To Fulfill These Rights

Political Struggle Over Affirmative Action and Open Admissions

Amaka Okechukwu

Columbia University Press

To Fulfill These Rights

Pub Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9780231183093

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£24.00

Pub Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9780231183086

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£70.00

Pub Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9780231544740

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99£24.00

To Fulfill These Rights

Political Struggle Over Affirmative Action and Open Admissions

Amaka Okechukwu

Columbia University Press

In 2014 and 2015, students at dozens of colleges and universities held protests demanding increased representation of black and brown students and calling for a campus climate that was less hostile to students of color. Their activism recalled an earlier era: in the 1960s and 1970s, widespread campus protest by black and brown students contributed to the development of affirmative action and open admissions policies. Yet in the decades since, affirmative action has become a magnet for conservative backlash and in many cases has been completely dismantled.

In To Fulfill These Rights, Amaka Okechukwu offers a historically informed sociological account of the struggles over affirmative action and open admissions in higher education. Through case studies of policy retrenchment at public universities, she documents the protracted—but not always successful—rollback of inclusive policies in the context of shifting race and class politics. Okechukwu explores how conservative political actors, liberal administrators and legislators, and radical students have defined, challenged, and transformed the racial logics of colorblindness and diversity through political struggle. She highlights the voices and actions of the students fighting policy shifts in on-the-ground accounts of mobilization and activism, alongside incisive scrutiny of conservative tactics and messaging. To Fulfill These Rights provides a new analysis of the politics of higher education, centering the changing understandings and practices of race and class in the United States. It is timely and important reading at a moment when a right-wing Department of Justice and Supreme Court threaten the end of affirmative action.
I learned something new and interesting on nearly every page. This is an excellent empirical engagement of affirmative action. Amaka Okechukwu’s updated racial formation theory is smart, compelling, and engaging. Ellen Berrey, author of The Enigma of Diversity: The Language of Race and the Limits of Racial Justice

About the Author

Amaka Okechukwu is an assistant professor of sociology at George Mason University.