Last month’s dissent, in Schuette v. BAMN, was a mix of legal analysis, historical overview and policy arguments. It looked closely at the governing precedents, reminded readers of the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow, decried recent “discriminatory changes to voting procedures” and reproduced graphs on declining enrollment rates for black and Hispanic students at public universities in states that have banned race-conscious admissions. But what stood out was a fairly brief reflection about what it was like to grow up Puerto Rican in New York City.
“Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, ‘No, where are you really from?’ regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country,” she wrote. “Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home.”