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On behalf of the African American Policy Forum ("AAPF"), I am pleased to participate in this symposium as a co-sponsor and contributor. The AAPF, who together with Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and the Women's Roundtable constitute the Women's Media Initiative, believes that events such as these are critical in efforts to map strategies for intervening in public debates surrounding affirmative action and a host of related issues such as welfare reform, racial profiling, the prison industrial complex, and the concentration of wealth, just to name a few. As one of many organizations that have taken up the defense of affirmative action, our particular focus is on challenging the way affirmative action is framed in the media. For example, Luke Harris critiqued the almost routine labeling of affirmative action policies as "preferences" while Janine Jackson analyzed the manner in which media coverage of affirmative action remains disconnected from ongoing patterns of discrimination and exclusion. Both of these tendencies function to undermine the most powerful defenses of affirmative action, those that recognize affirmative action as a set of policies that function to equalize opportunity in the face of ongoing patterns of exclusion. Incorporating the critiques such as those set forth by Luke Harris and Janine Jackson are essential elements to any strategy aimed at shifting the debate and moving forward. Since the charge on this panel is to consider where we go from here, I want to pick up on my colleagues' earlier contributions and think out loud about where we stand in this debate and what we might do to strengthen our position in it.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Law | Law and Race