fa7c15c0 97a8 4e8d a76c 6a4cac0cdb41 20221031 USAT Gruber Affirmative Action Supreme Court00015.MP4.07 30 27 12.Still001
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A conservative justice on the Supreme Court asserted after the overturning of Roe v. Wade that other rights were safe, including LGBTQIA rights, birth control, and interracial marriage. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has long had a bee in his racial bonnet, started his quest in 2013 by eliminating section five of the Voting Rights Act, and now his fondest wish is on the chopping block—Affirmative Action. Conservative simplicity is dangerous to progress. Before the drug epidemic—made its way to the suburbs, conservative ideology was ‘just say no.’ Blacks were told for years to pull themselves up by their nonexistent bootstraps. Justice Roberts’ theory on the three-hundred-year head start of whites over minorities in education goes like this, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

There are 102 HBCUs in the United States, and their existence is not accidental. I am old enough to remember running the 400 (yards) in school. The competition required a staggered start. For anyone who has never watched an Olympic, collegiate, or high school race, the farther one is outside the inner ring of the track; you get to start a little ahead to equal the playing field. Minorities were forced to line up outside of society for years and told to be better than their counterparts, run twice as fast, and eventually you will catch up. Of course, that logic is rife with failures, only overcome with fairness.

Is Affirmative Action doomed to be swallowed up by the denial of fact?

In 1963, the-then governor of Alabama [George Wallace] stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama, blocking the admission of James Alexander Hood and the school’s first black graduate Vivian Juanita Malone(Jones). Despite a court order and proclamation from the President of the United States, hand delivered by Deputy US Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, Wallace’s response was, “As governor and chief magistrate of the state of Alabama, I deem it to be my solemn obligation and duty to stand before you representing the rights and sovereignty of this state and its people… seeking to preserve and  maintain the peace and dignity of this state and the individual freedoms of the citizens thereof,  do hereby denounce and forbid this illegal and unwarranted action by the central government.” Obviously, Mr. Wallace did not consider the black inhabitants of Alabama, citizens or people.

You cannot legislate morality.

There is some truth in the idiom that you cannot legislate morality, which is why affirmative action is still necessary. No one decries that legacy students of white grandparents or wealthy donors enter school on affirmative privilege. Conservatives are working hard to deny the facts by banning books and history. Pretending that all universities have crossed the equity threshold is as foolish as ten people running the 1500 meters from the same start line. I have run the race for jobs, education, and opportunity. At age 36, I was in line as a department head for the company I had worked for ten years. I was educated, qualified, and ready. The manager, instead, brought in the operation manager’s twenty-year-old white nephew, apologized to me, and told me to train my new boss.

My great-great-great grandfather never received his forty acres or a mule; the government reneged. My great-grandmother had to live with separate “but equal” facilities because the government said so. My father could not vote until he was almost 30, and now Republicans are trying to reverse my right to vote. By the way, I medaled in my race because it was recognized that even the runners on the outside deserve an equal chance to succeed.

Continue to Vote for Change

  • October 31, 2022