Affirmative Action & The Supreme Court

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Emily Bazelon, senior editor and court watcher at Slate, previews the stakes of the affirmative action case before the Supreme Court--and takes your calls on how affirmative action has affected you.



Emily Bazelon
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Comments [29]

DTorres from Manhattan

Asians, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, do not seem to need quotas to help
them get in to the top universities, they score so high that they need
quotas to keep them out and give other groups a chance.
Asians, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, even those,
whose first language is not English,
seem to be able to get into the top
universities without Affirmative Action.
Asians, seem to handily outscore whites on IQ test.

Oct. 09 2012 01:36 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I read that the majority of the student body at Stuyvesant is Asian. Is that an example of pro-white racism?

Oct. 09 2012 11:44 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Test preparation for the SAT's don't have that much of a positive effect on scores. TP doesn't turn a 1000 into a 1300.

Oct. 09 2012 11:40 AM

Not much new here to discuss.

Is affirmative action a valid tool for reversing the current effect of prior discrimination? You betcha. Since the implementation of any solution of righting past wrongs is an example of 'two wrongs making a right' doing so often creates new sources of bigotry and prejudice where there previously had been none. That is why the court's oversight of affirmative action is imperative.

When is the need for affirmative action over? You tell me.

Oct. 09 2012 11:34 AM
Thomas Pinch

Bernie, they are called Jim Crow laws, and if you don't think that their legacy effects education today, you're kiddn' yourself.

Oct. 09 2012 11:28 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

I agreed with "Martin" 100% up until he goes into his usual racist/partisan rants.

Race based affirmative action or quotas, as ostensibly well meaning as they are, do nothing for the groups of people it is intended to help, it simply cherry picks a few "tokens" ( deserving or not) to avoid solving the problems like inequalities in education, that affects the other 99%.

"It is unfair to the overachievers in our society ... Asians and Jews"

I had no idea "Asians and Jews" were "over represented" in the US military, or the NFL.

I will give "Martin" some credit. I could only assume that "Martin" meant "academically" - that Blacks (including children of African immigrants, who do very well academically ), Hispanics - all of them, and all Christian Whites are "complacent and lazy" - actually, that's indeed what he says.

"Martin" then ties in Obama's debate performance and Elizabeth Warren to Affirmative Action?

"Why [should Obama/Warren]develop disciplined work habits when you will never need them ... they will give you a "leg up" anyway because of your official minority status"

I guess Bush Jr and Mitt Romney both never got "a leg up" because they came from "nothing," their Ivy League education had nothing to with their parents' wealth and connections, according to Chuzzlewit folklore.

"Martin" makes exceptions of course.

Clarence Thomas, who is only on the Supreme Court because he is black, gets a "Martin" pass, because, you know...

And of course, the state of Israel - the biggest example of affirmative action/racial quotas in the 20th century, gets a huge pass.

Life isn't fair. Gosh

Oct. 09 2012 11:17 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Obama, being a son of a man from Kenya and a euro woman, should never benefit from Affirmative Action for decedents of American slavery that ended 150 years ago.

Any preference he received to get into Harvard and Columbia should have been striped.

Oct. 09 2012 11:15 AM
Ernie from East orange New Jersey

The intention and results of racism as a social institution is exclusion from opportunity of people of color, no matter how overqualified;
and a systematic preference for white males, no matter how unqualified. Sometimes I wonder how Rick Perry could become governor of Texas,Todd Akin could have such a profound lack of understanding of basic female anatomy. But before my wonder can form into a thought, the solution to my query presents itself in a single word: racism. Has or Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain, and many others in the black community who choose to align themselves with the conservatives and far right; most people in the black community realize that these people are in it for the money. Many black conservatives have never taken a black history course. They have based their entire racial identity of the distortions which make conservative white America feel good about slavery and the genocide of Native Americans.
The Disneyfied and sanitized version with a slight white supremacists tinge. Despite last 50 years or so blacks and whites still view each other has the other. The United States can only move forward when we all have faced the uncomfortable past together.

