of affirmative action policy. But unlike such openly conservative critics of affirmative action as Nathan Glazer and Thomas Sowell, Carter arrives at a negative position after having first embraced affirmative action. Hence, his characterization of himself as "an affirmative action baby."


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