Now that the Supreme Court is considering the issue of affirmative action in college admissions, all kinds of groups are weighing in. But we’re not hearing from the people who will be most affected by the court’s decision: college-bound teenagers.
The teenagers we talked to attend two suburban high schools near Washington, D.C.: One is majority black and the other school has a mix of Latino, black, white and Asian students. The 16- and 17-year-olds knew little or nothing about the case that’s before the Supreme Court — Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin — or about Abigail Fisher, the young woman who sued the university back in 2008. Fisher was denied admission because, she argued, the university wanted more minorities and she was white.
So here’s the question we asked the students:
Should College Admissions Decisions Take Race Into Consideration?
Black College Graduates Respond To Justice Scalia With #StayMadAbby
Leave it to Black Twitter to chin-check all foolery and foolishness.
Thursday (December 10) black college graduates took to Twitter to post photos of themselves clad in their graduation cap and gowns as they virtually hair-flipped Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s troubling comments about the pace at which black students learn.
“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well,” Scalia said, “As opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school … a slower-track school where they do well,” Scalia.
During oral arguments in the vehement Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action case, the suit, which was filed by a former prospective student Abigail Fisher claims she was denied entrance into the University of Texas because she’s white, and that other, lesser qualified students were admitted due to race.
The response to Fisher’s allegations: #StayMadAbby. Twitter overflowed with stats from both white and black graduates who disagree with and debunked Fisher’s claims.
There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans … 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. One of … the briefs pointed out that … most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas.
Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, during oral arguments for Fisher v. University of Texas-Austin
Corrected Dec. 20, 2015: We’ve corrected this post to include Justice Scalia’s full comment, which clarifies that he was quoting from briefs filed in the case and not necessarily expressing his own opinion.
“You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, ‘You are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.” – Lyndon Johnson, 1965.
I’ve posted before about the fact that white women are the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action. I’ve been following the Tumblr-fied reaction to this disgustingly milquetoast NYTimes piece profiling Abigail Fisher, a young white woman who was rejected from the University of Texas’s flagship campus in Austin and who is now the lead plantiff in Fisher v. University of Texas. Fisher, who wasn’t academically talented enough to be admitted through UT’s program for top Texan high school students, feels that her race was a disadvantage in the much smaller “holistic” admissions pool.
I’m a white woman, and I’m going on the record again: this case (like challenges to affirmative action generally are) is racist bullshit.
For a long time, I attributed this attitude mostly to white men, but Fisher proves, of course, that white women aren’t immune to it: Many white people believe that not being specifically advantaged is the same as being disadvantaged.
That is also racist bullshit.
For all of our talk about hard work and self-reliance, white people seem deeply angry at the idea of having to actually deploy those tools in their own lives. We still believe that 90% of success should entail showing up. (I guess that means that the other 10% is “being white.”)
One of the things white people still refuse to acknowledge is that being white, for many centuries, came with your standard patriarchal dividend. If that’s your baseline- that you used to get some kind of preference and now you don’t- then attention fellow white people: I’m conceding. Your life has gotten harder in the past 50 years, because now, instead of just showing up, you actually have to have skills and qualifications. An 1160 on the SAT and some time on the soccer field is no longer enough to get into one of the best colleges in the country. Having an uncle on the squad is no longer enough to get a job in the fire department. Being a dude doesn’t get you into medical school anymore.
This time, you are going to have to win on merit. I feel pretty good about that, actually; I took care of my shit. My ass did better than an 1160, that’s for damn sure. When I lose out- like Fisher, I was rejected from an elite college that my sister attended, where I thought I could succeed, but unlike Fisher, I tilted at that windmill in three admissions cycles- I have a drink, I take a shower. That’s how we play in the NBA. I’m ready; hope the rest of y'all white people are, too.