I have been in a state of shock since the recent decision was passed down by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in which the consideration of race in admissions processes has been deemed unconstitutional, thus striking down affirmative action in admissions processes of higher education institutions in the US. Arguments for the abolishment of affirmative action in admissions processes for colleges and universities include claims of reverse racism and arguments that race should not be considered at all in college admission. Additionally, those against affirmative action demonstrate bias by asserting that the practice only benefits black students when the practice is meant to support students from any marginalized background, including women, indigenous persons, veterans, and others, and that white women actually benefit most from affirmative action. Finally, proponents of the elimination of affirmative action blatantly ignore the inequities in K-12 public education which create a gap in representation at the postsecondary level.
Diversity in higher education is valuable in that students who attend school in diverse environments are better prepared for their career endeavors after graduation because they have bias and assumptions challenged and they are exposed to different life experiences. Additionally, persons of marginalized backgrounds have the tendency to practice their profession in communities that represent their backgrounds, such as Black doctors working in Black communities or Hispanic lawyers working in Hispanic communities; however, barriers to admission into institutions that can prepare these persons for these careers can result in less availability of professionals in these communities.
It has already been proven that affirmative action processes do not significantly limit or discriminate against white applicants and that it would be mathematically impossible for the small number of applicants of marginalized backgrounds to displace a significant number of white applicants. Therefore, the premises for striking down affirmative action are not based upon facts, data, or logical reasoning, but instead reflect the bigotry that the phrase “color-blindness” attempts to mask. Until race is no longer a defining issue for American society, all of the systems and processes of this country that perpetuate discrimination and racism are abolished, and the gaps of generational inequities due to racism have been closed, there will be no such thing as color-blindness and to believe so is to discredit and invalidate the lived experiences of millions of marginalized people in this country.
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Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. V. President and Fellows of Harvard College, No. 20–1199. (U. S. Sup. Ct. 600, 2023)