Oct. 09 2012 11:10 AM
bernie from bklyn

@thomas- what laws give poor white kids an advantage over poor black kids?
@wayne/bklyn- how do you explain poor chinese neighborhood NYC public schools that have high achievement and parental inolvment resulting in extra classes, etc..? are the recent poor chinese immigrants racist also?

Oct. 09 2012 11:10 AM
Elisa from Battery Park

Just get rid of ALL non-academic criteria. No legacy consideration, no class consideration, no geographical consideration, no "sports" scholarships.

Every student in every state should have to pass rigorous exams to get into college and if they don't they don't get to go to college even if they are a star quarterback or the next Tiger, Lochte etc.

Every applicant should be screened solely based upon their academic achievement in high school and test scores.

Since thee assumption here by folks commenting seems to be that there is no discrimination in college acceptance and even if there is, we shouldn't care about it.

But then you have to do it across the board. No special consideration for ANY reason, ever. You can't pick and choose.

If the only thing that matters is academic achievement then is should be true for everyone.

In fact, just go a step further. Why fake it. Just send all the Black kids to school with other Black kids. Send all the White kids to school with other White kids. Chinese, Native (by tribe), etc. et al.

Divide em all up and see who "wins".

Oct. 09 2012 11:03 AM
Wayne Johnson from Bk

As long as housing in America is segregated, the schools will be segregated: still separate and unequal. New York City is a great example of that. Many of these graduates cannot possibly match up with the suburban kids who have AP classes and extra SAT prep courses. Affirmative action is a way of remedying this inherent inequality. But the majority of this court is racist to the core and will not give black,latino and other minorities a break.

Oct. 09 2012 10:58 AM
Thomas Pinch

Bernie, "all white people are descended from slave holders..." doesn't matter at all - not one bit. This is a systemic problem, meaning its roots have spread beyond the orignal victims and perpetrators to include laws and social structures that progressed the problem to our current state. It's far from over.

Oct. 09 2012 10:56 AM
Seth Pickenstiff

Gary, when the majority of our uneducated people are not of one color then you point will be correct. But as Justice O'Connor said, we're not there yet. And that hurts our entire country; not just the poor. It is a systemic problem because even after slavery ended, the majority of this country looked badly upon every black person, descendent or not. And the descrimination just continued, and it was no longer a slavery issue.

Oct. 09 2012 10:52 AM
bernie from bklyn

@thomas pinch- your statement is the core of the problem. you assume that all white people are descended from slave holders and are in a higher social class than all others. most white people in this country are NOT descended from slave owners and their families came here from europe during the turn of the century because they were dirt poor and wanted a new opportunity. in other words, while sympathetic, they don't really care or have any "guilt" about what happened in this country in the past. and why should they? maybe black people can't "get over it" but don't assume anyone else really cares about their inability to move on. want to know why? because they have their own problems and are struggling to get by on a daily basis and if their child does well enough in school to get into a university but loses their place to a "minority" with lesser grades/achievement then you can understand the problem.

Oct. 09 2012 10:48 AM
Snoop from Brooklin

Whether you think affirmative action is a good idea or not, there are really good arguments for it for African Americans and american Indians-- slavery, displacement, etc.

What is the justification for Hispanics and others?

Oct. 09 2012 10:47 AM
John from Brooklyn

As long as college is BS, all this diversity is fine.

But when it gets real (computer science, organic chemistry, math, engineering) there is a problem.

A "Top 10%" minority student gets into MIT. The class is hitting every 10th step in the process skipping haead, and is still going too slow for the super bright students who go to MIT.

The "Top 10%" minority student gets completely lost, drops out, and is a "failure."

That Top 10%" minority student could have been a super success at a second rate engineering college.

NO!!!! WE HAVE A SOLUTION --- DUMB DOWN MIT -- just as we have dumbed down the NYC fire fighter exam, and are about to dumb down Bronx Science.

