Watching the racial ferment on campuses nationwide, and listening to the Supreme Court consider the charged topic of affirmative action, exposes the gulf -- the chasm, really -- between the difficult reality of race relations on campus and the out-of-touch, aggrieved perspective of the conservative justices.
Like me, you may not be a fan of the current wave of college protests. Students have been outrageously uncivil; they have overreacted to perceived slights; they have discounted the importance of the open debate that is central to the academic enterprise.
At the same time, underlying this bad behavior is a sincere sense of hurt and alienation. Minority students too often feel like intruders on majority white campuses, unwelcome and disrespected. They have too few student peers and even fewer faculty role models.
Into this combustible environment strolls the Supreme Court, to weigh making matters worse. Last Wednesday, the justices heard oral argument in a case that challenges the affirmative-action program at the University of Texas -- and could end up tying the hands of colleges nationwide.