By Amy Feng’15
Equality debates rage on even after the Supreme Court ruled to support Michigan’s ban on affirmative action on April 22. These issues of racial preference are deeply rooted in our country’s history. A major victory in the battle (not the war) to end segregation in schools was Brown vs. The Board of Education in 1954. Not only was the decision unanimous, but it overturned the ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson.
In a 6-2 decision, the court upheld the citizens of Michigan’s right to ban affirmative action in college admission decisions for state colleges and universities in the case of the case of Schuette vs. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.
The subject at hand, Affirmative action, is a policy of favoring people who tend to be discriminated against. This can take place not only in schools, but also in the job market. In terms of its use in colleges, schools allow minorities easier access in their schools.
Advocates of affirmative action like Shanta Driver, head of By Any Means of Necessary: The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action (BAMN), argued the necessity of the policy to counter racism and stereotyping in schools.
However, supporters have failed to see that these racial preferences are discriminating against the majority, which leads to reverse discrimination. According to the United States Demographics Profile 2013, whites make up 79.96 percent of the American population. Blacks are the second largest ethnicity with 12.85 percent.
“I’m a supporter of affirmative action in the original way it was used in 1968,” said Stuart Rothstein, law teacher. “It should have been stopped a long time ago. There is no need for it.”
Mr. Rothstein dislikes that affirmative action is not based on a quota system anymore, meaning there is no limits. In 1968, it was used to make up for past mistakes and wrongdoings, but in this society it no longer has a place.
As for the stereotyping issue, people must prove themselves by rising above this, not rely on policies that simply demean them. African Americans and many other minority groups deserve our utmost respect. They do not need to be given a handicap in college. This would be a slap in the face to those who have worked hard for their grades. Colleges should decide student acceptance based on the qualities that a student can control and not on those out of their hands.
“I know personally if I didn’t get accepted into my dream school because they accepted someone not as qualified as I was, I would be heartbroken,” said Emily Henning’15. “But at the same time, I do think there is still discrimination against some people and something needs to be done about it. I’m just not sure if affirmative action is the right method.”
The United States has come a long way since the Civil War in 1861. Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights defenders have fought for a “color-blind” country. Those who truly want to end racism must end the decisions based on race altogether. If the subject keeps resurfacing, it will never end and the issue will amplify. The topic will never be completely erased, but gradually it will become a minor issue.
Justice Anthony Kennedy said the court did not rule based on whether race-based admissions policies themselves were unconstitutional, but the ruling allowed states to decide for themselves through voting.
This is a major setback in eliminating affirmative action as the court has decide not to rule on terminating affirmative action in the whole country.
Robert Kaercher who works for Wagner College admission said, “It is kind of a sad decision because our ultimate goal is to diversify schools.”
His school has never needed to use to affirmative action because the school’s population is already diverse even without interference. Diversity is a key point for affirmative action sympathizers and something colleges love to promote. However, schools will become diverse if the government directly tackles the lack of education for minority groups.
In 2007, 25.6 percent of black male and 15.3 percent of black female public school students between kindergarten and 12th grade had failed at least one grade.
“The supreme court should focus more on the difference income. Income is a much better marker of how successful is than race and improving K-12 education for the minority,” said Henning ‘15. “If we had equal education we would have no need for affirmative action.”
This case has merely settled matters in one state. Eight states including Arizona, California and Florida have already barred affirmative action in college admissions. Enemies of racial preference are planning referendums or allowing a vote to decide the fate in Missouri, Ohio and Utah.
The squabble over the admissibility is not over. The Supreme Court has to clearly paint affirmative action as an obsolete policy and adjust its focus to combating the lack education assistance for the students in the minority.