We live in interesting times. Not necessarily good times, but definitely interesting ones.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in universities, and for my home state of Texas, that is not good at all. The court’s ruling will change admissions practices nationwide, and at Texas’ only large public university that considers race — the University of Texas at Austin.
What’s most interesting to me is how this came about and how the same old tactics of grievance over facts were used to great effect. It’s actually despicable how the court is now a political arm and plays the partisan politics game so shamelessly.
Especially seeing as how Clarence Thomas, the only Black male member — who is also seemingly on the payroll of Harlan Crow — owes his career to affirmative action.
It’s not surprising, however, that John Roberts, the conservative judge that won’t comment on the scandals within the court (all of which are right-leaning) — has in the past previewed this moment with his opinions on, let’s say, the Voting Rights Act. Roberts seems to have some unsubstantiated faith in the white majority to do the right thing. It’s laughable and sad at the same damn time.
So for my state, Texas — which is known for denying slavery happened, denying immigration to asylum seekers, not believing in climate change while we all burn up in the now Sahara Desert-level heat, stripping women of autonomy, supporting weapons of war, and honestly too much to name — this is just another failure and regression of progress for the state and its citizens.
Before the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action, UT Austin had a 10% rule, which made it automatic that graduating high school seniors in the top 10% of their class could attend the school. Now, I have no hope that that rule will be in effect for too much longer.
This rule was the “safeguard” against historic exclusionary practices — practices that had been somewhat eroded due to the success of the Civil Rights Movement. Now, since any mini Karen with a social media account can claim discrimination and get national news coverage, and apparently support from the Supreme Court, this doesn’t bode well for the future of Black students.
I am not a betting man, but I would bet good money that next on the chopping block is the 10% rule. I’m sure some upper middle class white family will claim that, somehow, their average child is being discriminated against, and it will be out the window. With our corrupt political “leadership,” and I’m sure the backing of some Daughters of the Confederacy-esque group, they can and will push ending the 10% policy through the system as soon as possible — not to mention furthering the potential defunding of diverse campuses in the state.
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The glaring issue to me is how this will affect where, or even if, students apply to college and how those colleges will accept them. We are not far removed from the days of Jim Crow. Its subtle influence over modern behavior and attitudes is still very present in Texas. Don’t believe me? Ask Houston how that school district is doing right now.
A crack in progress can bring back the deluge of discrimination that Texas has been so well known for. Not to mention the ripple effect this can potentially have on post-graduates’ ability to move into the workforce. Most, if not all, industries and fields of labor are just as in need of some regulation or standard to help maintain an equitable workplace and hiring practices.
As we know, the type of name you have can lead to your resume being dismissed without cause. Derailing the diversity at this level would probably mean justification for continuing the practice.
I only hope that there is a silver lining here somewhere. Maybe HBCUs will have the resurgence that we’ve been hoping for. Maybe… but with the brazen efforts of right-wing extremists and Jim Crow nostalgia, our already underfunded HBCUs are under enormous pressure, and support on any level is stripped, as well.
I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but this ain’t good for anyone.
Patrick Washington is the second-generation CEO and publisher of The Dallas Weekly, which has been serving the Black community of the 4th largest metroplex in the nation since 1954.