In recent years American colleges and universities have become the locus of impassioned debates about race-conscious social policies, as conflicting theories clash over the ways to distribute the advantages of higher education in a fair and just manner. Just below the surface of these policy debates lies a complex tangle of ideologies, histories, grievances, and emotions that interfere with a rational analysis of the issues involved. As never before, the need for empirical research on the significance of race in American society seems essential to solving the manifest problems of this highly politicized and emotionally charged aspect of American higher education. The research evidence presented in this book has a direct relevance to those court cases that challenge race-conscious admission policies of colleges and universities. Though many questions still need to be addressed by future research, the empirical data collected to date makes it clear that affirmative action policies do work and are still very much needed in American higher education. This book also provides a framework for examining the evidence pertaining to issues of fairness, merit, and the benefits of diversity in an effort to assist courts and the public in organizing beliefs about race and opportunity.