"He does a great service by detailing how affirmative action was downgraded into the less active and much less controversial notion of diversity, a word that has expanded its meaning over the years to include just about everybody at the expense of diluting the original aim of helping blacks overcome historical obstacles to opportunity. In the landmark Bakke case in 1978, Justice Lewis Powell decided the racial redress of affirmative action was overreach and said achieving 'diversity' was a more acceptable goal in terms of using race as a factor in college admissions.
"Enlarging diversity to include marginalized groups such as women and gays is fine in principle, but Kennedy's concern is that the real crisis of black marginalization has gotten lost in the transition. Diversity may make us feel good, but when it comes to achieving racial justice, it simply can't do the job."
In the Los Angeles Times, Erin Aubry Kaplan reviews Randall Kennedy's For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law.