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U.C. Davis Law Review



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Cuba, affirmative action, class


The growing discord over the continuing use of race-conscious social justice programs in the United States has given rise to the consideration of replacing them with color-blind class-based affirmative action programs. Although there are a number of theoretical investigations into the proposal for class-based affirmative action, the discourse is short on practical assessments. This Article amplifies the class-based affirmative action debate by drawing lessons from Socialist Cuba's socioeconomic redistribution measures. Inasmuch as Socialist Cuba attempts to diminish racial disparities with the use of colorblind socioeconomic redistribution programs one can classify their strategy as a class-focused rather than a race-focused attack on racism. I use the term "class-based approaches" to racial justice broadly to encompass all color-blind social reforms that are designed in part to ameliorate the economic aspects of racial inequality. The existence of the Cuban redistribution programs has allowed me to explore the general question of whether racial justice is effectively addressed when the strategy for overcoming race problems discourages a focus on race as divisive.