In yesterday’s Supreme Court 7 to 1 non-decision regarding Affirmative Action at the University of Texas, the court basically decided that the University could do whatever it wants . . . as long as there is racial diversity on campus. So, basically, UT can NOT do whatever UT wants, such as setting an academic standard for admission into the university, other things must be considered, things apparently more important than academic standards; things such as the color or ethnicity of the student. I guess that kind of blind ignorance can be expected from a court filled with people who seem to be more concerned about being politically correct and “fair”, than they are about the reason for their being: making things Constitutional, which does not necessarily mean “fair.”
Rather than making an unpopular decision, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court.
Ask anyone who has not led a life of privilege and they will tell you, life is not fair. To achieve a position anywhere above the basic subsistence level, you must “work your butt off” and make the most of your opportunities; and in this 21st Century there are opportunities for every United States citizen (at least those that are left after accommodating the millions of illegal immigrants).
Affirmative Action, while useful in the past to give educational opportunities to those who do not have the educational background to pass an academic standards test, has never been “fair.” It was never intended to be fair. It was intended to be discriminatory against white students who CAN meet the academic standards test. Imagine that! Racial discrimination has been sanctioned (and ordered by) the Supreme Court of the United States, based on some kind of decades old “guilt trip.”
So what has been the result of that “guilt trip”?
A positive result is that some minority students have benefited. Many, who had not previously displayed exceptional academic abilities have been given the opportunity to earn a college degree. If we assume that grades were not affected by affirmative action, there have certainly been some successes. Successes NOT due to affirmative action but due to the ability of those students to work hard at learning and understanding complex concepts and the ability of their educators to present those concepts. There have certainly also been some failures, again these were not due to affirmative action but either due to students inability to grasp the material they were presented with or the inability of some individual students to ignore the distractions of college life.
To be fair, students of all races have to pay a sometimes very high tuition; necessitating finding a job, which may shift a students focus away from study time.
The negative effect of Affirmative Action has been to deny acceptance to many excellent students, based solely on their race, the opportunity of attending the college or university of their choice.
An article in yesterday’s “LA Times, Nation Now” section titled “Texas students have strong opinions on affirmative action ruling” shares two of those opinions from black students.
A block, 21 y/o female student at UT Austin, Delanecia Holley, feels that Affirmative Action is not working and that the University is not trying hard enough. She gives the example of being the only black female in her business class and is also “quoted” (without quotation marks) as saying that she had ‘a recent run-in with a white professor who implied she and other black students hadn’t earned their place at the university.’
That attitude, by that unnamed professor, if he truly said that, IS completely the fault of Affirmative Action. It’s a natural reaction to the reverse discrimination that was created by Affirmative Action.
The LA Times article also mentions that Ms. Holley is the president of Texas Gospel Fellowship, a black student Bible study group with about 100 members. (I can understand her interest in the Bible, but why would a student so interested in racial diversity, choose to lead a presumably black-only bible study group?)
(Maybe white Christians have also become a minority group.)
The Times also interviewed a 35 y/o black male student, Eric Hall, who is studying Constitutional Law at UT Austin. Hall feels that Affirmative Action is “redundant and claims that it undermines “his legitimacy on campus.”
Unknowingly, Ms. Delanecia Holley provided some substantial proof of Mr. Hall’s claim by quoting her professor as saying that he feels that ‘black students haven’t earned their place at the university.’
Mr. Hall, who leads the Young Conservatives of Texas chapter at UT Dallas, told the Times that he feels that Affirmative Action is ‘just constitutionally wrong’ but he apparently feels that it is working, he described UT Austin as “one of the most diverse campuses” he’s seen.
Hall also stated that Affirmative Action “can kind of have a stigma and make you feel like you didn’t work as hard as your white counterparts.”
Whatever side of the argument you are on, it’s clear that Affirmative Action IS discrimination but it has had some successes. The thought occurs to me that, since there have been numerous successes at UT for students who initially didn’t get a good enough score on pre-admission exams, but were given a chance; the standards might be a bit too rigid and/or colleges might need to reexamine their criteria. Certainly more students of all races would benefit by a redesign of the tests so it reflects the abilities of the Affirmative Action success stories; and one-on-one interviews, on campus, by experienced educators with every test taker certainly wouldn’t hurt.