“The nation is sick,” as Martin Luther King, Jr. declared in his last speech; and shamefully, the infection of injustice continues to spread throughout the body politic. The Roberts’ Supreme Court continued its’s horrible legacy of dismantling basic freedoms by gutting affirmative action in college admissions. The decision dealt another blow to democracy in a nation built on the genocide of indigenous nations and the bloodied backs of kidnapped enslaved Africans while being shaped by white supremacy and anti-Black racism. The blind to racism ruling stands in stark contrast to the words above the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC that announce, “Equal Justice, Under the Law.”
It must be noted that Affirmative Action will continue for the privileged classes. Legacy students will still be considered affirmatively for acceptance. If the wealthy parents of applicants give money to the school, that is worthy of consideration, according to this Court. Michael Harriot is on point when he tweets, “Supreme Court DID NOT strike down Affirmative Action... The Court struck down Affirmative Action for everyone, except WHITE PEOPLE.” I would only add that the ruling allows for athletes (whose athletic gifts will make millions of dollars for the school and entertain the wealthy white donors and alumni) will also be allowed consideration for acceptance. Affirmative Action for white people will help to end discrimination, is the reasoning of the six justices who voted this precedent breaking decision.
The byline on one television station’s reporting of the decision read, “Supreme Court Outlaws Race as Factor in College Admissions.” Unfortunately, the Court is not outlawing the factor of race in disparate funding in public education that disadvantages so many targeted by the ending of Affirmative Action. This Court will not outlaw how race factors in health disparities. They’re not outlawing how race factors in the creation of economically neglected and exploited communities. They’re not outlawing how race factors in the impact of environmental racism on the minds of our kids in schools. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is on point in her dissent when she writes, “Deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.” Race negatively factors in the everyday lives of Black people, but Clarence Thomas, who rode the escalator of Affirmative Action (and is a corrupted beneficiary of a Nazi art collecting, wealthy sugar daddy, Harlan Crowe) has made a career out of dismantling the escalator for others and doesn’t want race to be a factor in remedying the anti-Black barriers we continue to face. As Michael Eric Dyson says, with this ruling, “White people get the hook-up, and Black people get the hook.”
It is a dark day for democracy and the cause of justice has been harmed; however, our ancestors, who overcame so much, and our faith, that has brought us thus far, provide a light for the path forward. We must fight for the right to vote and always use the voice of our vote. The Roberts’ Court (which looks the way it does because of Affirmative Action) is comprised of three justices appointed by Trump (who lost the popular vote both times). If those justices had been appointed by Hillary Clinton, the ruling would have been different. If we vote and hold elected officials accountable to our vision, we can change the make-up of the court.
The tentacles of this decision will reach beyond going to colleges and universities. “Race neutral” may well become this century’s version of “separate, but equal” of Plessy V. Ferguson, which legalized oppression, but like our ancestors, we can fight for justice while building the infrastructure of our communities, economically, politically, socially, educationally, and ecologically to withstand what this decision will do. The country is sick, and the infection is spreading, but we still have access to “immune builders” if we “stay woke” and refuse to lose hope.
Frederick Douglass Haynes, III