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.”"