This paper is an attempt to come to grips with some of the important questions raised as a result of the Supreme Court's decision in Richmond v. Croson. The essay attempts to specify where the Court now stands on affirmative action, especially with regards to race. We do this by examining the voting records and the opinions of the membership of the Court from the time of Bakke to Richmond v. Croson. The final section of the essay probes some of the broader political implications of the case. We show how the decision about the Richmond set-aside ordinance is connected to an attempt to redefine the meaning of civil rights and to reinterpret the meaning of the civil rights movement by conservatives. We then demonstrate the practical effects that such a redefinition has on the policy options and strategies available to black elected leadership in American cities.