Winners and Losers

Before the 1960’s, colleges and universities were segregated and those who met the university guidelines were admitted and those who did not, were not.  There were winners and losers.

The era of civil rights ushered in desegregation and outlawed Jim Crow. It did not create an equal playing field between races.  Some students ended up in Historic Black Colleges and others maintained the status quo in smaller schools populated majority white.

Affirmative Action came along and became a way to support diversity in schools so that Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor were able to attend elite schools. Detractors said that Affirmative Action was a quota system that unfairly locked better qualified applicants out of schools that they had a right to attend.  Race-based quotas were struck down in 1978.

The Supreme Court  decided cases where reverse discrimination was the named issue including the famous 1978 Bakke case where the court denied a specific number of slots alloted for the purpose of creating diversity.  The court did say that there is a “compelling interest” in diverse university classes.  

Many people feel that there is no need to make up for earllier racial inequities, that we have achieved full equity in admissions, pay and access to resources.  I disagree.  We have not achieved equity, moreover we have created new inequities and prejudices including new constituent groups.  Notwithstanding, people continue to try to disenbowel Affirmative Action.  There are some who have benefitted from Affirmative Action who continue to try to eliminate it.

As it has been eliminated from some campuses and areas of access, what has been observed?  A fundamental return to former patterns of admissions, hiring, and contracting. Minimal access for populations previously discriminated against.  These are the perpetual losers.

Enter Abigail Fisher, applicant for admission to the University of Texas.  Attorneys for the University of Texas argued in court that Abigail Fisher’s grades and test scores would not be sufficient to allow her entrance to the University of Texas under ANY circumstances.  She is supported in her bid to gain admission by Edward Blum, founder of the nonprofit: Project on Fair Representation. The Project is also bankrolling the legal fees and associated costs for her case. 

Ms. Fisher’s legal team flatly did not mention that her denial was to allow an African-American student entry.  Because that was not the case.  She was actually behind 6 nonwhite students and 42 white students.  She is not University of Texas material, and she needs,  much like the many nonwhite students before her, to accept it.  


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