Is Affirmative Action On The Way Out?

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Yesterday, the US Supreme Court decided that Michigan could do away with considering race in college admissions. There are arguments to be had on either side and I think that as African Americans we need to be careful not to react without knowing all the facts. That said, what alarmed me the most was the drastically different opinions between Justices Sotomayor and Roberts. It concludes with a quote from a Michigan attorney which brings it all together.

“This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable,” Sotomayor wrote. “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.”

She added: “As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.”

Roberts responded with a short, sharp statement of his own.

“To disagree with the dissent’s views on the costs and benefits of racial preferences is not to ‘wish away, rather than confront’ racial inequality,” Roberts wrote.

“People can disagree in good faith on this issue, but it similarly does more harm than good to question the openness and candor of those on either side of the debate.”

People can glean what they want from those two opposite sides of the fence but I think this last quote brought it together and shows the glaring flaw in our Supreme Court.

Justices are not appointed by presidents “unless they have strong opinions,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (R). “I think there are strong passions on each side of this argument.”

I’m interested to hear all of your thoughts on this conversation as it is pressing to the community in which this blog operates. Is there any room for a conversation or is this a case of when bigots are allowed to preside over issues? You can check out the full article on Sotomayor’s dissent over at the WashPost.

Dr. J

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  • The One and Only TTC

    Acting colorblind is a social convention in America that simply doesn’t work. We all see race and acknowledge it internally, but are loathe to do so out loud, especially in mixed company. It’s “easier” to ignore race (ex. think of how you describe a person of another race to your coworker, or friend; usually there are differences in what you might say), especially when in the majority, and concede that the individuality of a person’s character or ethics makes them stand out or not, when that is obviously not so. Hence why this verdict. IMHO. These are certainly troubling times…

  • Animate

    At times I think it is and then other times I don’t think that it is. Many people are aware of the treatment that is done toward minorities with the things that Affirmative Action touches on. For all of the resentment that it may breed because of the false idea that if you work hard, you can and will be successful; it is still needed in the grand scheme.

    This is coming from a borderline opponent of AA.

  • http://www.greaterunderstanding.net/ Anthony Brian Logan

    People feeling entitled to fair treatment and a successful life is not a natural phenomenon on planet earth regardless of race. there is no need for affirmative action and never has been.

    • Beauty In Truth

      To say that “AF was never needed” I believe is not well thought out. I have concern with ideologies that somehow front to serve as a magical springboard catalyst into “post-NO MORE discrimination;” be it racial, sexual, gender, age or other based.

      After our country’s horrid ride off of the jim crow and subsequent civil rights era, AF served as a somewhat force fed way to get people of color and women into the doors. It was a necessary evil that forced white people to at least look at us for a time, even if never to respect us.
      Even with AF we have seen until this day poorly funded inner city schools, and are all aware of the dire straights of these communities.
      However, I feel so deeply that there is a cultural awakening (especially thanks to the expedient arrival of social media, and instant video uploading) that our people are seeing how we are continually being idiomatically, and physically slapped in the face: shot, profiled, discriminated, the usual slaughter list and circumstances: Renisha, Jordan Davis, Trayvon, Oscar, our rights taken away: Marissa A.

      This is a pivotal time in our culture and I believe there is a HUGE paradigm shift taking place. We are either going to continue working on our best “token” poses and maneuvers away from each other, or towards a greater common goal of self-sufficiency. So while I disagree that we NEVER needed it, this ruffling up of dynamics sure speaks to my inner need to be self sufficient-And immediately! Burn that corporate latter and start from scratch. The only buttocks I’ll have to kiss are my own :)

      • http://www.greaterunderstanding.net/ Anthony Brian Logan

        We used to be self sufficient before civil rights and during Jim Crow. Remember, Madame CJ Walker was the first female millionaire. Not black female, female period. Selling black hair care products to black people. We owned businesses. Not small businesses. We owned the Negro Leagues. We owned thousands of acres of lands. We owned bus lines. Taxi Lines. Then the idea of integration came about. Then the idea of welfare came about. That broke up the black family. With the family broken up, in the 80′s crack came about. Now you have more laws that are looming which will further bury us like raising the minimum wage and offering amnesty to illegal aliens.

        We need to wake up and smell the coffee. The very things we are fighting for will be what further buries us. We don’t need white people to do anything for us. That’s how we wound up on the slave ships in the first place. Fighting battles with each other in Africa then selling the loser to middle eastern Muslims first then to Europeans.

        • Beauty In Truth

          True, however this was not the Majority. What you had there was an elite few doing very great things. With proper education being at the forefront with some of our best pioneering doctors, progressives, and business owners. However our Black elite has branched off into it’s own world where many of this group hold their class over everything else pretending as if color never affected/s them. Resulting in pandering and delusion when these people get into positions to greatly bring about change, yet chose to cater to “other” interests instead. Debra Lee’s leadership is a perfect example.

          I agree with you that we need to rely on “us.” But to blame all of our issues on welfare and crack and that we were helpless in it all? No that is a weak argument. That is saying that Black people are weak and incapable of intelligently getting out of dire situations. That when crack came we were too stupid to realize it’s effects and what it could do. That we were too scared to stand up and fight? Drugs are still around and even easier to get. I don’t desire them and I never will. We have choices, and when we let nonsense and poor treatment take place in our communities it is only our fault. Crack isn’t making Black men and women avoid marriage (or any at all) until a very later age, and embracing hook-up culture. It’s all choices. The government waves a lot of crap in my face on a DAILY basis, but I chose not to accept it.

        • http://www.greaterunderstanding.net/ Anthony Brian Logan

          The few elite you speak of were able to provide employment for other black people that were not so elite. Even those who were not elite or employed by the elites were still skilled workers. There was a point in time where every black male in a neighborhood knew something about working on cars. Now most black men don’t know how to change oil let alone a tire.

