Racism or prejudice based solely on race had, for along time, been the rule rather than the exception. In the early 1900s, the segregation and inequality had even been sanctioned by the state, making colored people feel very inferior to their white counterparts (Cozzens, 1995).
The judiciary of the United States, through its several landmark decisions, succeeded in eradicating social inequalities and racial discrimination. Among these landmark decisions are Brown v. Board of Education, the Board of Regents v. Bakke, and Loving v. Virginia.Brown v.
Board of Education was decided in 1954, Loving v. Virginia was decided in 1967, while Board of Regents v. Bakke was decided in 1978.
Brown v. Board of Education is famous for having overturned the precedent laid down in an earlier case entitled Plessy v. Ferguson, which espoused the separate but equal doctrine, showing the state’s imperative on maintaining the dividing line between white and black people. This case ruled that the fact of separation of these groups of people based solely on race, when all other factors are equal, is inherently unequal (Cozzens, 1995). Thus, this case removed the imprimatur of the state on discrimination.The Loving v. Virginia case, on the other hand, dealt with the issue of racial discrimination as applied to the issue of marriage.
The Supreme Court of the United States has struck down the validity of the Virginia antimiscegenation statutes, which penalized interracial marriages, or the marriage between a “white person” and a person other than a “white person.” This is an express recognition by the judiciary that such statutes violate the rule on equal protection of the laws.Finally, Board of Regents v. Bakke dealt with the issue of the validity of “affirmative action” in admission programs of universities, which policy results in “reverse discrimination.” The United States Supreme Court held that racial quotas should not be enforced, and that minority status should only be used as a factor, but not as the determinative one in achieving balance in society.