Media Tip Sheet: Research based, practice ready evidence must inform the public debate on affirmative action

May 31, 2022

Adam Harris of The Atlantic wrote recently, “following the Supreme Court’s leak of a draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade, many Court-watchers and pundits have questioned what is next. The Court may soon declare the use of race in college admissions—affirmative action—illegal. The question at hand Dobbs, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard raises an issue that has been the target of conservative legal scholars for decades, and they will now be decided by a right-wing Court with seemingly little commitment to its own precedents.”

If you are looking for an expert to speak specifically on this issue, please consider Dr. Dwayne Kwaysee Wright.

Dr. Wright is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration and GSEHD Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives at the George Washington University (GW). His research and social activism seek to advance educational opportunity and equity for all students, particularly those historically oppressed and marginalized in American society.

Dr. Wright’s research is located within three broad theoretical frameworks: Critical Race Theory, Sociocultural Theory and Critical Pedagogy. His areas of empirical research interest include access, diversity, and equity policies for underserved populations in higher education; the use and influence of social science research in/on law; undergraduate and professional Multicultural Greek Life; and critical race theory & critical pedagogy in post-secondary education. His legal research interest focuses primarily on education law, First Amendment jurisprudence and American equal protection theory.

Regarding Affirmative Action Dr. Wright provided the following:”

 “As a policy and practice that attempts to address persistent racial inequities in education, race-based affirmative action in higher education (i.e., the consideration of race as a factor in admissions) has been a politically polarizing and academically controversial issue. Next to abortion, it may be one of the most divisive issues in America today and that is saying a lot. Americans from all walks of life occupy differing perspectives when it comes to the issue of when, how and if race should be used to decide anything. Those inhabiting a color-blind perspective tend to believe that race should never matter and it is never necessary to increase racial equity; while those who espouse a more race-neutral perspective tend to note that the consideration of race is not necessary if other characteristics can be used to produce as much, if not more, diversity; and those, like myself, who occupy the color-consciousness perspective often argue that the use of race is necessary if we are to address racial inequity. Regardless of the perspective one takes, it is important to recognize that most of us have the same goals, even if we don’t embrace the same route to get there. That is, we want our children to attend good schools. Better schools than we did, if possible. And we don’t want their outcomes to be dictated on the color of their skin or the zip code that they happened to be born in. That is the hill we need to climb as we evolve as a nation and that is why research-based, practice-ready evidence that can inform this important public debate is so crucial.” 

If you are looking for context on this matter or would like to speak with Dr. Wright, please contact GW Media Relations at [email protected] or 202-994-6460.