In 1961 President Kennedy issued Executive Order No. 10925 which began an era of Affirmative Action based legislation that set out to ensure that hiring and employment practices are free of racial bias, this went on to include schools and colleges. Today, there are many proponents and many opponents of Affirmative Action . Tomorrow one of those opponents will have their day in court. The Supreme Court of the United States will be hearing Fisher v. University of Texas and as Andrew Cohen says in The Atlantic:
No matter how hard good folks have worked to argue otherwise, no matter how many amicus briefs have been filed, I do not see five votes to sustain the university’s policy here. Instead, I see five strident votes to do away with that policy — and others around the country.
Plenty has been said about the advantages and disadvantages of Affirmative Action. But what do your regular everyday folks think? As you’ll see below, I’ve compiled quotes and comments from friends, acquaintances, and the mosh-pit that it the internet to provide an honest, albeit sometimes grim, look at why some folks support or don’t support Affirmative Action. I will be updating this list as I get submissions and find more comments.
In my opinion, if there was no race section on the application, court cases like this wouldn’t exist (on either side) because no one could claim unfair treatment.. It says UT said they wouldn’t have accepted her regardless and if there was no race section she would have to accept that and move on. Besides, a check mark in a box doesn’t necessarily tell a university anything about the person’s background. I think programs like Meyerhoff and CWIT who are funded for the purpose of helping underrepresented groups should be given more attention instead, and the focus should shift from race/minorities to under served communities such as rural areas and inner city. – Kate W.
I’ve always thought of affirmative action as a kind of “false start.” A racist/sexist entity taking in more minorities and those of opposite sex while limiting access to the more established groups solely to fulfill some arbitrary quota so as not to appear racist/sexist is still racist/sexist. You haven’t really done anything. You’ve changed the law in the hopes the culture would change with it. There’s also the question of at what point do we still need affirmative action and societal norms can take over? The only real reason we keep it around is because we haven’t thought of a better system and until we do we’re going to keep running into problems like this. The problem isn’t just limited to the schools. I know multiple people who have been trying to get a job as a police officer and been flatly told “we have enough white officers. – Sean L.
Affirmative Action at the collegiate level, actually makes everyone’s degree more valuable. In our burgeoning global culture, the places that hire are aware of the colleges and universities that are more or less homogeneous than their counterparts. It’s a very pat answer to say that AA is code for identifying someone’s socioeconomic class or a nod to general inequity, but that belies the systemic problem that AA tries to rectify. Historically and still currently, ethnic minorities are underrepresented at universities in comparison to the ethnic majority. This is the result of societal issues that we as a country are still trying to address. Ms. Fisher, is asserting that she didn’t get a fair shake. I would counter that based on the color of her skin and her ethnic background (as gauche as that may be) her experience is very different than one of an ethnic minority, regardless of income. The American Dream is one of upward mobility and this IS still denied to some based on their race. Ms. Fisher may feel that the deck was stacked against her when she applied, but some feel like the deck has always been stacked against them, their parents, and ancestors. We are less than 30 years away from the Jim Crow laws that were enacted to do the very opposite that AA tries to remedy. I agree that AA can be unfair, and at some point I would say yes enough progress has been made, but here is my enduring point of contention. [redacted] students and alumni, as many of reading this post are, pride ourselves on the diversity of our campus. That didn’t happen by accident. Furthermore, how many of us found ourselves challenged on our preconceived notions on what it means to be (blank) because of working with that person at college? In summation, AA is a multifaceted issue that has many parts that aren’t perfect, but to denigrate its value because you may not agree minimizes at least the attempt to level the playing field and devalues principles of a university (again I’m speaking to those from [redacted]) that I would hope we all hold dear. – James M.
As long as you continue to acknowledge race as a characteristic that defines and divides people, be it in an educational, professional, or scholastic manner, you will be plagued by these issues. Its just as Kate said, “If we took the checkboxes away what would happen?” I recognize that discrimination and racism are not totally extinct and that measures to ensure equal opportunity need to be taken, but our focus should be on economic opportunity based on family income, poor kids have a tough time growing up and getting those opportunities regardless of their color. Stop using race as a category, in the spirit of capitalism, “Let us be judged by our monies!” – Ben D.
It is a high possibility that Abigail Fisher was denied because she was part of the white demographic not because she is white.Texas’s population is 70.4% white, 37.6% Latino with African American, Asian, American Indian, etc. accounting for 16%. The university in my view is simply seeking to receive students which fall into that 16% to have a more well rounded student body… and to not look discriminatory and have a PR nightmare…oh wait. – Ivan S.
Honestly, Abigail probably souldve been selected had done exceptionally well in academics or some other field. I believe that the more average the person, the more likely they are to get denied based on race. HOWEVER, its as simple as this: the check boxes for race should be taken off every application…school and otherwise. – Lauren R.
