A few weeks ago, I began a column by writing that America's wealth stems from people who put their pocketbooks above their prejudices.

While our history is steeped in examples of people who exploited others because of gender or race, I believe that Americans' success and fortune lies in larger part on our ability to see those differences for the superficial things they are, work together and get richer together.

My view is rooted in the experiences of my Gen X career, when far more of America's economic growth was led by women and people of color than any time before.

Some people will call my thoughts too simplistic or just outright wrong. I could cite data to reinforce my beliefs, but today I'm more interested in pointing out that they require vigilance and testing. That's because the struggle between our pocketbooks and prejudices never ends.

We are approaching a potential turning point in one saga of that struggle. The U.S. Supreme Court this week is expected to rule on the survival of affirmative action in higher education.

Broadly, I'm not worried about the educational prospects for Black students and other people of color if the court ends or limits race-conscious admissions at U.S. colleges. The demographic makeup of the country has simply changed too much. Educational institutions and employers can't afford to discriminate in the way they could when affirmative action came to be in the 1960s.

Consider where the nation's workforce is today. With the ongoing retirements of baby boomers, who are predominantly white and male, growth is being carried by women and immigrants. Labor force participation of women ages 25-54, known in economist circles as prime working age, reached an all-time high last month of 77.6%.

But here's where the vigilance comes in. The worry about the affirmative action cases before the court is that ending race-conscious admissions will limit access for some students to the most selective universities. In turn, that could hurt access to the outcomes those schools tend to produce: faster entry to higher-paying jobs and the chance to join networks of elites.

That opens multiple avenues of debate, such as whether we (Americans generally as well as employers and their hiring algorithms) place too much value in people with degrees from elite schools.

But then, Roz Tsai, the vice president of talent, learning and organizational effectiveness at Thrivent Financial in Minneapolis, reminded me in a conversation a few weeks ago of the challenges that Asian Americans still face despite superior educational achievements.

"In general we're well represented in entry-level professional roles," she said. "And yet, as you progress to the more senior levels, the representation drops off very significantly."

Implicit bias is at work, Tsai added. The archetype of a charismatic, bold-speaking corporate leader tends to clash with the stereotype people apply to Asian Americans as reserved and considered in their thinking and speaking.

That is borne out in studies like one done by McKinsey that Tsai cited and that my colleague Laura Yuen also mentioned in a recent column about an Asian American executive at Medtronic. But Tsai also talked about the outright bias Asian Americans face.

I did a verbal double-take when she described to me how she, a resident of Minnesota for 30 years, was recently asked if she was a spy for China. She explained, "I mean it was tongue-in-cheek, but you don't know if it was tongue-in-cheek."

She then described being at an HR-related conference in Washington last year where a speaker directly said firms that hire Chinese engineers are hiring spies.

As we finished, Tsai said that she attributes her career success to professors, colleagues and managers who saw the best in her. "My entire journey is predicated on the amazing Minnesota spirit of generosity," she said. "I'm simply sharing with you the real, the real good and the real challenge."

This weekend, more than a half million people came to downtown Minneapolis for the annual Twin Cities Pride celebration as the LGBTQ community grappled anew with prejudice. Some states are restricting the rights of transgender people and, following the overturning of abortion rights last year, the Supreme Court may do the same with same-sex marriage.

"It's the old saying of 'You take two steps forward and one step back,'" Andi Otto, executive director of Twin Cities Pride, told me yesterday.

"With anti-LGBTQ legislation, Pride as an organization is becoming even more of a necessity," he said. "We need to make sure that every person who is part of our community gets the resources they need to live their most authentic life and feel safe and secure."

But the organization is also an economic power. For years, its festival has been the biggest public event in Minneapolis. The event may outgrow Loring Park, where it has been since its start in the 1970s.

"I don't know how many more people we can cram in this park," Otto said.