As general background on the history of the nondiscrimination ideal, the best place to start is Andrew Kull's prize-winning The Color-Blind Constitution (Harvard Press). Kull details the rejection of the color-blind version of the 14th Amendment in favor of what was viewed at the time as the weaker and less radical version that was adopted. And he details the rejection of color-blindness, just a few years after a consensus was finally reached in 1964 that American law was to be color-blind. His last main chapter describes the shift away from color-blindness toward what Justice Brennan called "benign racial sorting." In the course of that chapter he describes the idea that the special contribution of American law to reducing discrimination might be to embrace nondiscrimination.
The idea that the best way to end discrimination is to stop discriminating was a common idea by at least the Reagan Administration. Here is Education Secretary Bill Bennett being interviewed in 1985 (source LEXIS/NEXIS), using language much like Stanley Mosk's from 1980:
What steps do you think should be taken to eradicate racial prejudice and discrimination? What steps should be taken, I guess, are the ones I laid out in my letter to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. That is, we should stop discriminating on the basis of race, sex, religion, and origin. Stop, stop, stop. That's where everybody wants to go. The best way to get there is to get there--that is, to stop. You do not eradicate an unfortunate legacy by perpetrating another unfortunate legacy. (Meet: William Bennett; the Secretary of Education; interview NEA Today June, 1985.)
Related Posts (on one page):
- More on the Origins of Justice Roberts's "Stop Discriminating" Language.--
- The Origin of "The Way to Stop Discrimination on the Basis of Race Is To Stop Discriminating on the Basis of Race":
- Roberts, Blackmun, and the Rhetoric of Affirmative Action Cases: