High Court Affirmative Action Case Today

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
High Court Affirmative Action Case Today
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Tue, 04-01-2003 - 8:32am
Today the Supreme Court is going to deal with the U of Michigan's affirmative action admissions policies. Any thoughts?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 3:00pm
I posted this on the "In the News" board.

I have been listening to audio of the Supreme Court arguments today, it is fascinating.

Diversity must be a goal of the best schools. Those who are fighting the affirmative action rules that give preference to race in admission have no problem with preferences for family wealth that help some others get into school. If all preferences that aren't exactly focused on academics are not withdrawn, it is unfair to target the preferences for race. The reasons for race preference are to overcome years, centuries of racial discrimination. What is the reason for preferences based on wealth, absolutely nothing to do with the student or his/her merit, only to do with the good fortune of being born into or friends of good families.

I hear people talking about other ways to close the gap of opportunity for minorities as opposed to whites. Those are fine whenever they are put into place and are working, until then affirmative action must stay in place.

I laugh when I hear people say, well when will it all end. No one was concerned about that when for centuries African Americans were denied opportunities in this country, but now we have had affirmative action regulations for about 35 years and everyone needs to know when will it end. To be honest I think patience is in line for whites in this matter.

Cassandra

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 04-01-2003 - 3:49pm
The trouble lies in the automatic preference given race in Michigans "point system" evaluation process where minority students are given 20 points on a 150 point scale merely for being minorities. This penalizes a non-minority student with the exact same credentials and qualifications for not being of a specific race. This student is being discriminated against for reasons beyond that students control, which is the crux of this issue.

Avatar for lmanney
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 1:29pm
I think a more fundamental question to ask is, are schools (workplaces, society in general) BETTER if they are diverse? If the answer is yes (an I really don't know how one could quanitatively measure that, anyway) then race based preferences are necessary. If the answer is no, we don't need to go to school with peoples of diverse backgrounds to make us better people/students, then preferences are un-necessary.

Leah

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 1:36pm
Ah, but even if a certain effect is desirable, should the constitution framework be altered in order to achieve it? The question here is methodology and what cost such methods might have that might make it disproportionate to its' benefit. Matters that find their way to the Supreme Court are of such a nature. Not every solution to a problem should reflect constitutional modification. There are such things as worse solutions to bad problems.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 2:52pm
I wonder if that is such a bad thing (heresy, I know)

I have be the victim of racism so many times in my life I can't count them. Understand what I am saying is that someone has done something or withheld something from me for no other reason than that I am African American. It has sensitized me to racism such that I have a position that affords me the responsiblity of hiring people, writing evaluations and terminating people among other things; and, I am very careful about treating people fairly, because I know how frustrating, how debilitating it is to be treated some way and reason or logic couldn't change the mind of my tormentor because they don't see me as equal to them. Could it be that if more whites learned how it really feels to be rejected for no other reason than your race that they might become more sensitive?

The truth is however, the white students who don't make it into U of M when qualified minorities do don't have exactly the same argument. It is not only minority preference points that get them, it is under-represented county preference points, older student preference points, legacy student preference points and others that keep them out. Do you not see that how racist it is to choose race as the one preference point to challenge? How will the university suffer if those whose parents (or friends of their parents) are rejected over an equally qualified white student with no legacy status; how will the university suffer if Benton County students are not given preference and equally deserving students from Oakland County get in instead? These are serious questions, ones that deserve answer. Why is it that race bothers everyone while the others seem perfectly acceptable - it is another form of racism, I think.

Cassandra

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Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 3:04pm
I think you will find that those of us who were not even considered a whole person at writing and ratification of the Constitution are much more likely to see it as growing and developing document. I believe you are right the Supreme Court is exactly the place for this argument because it should be determined if the law, as reflected in the "living" Constitution finds that diversity is of such importance that we should protect its use in society.

We have had AA regulations for about 35 years, we have had racial discrimination, disproportionately against African Americans for centuries, before we decide that we have done enough to address this pesky problem of racism let's look at that fact.

Affirmative Action does not close the door on white Americans, it give room in the doorway for non-whites. If that keeps whites from getting the whole of the pie, that is okay, the problem is a mentallity that says you are due the whole pie in the first place. How would white America have faired had the legislatinos decided that the redress for centuries of discrimination is not allowing whites access to jobs, schools, lending, etc. that we were routinely excluded from. That is real balancing. That wouldn't have been right and it wasn't what we did, what legislatures did was say for those who have had no access we will assure certain access for a few to hopefully allow them to bring along their brethern. I think this has worked well. Blacks are becoming entrepeneurs, architects, heads of major corporations, and other successes that even in my early lifetime were considered unattainable. If we continue to have opportunities to enter the system in significant numbers Affirmative Action will be an unnecessary relic. But 35 years versus centureies, I think most would agree, it hasn't been given a fair shot as yet.

Cassandra

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 3:37pm
You wrote:

**Do you not see that how racist it is to choose race as the one preference point to challenge?**

And I see your point exactly, there ARE numerous other preference points, so it could be argued that the suit being heard is based on race. But the test might not be that race is being cited at all, but why race differs from the other preference points, which I understand is the basis of the argument and why the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.

Great post Cassandra, I think you make a great argument. This is a case that I have to say I really don't know what the right answer is, probably because I don't understand the question completely.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 1:35pm
Just a note from someone in graduating from college in three weeks. I need to get this off my chest. After reading a Washington Post Op-Ed I am mad, mad, mad! The article said " Jennifer was kept out of U of M because she was white, and that is unjust"

First, and foremost we will never know what combination of attributes this woman had when she applied to law school it's never even been discussed! All we know is she had good grades and a high LSAT. Well, newsflash! EVERYONE that applies to U Of M law school has good grades and high LSAT scores. Think about it. People who apply to Harvard are exceptional otherwise they wouldn't bother. This is the case at virtually every elite academic institution in the United States, at the basic ( numbers game) level candidates are virtually the same. They all performed well in their environment, and did relatively well on their tests. So what these schools do is start looking for things that make them unique, and things that will make the school an interesting and dynamic place. yes i'm talking preferences: legacy, athlete, tuba player, South Dakotan, first generation college student, Apalachian farmer's daughter, etc. Affirmative action opponents point to race in these programs because they are convinced that Blacks and Latinos are academically inferior and a 2 point LSAT score proves merit beyond a shadow of a doubt. When in truth someone who worked full time, grew up in a poor neighboorhood, has been discriminated against, and still managed to pull down a 3.3, will bring a strong work ethic, a greater depth of experience, as well as intelligence to a law school than say a rich caucasian kid who could afford to spend every moment in his room studying and probably could afford test prep classes to boot!

Furthermore, Universities are in the business of preparing students for the real world. The real world is a diverse place, and if interaction with people different from you does not happen you are not going to be prepared for your career. (This is why I believe there were so many friend of the court briefs supporting U of M from huge corporations, and the military)

The affirmative action opponents would have you believe that a Black person with decent grades can pretty much go to school wherever they want, at the expense of hardworking more intelligent white people. As a Black woman , graduating from Vanderbilt I can assure you this is not true. I am attending a top 20 university. I had excellent credentials. Staight A's, prestigious high school, AP classes, community service, leadership positions and I still got REJECTED from 6 of the 12 schools I applied to including Northwestern, Wellesley, and Yale. I didn't cry that a Native American somewhere in North America got preference over me and I was robbed, I accepted that only so many people can go to Yale. And Yale wants all different kind of people. I still ended up at a great school, as most people with good credentials do regardless of race.

Which is why I just don't buy this whole AA is stealing from whites positions in organizations. Wall Street isn't teeming with Blacks, and women, and Latinos. Elite colleges are still overwhelmingly white, upperclass bastions. The truth is more work has to be done, and denying race as a factor means we deny the importance of the issue in working towards a more equal society.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 9:06am
First of all, congratulations in advance and best wishes for continued success.

I don't think the issue is depriving white students of an opportunity, it's about the constitutional ramifications of elevating rights or for that matter, diminishing rights based upon race. All of the arguments boiling around affirmative action are important, and the goals of AA are vital to the just and effective development of society. The question is whether this particular instrument is appropriate.

I am curious and looking forward to how the court responds.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 5:46pm
The arguments were so cogent, the logic unassailable. That was a terrific post. Whatever university you are graduating from has done an excellent job with you!:-)

Cassandra

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