Stop making it about race, start making it about socio-economic status. I think children born into low opportunity households should be given an extra chance or two somewhere down the line to fight disparity of wealth. -Wylie B.
There’s a few things that spring to mind immediately and it depends how you view affirmative action. 1.) Affirmative action can be viewed as both a means of delivering retribution to groups of people that were marginalized in the past OR 2.) Affirmative action is a means to ensure that typically underrepresented groups are represented fairly in a scholastic or corporate setting. As I understand it, claiming the former is policy suicide and I’m not sure how it can be defended on an ethical and/or juridical basis. However, claiming the latter requires an update of policy to include groups such as rural areas, inner city, and immigrants. Retaining affirmative action in it’s current form can only serve to perpetuate an increasingly classist society. – Aaron L.
The following comments were tagged as “affirmative action” on Tumblr. Please don’t let the blog names fool you, tumblr is an online community where people don’t usually attach their actual name to posts, their tumblr url appears instead.
White privilege is assuming that the only reason you were not accepted to a university was because of some type of unfairness, not because of your own lack of qualifications. Sub point: white privilege is also assuming you know how affirmative action works, and it works against you, because you didn’t feel the need to actually read any of the court cases delineating what legal affirmative action was/wasn’t. You just knew that anything that equalized the playing field for POCS automatically infringes on you rights. -lightspeedsound.tumblr.com
Little known fact about Allan Bakke, of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke: he was 33 when he applied to a 6-year medical school program and was repeatedly rejected for being “too old.” Thus, a case that should’ve been about ageism was instead “racialized.” In Ms. Fisher’s case, she “racialized” her mediocrity. What an incredible sense of entitlement. – No More Texas Governor
Abigail Fischer’s case is bankrolled by affiliates of the Koch brothers. Her father is close friends with those conservative loonies. Their *whole plan from the beginning* was to take this to the SCOTUS and get affirmative action/race based admission overturned. -Spooky Princess Kitten
The fact that she blamed her rejection on black students and affirmative action in general is racist in itself. Basically she is saying that all PoC at that university are a result of affirmative action as they could not have possibly gotten in without it and they are taking “her spot”. Just a disgusting amount of privilege oozing from this one. -Blckboi
Someone should tell her that most benefactors of affirmative action have been white women (such as herself), not people of colour. Also, it’s hilarious to me when people complain about affirmative action considering for decades, people of colour were denied from universities because of their race and that there are still disparities in education according to race since race and class intersect (many lower class citizens happen to be POC). Not only that, but no one complains about legacy admissions—legacy admissions that afford white students opportunities to get into universities because their great great white grandfather went to a university back in the day when POC couldn’t. Additionally, special admissions systems benefit white students the most. Affirmative action is there to level a playing field and that has not yet been accomplished because there are still systems in place that present huge obstacles for POC. This student is obviously blinded by her privilege and doesn’t realises that she’s blaming the wrong people. She’s pointing fingers at POC and only looking out for herself. I hope she loses and I hope that whoever’s responsible for the case serves her up some truth tea. - Pumpkin Melancholy
This is absolutely ridiculous. I’m not the kind of black person who runs around hating on all white people, because I’m half white too, and also because I don’t think more hate leads to anything positive. That said, I don’t think affirmative action can EVER go far enough. Black people were brought to this country as slaves and have experienced unbelievable racism and economic injustice for the past two hundred and fifty years after that. Really there is no amount of reparations that would be excessive. Maybe if black people were disproportionately favored IN ALL CASES for the next 25 GENERATIONS, following that, white Americans might have something to complain about. But until that happens, white girl, I’m sorry you didn’t get into the college you wanted to, that sucks- I personally did not get into U Chicago and that was a bad feeling for an hour-but please put your lawsuits away. - surrealistfishpdx
Objectively speaking, Asian Americans are negatively impacted by affirmative action policies in the college admissions process more so than white Americans. But you don’t see me bitching. Sure, when I was an immature, ignorant high school kid applying to college, I grumbled about “meritocracy” and whatnot in self-interest. But guess what? I grew the fuck up. I received more education and tried to see the world in a more nuanced way. I don’t bitch, because I believe affirmative action is equitable. With all things considered, it’s the right thing to do. – Excerpt from henryzhang (read full post here)
- Affirmative Action Is Over. Long Live Affirmative Action. – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Can We Ever Have Too Much Diversity in Our Classrooms?: Grutter, Parents Involved, Fisher and the Fight Over Race-Based Affirmative Action (jaypinho.com)
- Weighing Alternatives To Affirmative Action (npr.org)
- SCOTUS repeal of affirmative action, Voting Rights Act of 1965, may legalize racism (smd12364.newsvine.com)