The last three Disney films that starred POC were the Emperor’s New Groove in 2000, Brother Bear in 2003 and Princess and the Frog in 2009.
What did they have in common?
My colleagues are of the view that we should leave race out of the picture entirely and let the voters sort it out. See ante, at 13 (plurality opinion) (“Racial division would be validated, not discouraged, were the Seattle formulation … to remain in force”); ante, at 9 (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment) (“ ‘[R]acial stereotyping [is] at odds with equal protection mandates’ ”). We have seen this reasoning before. See Parents Involved, 551 U. S., at 748 (“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race”). It is a sentiment out of touch with reality, one not required by our Constitution, and one that has properly been rejected as “not sufficient” to resolve cases of this nature. Id., at 788 (Kennedy, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment). While “[t]he enduring hope is that race should not matter[,] the reality is that too often it does.” Id., at 787. “[R]acial discrimination … [is] not ancient history.” Bartlett v. Strickland, 556 U. S. 1, 25 (2009) (plurality opinion).
Race matters. Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities’ being denied access to the political process. See Part I, supra; see also South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U. S. 301, 309 (1966) (describingracial discrimination in voting as “an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of our country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution”). And although we have made great strides, “voting discrimination still exists; no one doubts that.” Shelby County, 570 U. S., at __ (slip op., at 2).
Race also matters because of persistent racial inequality in society—inequality that cannot be ignored and that has produced stark socioeconomic disparities. See Gratz, 539 U. S., at 298–300 (Ginsburg, J., dissenting) (cataloging the many ways in which “the effects of centuries of law-sanctioned inequality remain painfully evident in our communities and schools,” in areas like employment, poverty, access to health care, housing, consumer transactions, and education); Adarand, 515 U. S., at 273 (Ginsburg, J., dissenting) (recognizing that the “lingering effects” of discrimination, “reflective of a system of racial caste only recently ended, are evident in our workplaces, markets, and neighborhoods”).
And race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”
In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination. This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society. It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter.