Contending views on the issue of affirmative action face off in Beyond Black and White: Affirmative Action in America, the latest special from the prestigious Fred Friendly Seminars. The program premieres on March 23rd at 10pm on PBS (check local listings), Professor Charles Ogletree of Harvard Law School moderates a highly diverse panel of prominent guests as they search for both answers and commonality within this deeply complex, controversial and emotional topic.
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Using the Fred Friendly Seminars' trademark Socratic Dialogue format in which panelists role-play in hypothetical situations, Professor Ogletree guides the group through scenarios that demand real-world thought, understanding and answers.
The Hypothetical Scenario
It's the time of year when Big State University, the most prestigious state school in the state of Westrailia and one of the top 20 schools in the country, sends out its acceptance and rejection letters. As always, the school has tried to bring together a student body of diverse backgrounds, from different parts of the state, and roughly balanced between women and men. But of all the factors the school takes into consideration, one seems to have a special hold on the attention of the anxious high school seniors and their parents: race. And as the new freshmen enter the Big State campus, they find the parents of an unsuccessful applicant gathering signatures for an initiative that would eliminate all preferences based on race, ethnicity or sex in all state employment, education or contracting.
The scenario branches out, with the moderator and panelists examining other issues, including outreach and employment practices in corporations, and the experience of the United States Army.
Lieutenant General Julius W. Becton, Jr.
Former head of Washington, DC public schools
Executive Director, Chinese for Affirmative Action
Chairman, American Civil Rights Institute; Regent, University of California
Lawyer and author
Christopher Edley, Jr.
Senior Policy Advisor to President Clinton for the Race Initiative; Professor, Harvard Law School
Suzan Shown Harjo
President, Morning Star Institute; Unity Journalists of Color
President & General Counsel, Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)
Journalist and author; Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
Director of Communications, The White House
The Honorable Jon O. Newman
United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
The Honorable Frank D. Riggs
United States House of Representatives (R-CA)
Ruth J. Simmons, Ph.D.
President, Smith College
John R. Strangfeld
Chief Executive Officer, Prudential Global Asset Management
Black Princeton Alumni
President, National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise
For biographies of the panelists, and more information about the seminar, visit the Fred Friendly Seminars Web site.
The Television Race Initiative is sponsoring sneak preview screenings and community discussions at locations across the country. Find out more about how communities in our pilot cities are using these programs.
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