Educational Opportunity & Democracy
In feudal societies, education is the special preserve of the privileged. In democracies, it is considered a universal right and a ticket to success. What happens to democratic ideals when some students are dealt winning hands based not on the cards, but on other factors, like race, class and gender? Discussions of these issues are politically charged.
Lani Guinier was an award-winning scholar and expert on race, gender, representation and voting rights law. She served as legal counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In 1993 she was nominated by President Clinton to be Assistant Attorney General. After an orchestrated right-wing campaign to label her as a “quota queen,” Clinton withdrew the nomination. She was the author of The Tyranny of the Meritocracy. Lani Guinier was a tenured professor at Harvard Law School, the first Black woman to hold such a position. She died in 2022.