If you aren’t aware, there’s quite a stink going on in the Supreme Court, as it hears two separate but very related cases against the practice of affirmative action in US colleges and universities.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, affirmative action is the practice of allowing selective and preferential admission treatment based on race. In other words, those of black or Hispanic descent are given special treatment and preference over white and Asian students applying for the same school.
As you can imagine, it’s quite a racist practice, literally choosing one race over another for the same positions.
However, according to colleges, or at least those at the top of the admissions department at the University of North Carolina, the practice is needed to ensure that their student population is more “diverse.” Additionally, they claim that a more diverse population can make better and more efficient decisions.
Now, it is up to the Supreme Court justices to decide which is the correct reading of the long-established practice.
For conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, it seems as though he’s leaning against the practice. During a recent hearing for the case, he asked what the word ‘diversity’ supposedly means, as it seems ‘to mean everything to everyone.”
Co-host of “The View,” Whoopi Goldberg, apparently disagrees.
Goldberg, a high school dropout, said on Wednesday that Thomas’ sarcastic explanation of the word was incorrect and then went on to describe what she thought it meant regarding affirmative action.
She said, “Actually, no, that’s not what it means, sir. You know, being inclusive means that when you look around that court, you’re seeing women who may not have had the ability to go to law school had affirmative action not been there to make sure that women were allowed in school.”
Then she continued, alleging that Justice Thomas really had no right to question the practice, as he himself was likely a beneficiary of it.
Now to be fair, Thomas has admitted, some time ago even, that that is the case. However, in being such, it has diminished his achievements and grades, making people assume that he has only gotten to the position he’s in – the longest-tenured Supreme Court justice and the second black person to serve in that court – because of his race.
And that could not be further from the truth.
If you didn’t know, Thomas graduated ninth in his class with an English honors degree from Holy Cross before being accepted to Yale Law School. He earned his right to be in that education institute with hard work and a determined mindset.
Now, as I said, affirmative action did help him get into Yale. As he says in his 2007 book “My Grandfather’s Son,” he asked Yale to take his race into consideration when he applied there, not thinking there was “anything wrong” with it.
However, upon graduating, he noted that on several occasions, he was questioned by top law firms about the credibility of his grades and achievements in law school, as if he wasn’t really smart enough to make it that far on his own. Instead of taking his credentials for what they were, affirmative action made sure that he had to continually prove himself and his abilities all over again.
And Thomas says that affirmative action has haunted him ever since.
Clearly, even to this day, those like Goldberg assume that he hasn’t made it this far in life on his own merit but because someone took pity on him and gave him positions he wasn’t really qualified for because of his skin color.
Essentially, she’s proving his point for him by saying this.
Affirmative action isn’t doing these kids any favors. If anything, it’s hurting them – hurting their careers and futures and creating a stigma that they don’t really deserve their education or dreams.
I’m sure Whoopi wouldn’t take too kindly to someone saying she only got her first few acting roles because someone pitied her ability to get them on her own. But that’s exactly what affirmative action does. It belittles the achievements of our youth because someone out there assumes that they were given preferential treatment.
Let’s ensure our future youth aren’t held to those same standards.