          Why? It’s our fault, you’re correct. We fought for integration and this is the result.

          Our current situation is a combination of many different factors. First of all, we weren’t free in Africa. We were fighting each other in Africa. Then we’re brought here and our minds are altered but not completely changed during slavery. The hardship we went through brought us closer together.

          Then as good times started to roll, some of us got away from what made us survive all we had been through. Fighting to become part of white culture in a quest for more money. Wound up being the worst decision possible that led to a series of other events such as civil rights & crack that have us where we are today.

        • Beauty In Truth

          “Wound up being the worst decision possible that led to a series of other events such as civil rights & crack that have us where we are today.”

          Just saying that something is the cause and effect doesn’t support it as true Mr. Logan. I just don’t see a valid argument made for your belief that we just fell into the hands of crack and welfare. To say so would go against everything that you feel Blacks “should” be able to do. O_o

  • Tonyoardee

    We need Affirmative Action for this country because we will never be colorblind, this country was founded on racism and end on racism

  • Gray

    Knowing this topic would be in the Supreme Court was troubling for me. While ideally the sentiments may seem honorable, humanity certainly isn’t. This doesn’t surprise me at all. We’re too comfortable with mediocrity. A lot of minorities ignore or either get confused with most politics and legal decisions. Sadly enough laws and actions are in place for quite sometime before the masses understand its presence. We have to become more respectful and appreciative of what little values we have. Preservation is key…

  • h.h.h.

    i agree with ABL that life isn’t fair. but i don’t think that AA is trying to go for ‘equality’, but rather ‘equity’, at least in respect to education. there are many students in inner city public schooling that have the intellectual chops to go toe to toe with students from high name prep schools, but haven’t been challenged in the same way…so i think that AA should be a tool to at least give those kids, an opportunity at a top education at XYZ school, if they so choose.

    that being said, i believe that attempting to bring equality into secondary education should be made on an economical basis, moreso than a race-based or gender-based basis…for the main reason being to get more of a consensus/acceptance among the majority.

    • http://www.greaterunderstanding.net/ Anthony Brian Logan

      if their academics are on point, why would they need affirmative action to get a high quality higher education?

      • h.h.h.

        this is just a hunch, but if you’re in a substandard educational school district, with slim chances of getting out, the academics might not be on point, but alternative testing/research “may” show the same level of intellectual chops as students in more resource-laden school districts…

        if this makes sense. i’m not a policy wonk or anything.

        • http://www.greaterunderstanding.net/ Anthony Brian Logan

          I understand what you mean. That traditional testing that is currently used like ACT/SAT may not reveal their true intelligence. But what does that have to do with affirmative action? Are you saying that people with low test scores should be admitted to more elite schools based on their race?

        • h.h.h.

          no, i’m saying that universities and colleges should not only be available to WASPs and the rich. it should be available to the intelligent and the willing, no matter their race, gender, or social background.

        • http://www.greaterunderstanding.net/ Anthony Brian Logan

          they are. have you seen the story about the kid with 150 scholarship offers?

        • h.h.h.

          yes. and the kid with acceptance letters to all 8 ivies.

          if that is evidence that AA is unnecessary, then i’ll have to disagree. peace

  • ThoughtCriminal

    AA is necessary. Need to deal with the reality of the situation. Racism is still here. Blacks are not in the majority of positions of power in this country. So no matter how hard you work you are always subject to decisions made by others based on the color of your skin. Doing triple the work someone else has to do to get the same position. AA at least evens the playing field some.

  • JOhn Crawford

    Just like people tend to have revisionist history of the Southern Strategy and how the bulk of racists switched political parties, people of ALL ethnicites and skin tones seem to be (willfully) Ignorant about AA.
    Affirmative Action was created to ExpandOpportunities for Minorities and Women because Non-Minorities were not doing so; Even Now Discrimintio by Sex, Age, Gender, Religion ,Sexual Orientation, etc still occurs, but certain loopholes have been carved out in the shadows to allow it.
    Equal and Quality Education is one of the most hardest to be “integrated” since Economics and Culture persists on State and Federal levels (see Louisiand’s Creationism Cirriculum and the Drama over Common Core); Heck, the Rooney Rule is the NFL’s AA and even THEY are a bit behind with the “opportunities” of Minorities and Women being able to become GMs, Head Coaches, and/or Executives.
    Rather than USE AA the way it was intended, CEOs and People of Authority- obviously Not a Minority or a Woman- have been using it as a Quota System, to which people have looked at and precieve Affirmative Action to be in this era. It is Unfortunate and Appauling the Double Speak and Sleight of Hand opponents and the SCOTUS have ruined what was one of the Cornerstones of the Civil Rights Movement’s Victories. The CRA and VRA have been gutted as well and the results are devastating

    • Beauty In Truth

      I have to disagree. As scary and hard as it is for a People who have been kowtowing and bending in every direction to make it in this world. It really is time for us to see other options. People of color with PhDs and networks with other people of color need to use it. And don’t say “oh you know Black people.” Because you willing to deal with the nonsense of others and backstabbing of those who will forever see you as half a person (if that) makes just as much sense.

      It’s psychologically deteriorating to think that all this jumping and pretending will someday get these “people” to look at you as a full equal. (Which is why you will always be the token Black friend, employee, project manager). The efforts at this point are in vain. Unless your dream is to slave for Trump for life and help his Republican and other similar corporate agendas-I don’t see the point.

      This concept is as difficult as getting a Black woman to transition back to her natural hair. After the emotional buildup and conformity mask is removed, there is freedom, and beauty and growth in all that you always knew you could be! We can ALL do better if we strategize and follow through.