Teaching About Affirmative Action: Challenges from a Freshmen Seminar

  • Jennifer L. PierceEmail author


This chapter addresses the challenges I faced in teaching a freshmen seminar on the history of affirmative action. One of the goals of the class is to highlight the role the media plays in creating myths about affirmative action, such as the notion that the policy is a form of “reverse discrimination.” After providing the history of the policy and important legal decisions such as the Bakke case, the seminar focuses on print news media representations of the debate surrounding affirmative action. One of the challenges I faced is that most students assume that newspaper accounts are “objective.” To address this challenge, I rely on sociological work on the media to illustrate how such accounts can be biased and then teach students strategies for reading the media critically through a variety of in-class assignments.


Affirmative Action Racial Discrimination White Student News Story Reverse Discrimination 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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