An Excited Rant About Schuette v. Coalition

Apologies, it’s been a while hasn’t it? I had the flu (still may have it actually, but I’m better…ish. My apologies for my crap immune system.)

I had to do a little informal excited dance across my blog after the recent Supreme Court ruling in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, which was a court case that was working to determine if Michigan’s effort to stop public universities from using Affirmative Action in their admissions criteria was constitutional.

Spoiler alert: the Supreme Court found in favor of the voters of Michigan having the fight to do away with this backwards and bigoted concept of “affirmative action”.

martin-luther-king-2I don’t remember how old I was when I first heard of affirmative action, but I know it was around the time when I was starting to consider my college career (I was an early academic bloomer, so it was probably around 14 or so) and I remember being absolutely shocked that my ethnic origin (nominally Irish and British, with a dash of Native American somewhere in my family tree) would have any affect whatsoever on my chances of getting into a college.

I might be smart and do volunteer work and get good grades and, yet somehow, I could still get pushed to the back of the line behind less qualified applicants because my skin was too pale. The idea was completely shocking and remained so, even during the years where I considered myself a liberal. It was one of the few ideas that never ever sat well with me and one of the tenets of liberalism that I never bought into.

You see I did study the civil rights movement. I read the speeches and sat through the lectures on racial equality. I spent most of my formative years in Arkansas (where my city was a major hub for the Vietnamese and Laotian immigrants) and Arizona (where I am normally outnumbered 2 to 1 by those of African American or Hispanic origin). What I got out of my formative years, my friendships and relationships, as well as those civil rights speeches and ideals was one simple idea.

We are only as equal as we treat each other.

Extending preferential treatment to a person of one race or ethnic background is bigoted and racist whether that person is white, black, Asian, or Hispanic. It does not magically fix or erase past sins committed upon a race and, judging by the evidence around us, it has not helped the livelihoods or educations of the groups it was meant to help in any case.

Are there times when such discrimination is allowable? Yes, of course. The Red-Headed League of Sherlock Holmes fame was perfectly within their rights to only hire those with red hair. A Jewish school should be allowed to turn away applicants on the basis of ties to Neo-Nazi organizations or, in fact, to request that “only Jews need apply”. A company run by a black owner should be able to turn away an applicant who is also an active member of the KKK. They are private businesses and I think anyone who has even skimmed my opinions on private businesses and discrimination should know that I have very strong opinions on that subject.

But this is not a case of private companies or, even, private educational facilities. This is about access to public education, which should not be determined by the color of your skin.

If you are worried that certain races will be disadvantaged at getting into college because they are not being given preference based on skill color, then there is a curious blind spot in your vision. If you fear that the black community and the poor in general will suffer without affirmative action due to bad K-12 education, which would prevent them from competing for being accepted by academic merit alone, then the answer isn’t more affirmative action, but better K-12 schools! You are trying to put a band-aid with sub par adhesive over a wound that needs stitches and something to stop the internal bleeding.

Stop treating the symptoms in the worst, and most damaging, way possible and start attacking the illnesses at it’s core.

My access to education should be based on merit, not the color of my skin. Any argument to the contrary is rooted in racism so vile that it makes me sick just thinking about it.

Kudos to 6 out of 9 justices for making the correct decision in allowing Michigan to free their state of this incredibly stupid concept of Affirmative Action.

Here’s hoping this will encourage more states to move toward ballot initiatives of this same kind.