The “Gutting” of Grutter: White Racial Innocence and Post-racialism in the Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas Austin Oral Arguments

Ikena Acholonu


Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (2013) is the continuation of the Supreme Court’s negotiation of the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions practices in educational settings. In this article, I undertake a Critical Race discourse analysis of the Fisher case oral arguments to examine how the Supreme Court constructs discourses on race and affirmative action. I argue that the Fisher oral arguments use a “white racial innocence” discourse that constructs whiteness and white people as unfair victims of race-conscious policies.  The white racial innocence discourse corresponds with the Court’s emerging use of post-racialism. This analysis looks at post-racialism as a context for pedagogy as discourses around race established by the Court can translate into higher education. The Fisher case impacts the pedagogical context for higher education, with wider implications for students of color, especially if post-racialism is adopted by college campuses.

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