The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. And so it is, in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth and in power.... But in view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved.
Justice John Marshall Harlan, dissenting in Plessy v Ferguson, 163 US 537 (1896)