Racial Transition in US Equality Cases

This article explores how the idea of racial “transition” shapes the United States Supreme Court’s racial equality cases. It examines major affirmative action, voting rights, and desegregation decisions in terms of their understanding of transition — including the racial past that the nation is transitioning from, the racial future that it should transition toward, and the form and trajectory that transition should take. The article demonstrates that a number of legal debates about race and racism are best understood as debates about racial transition. It further argues that the Supreme Court needs a more holistic and historically and socially situated account of transition if it is to facilitate a move away from racial wrongdoing.