Law careers are notorious for the importance of social and cultural “fits” required for advancement. Along with law firms, many businesses have apparently made diversity a lower priority since the recession. Though the economy has bounced back to some extent, the emphasis on diversity in the workforce has been relegated to secondary importance. This erosion of the percentage of minorities happens in senior/executive jobs as well as entry-level positions.
Despite the obvious progress represented by Obama's presidency, affirmative action aims to tackle not just overt racism, but nearly inevitable "clustering" of social groups that can happen along racial lines. Since these social groups and connections are important in career success, especially at the executive level, it amounts to race-based discrimination even without any ill intent. Additionally, some suggest that a "diversity fatigue" has crept in because of the persistently high emphasis placed on diversity in the past.
A Supreme Court case to be decided in early June will decide the continuation of affirmative action at the University of Texas. At the state level, various states have eliminated affirmative-action requirements in employment and education admissions processes. It is likely that more states will do so in the near future.
There are prominent minorities heading powerful professional groups, committees and corporations. However, their presence is not, by itself, an indication that all is well with regard to hiring decisions.
Read more at The New York Times