Affirmative Action, Bakke v. University of California at Davis (1978), Delusions of Grandeur, Fisher v. University of Texas (2015; 2012), Gratz v. Bollinger (2003), Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, Narcissism, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), Racism, Social Darwinism, Stereotype Threat, Supreme Court, Supreme Court decisions
I wrote this a bit more than three years ago, when the Supreme Court first heard the case of one Abigail Fisher against the University of Texas admissions policy in October 2012:
Abigail Fisher has joined Allan Bakke, Jennifer Gratz/Patrick Hamacher and Barbara Grutter as part of a list of Whites who have used race as an excuse because they faced a road block for maybe the only time in their lives. The idea that we should have race-neutral college and graduate school admissions policies in a country that’s far from race-neutral shows an enormous sense of unacknowledged entitlement and privilege.
Here’s why. Using myself as an example, I graduated Mount Vernon HS (NY) in 1987, 14th out of 545 students (the top 3% of my class), with a 3.83 GPA on a 4.0 scale, with an 1120 SAT (a 1220 on today’s SAT). I didn’t get into Yale, but was accepted at Columbia and the University of Pittsburgh. Money was an issue, as I ended up going to Pitt because they offered me an academic scholarship, while Columbia offered a private investigator into my father’s finances. Still, my grades would’ve easily knocked Fisher out of contention at UT-Austin, as well as Gratz and Hamacher.
I also think about the two decades I’ve spent teaching high school, college and graduate students. The most consistently obstinate students I’ve taught have been White students who thought they knew more than me. They didn’t get that context always matters when interpreting history, especially something like affirmative action. For those students, for Fisher, et al., and for the Supreme Court, entitlement matters more than context. Facts, circumstances be damned.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
I was wrong about one thing in my earlier post. I based my comparison of my SAT score from 1986 on revisions to the standardized test in the 1990s, not in the 2000s, when they added a third section. Based on that, my educated guess for a score in that period would’ve been between a 1850 and 2000 (between the 60th and 70th percentile).
Today, the Supreme Court heard from Fisher’s and the University of Texas’ lawyers — again, about the efficacy of using race as part of a larger formula for achieving demographic diversity in the state higher education system. During today’s oral arguments, the ever-brilliantly racist Justice Antonin Scalia pressed the University of Texas on why they needed to account for race (and apparently, for class as well) in their admissions plan at all, considering the academic issues many Black student face.
Scalia said, “it does not benefit African-Americans to — to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less — a slower-track school where they do well.” He added that “most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re — that they’re being pushed ahead in — in classes that are too — too fast for them.”
It is fairly obvious that Scalia and at least three other justices (including his intellectual puppet Justice Clarence Thomas) would do away with affirmative action sooner than Scalia and Thomas could suck down two one-gallon tubs of rocky road ice cream. But the veneer of racism, the assumption that Blacks are “too slow” for elite public universities, the Social Darwinist interpretation of higher education? Or assuming that Blacks who go to lesser known institutions, particularly HBCUs are getting a lesser and slower education as a result? Scalia doesn’t know his history, and doesn’t care to know the history of Blacks in higher education at all.
Given the direction the Supreme Court is leaning, it may take a burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement of the scope of the Civil Rights Movement of fifty years ago to reverse this court’s attempt at a twenty-first century version of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Let’s not forget, though. There are millions of Scalias and Thomases out there who firmly believe that African Americans — even those with excellent grades, high test scores, and lots of passion and intellectual drive — deserve nothing more than a jail cell, a janitor job, or a bullet to the brain.
But what makes their perspective worse is that Scalia, et. al, are cutting off their collective noses to spite the country’s face. It won’t be just high-achieving African American students losing out if the court curtails or renders race-based admissions policies unconstitutional. A decision like that will hurt millions of White students as well. Not just because segregated higher education could eliminate a diversity of ideas and thinking and will poison the wealth of knowledge and efforts toward a better American society through the benefits of the college experience. It will also mean that Whites like Abigail Fisher will no longer have an easy and vulnerable scapegoat for their educational failures. The Abigail Fishers will be experiencing their own form of stereotype threat. Oh, how will they hold on to their narcissism, their intellectual delusions of grandeur then?