Oct. 09 2012 10:47 AM
gary from queens

@Seth Pickenstiff

The legal rationale for affirmative action and preferences (quotas) has not been to repair current descrimination. It's not quantifiable, whereas quotas are.

Instead, the justification cited is the cultural legacy from slavery and jim crow that had denied generations of some blacks. (some, because the were some wealth and successful blacks for 200 yrs)

And as I said, that argument is dwindling through demographics, but also based on what Justice Roberts always says: "if you want a society that doesn't judge you on your race, then stop judging people by race." (paraphrased)

Oct. 09 2012 10:44 AM

Is there any evidence that "diversity" has any effect on attitudes towards different races. Is the attitude of whites towards blacks different if they have 2% African Americans in their class who are just as qualified as everyone else, or 10% who are less qualified academically?
Parenthetically, I work at a University, and it couldn't be more segregated, than if there were actual laws enforcing segregation. Different races and religions eat together, join separate fraternities and sororities, socialize together and take classes together.

The point is, that diversity is put forth as a goal in itself, with no evidence that it has any effect on racial attidues.

Oct. 09 2012 10:41 AM
Leo from Bronx

As an recent African-American graduate, I find that affirmative action diminishes my own achievements. Maybe it's just me, but I feel that I'm not being judged fairly. There seems to be a feeling that oh, he's just an affirmative action case - which couldn't be further from the truth. I was a top student. I wouldn't mind seeing these programs end.

Oct. 09 2012 10:39 AM
The Truth from Becky

I am always amazed that the reason Affirmative Action was put into play is not discussed always who it benefits.

Oct. 09 2012 10:39 AM
Thomas Pinch

" "get over it" " -- yeah, tell that to the native americans. We took your land, so get over it. Tell the blacks that we looked at anyone of your color as a slave, so get over it. Blame anyone but our forefathers when they are the only ones to really blame, and by extension, ourselves.

Oct. 09 2012 10:39 AM
bernie from bklyn

booksmart, white liberals who never met or hung out w/anyone considered minority are the ones who wrote and support this ridiculous concept. affirmative action is wrong for so many reasons. yes, the law should be race blind in every direction. when it's not, racism is strengthened.

Oct. 09 2012 10:39 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Great example....the caller, Basil, African American, fron Johns Hopkins.

His parents were both why was he getting preference over some poor Italian or Irish kids whose parents were unemployed??!!

This is the joke here.

Oct. 09 2012 10:38 AM
BK from Hoboken

Um- wow Martin. Only Jews and Asians are overachievers? Warren only got the job because of her claimed ethnicity? We're you in the room when she was hired?
That said, as a 37 year old, married to a half Turkish woman, with two kids, I am wondering when this racial labeling will end. As I filled out the census a couple years ago, I had to laugh at my wife's conundrum. Is she half Asian? Just white? Middle eastern? Does it matter if her father was born on the European or Asian side of Istanbul? You see how ridiculous this ethnic labeling is? With my generation there will be so man mixed race kids it doesn't matter.
Lastly, maybe the guest can expound a little more on the top 10% program. If there is de facto segregation in Texas with many schools beig predominantly white or predominantly black, shouldn't there be plenty of black kids in the top 10% of their mostly black high schools?

Oct. 09 2012 10:38 AM
Seth Pickenstiff

"The descendants of slavery..." -- you clearly do not understand systemic racism. You don't have to be a descendant to be touched by its discrimination. That's why it is systemic.

Oct. 09 2012 10:35 AM
Wen from Brooklyn

I'm so tired of race as an issue. Until we "get over it", we will never get over it. We just continue to indoctrinate new generations to old views and stereotypes. Everyone should be judged on their actions, acheivements, intelligence - not color, religion, etc.

Oct. 09 2012 10:33 AM
gary from queens

racial preferences are unconstitution. preferences based on income or geography are constitution, but discretionary.

Affirmative action that includes race is not unconstitutional right now, but it may be ruled so in the future.

The descendants of slavery and jim crow are dwindling to very small numbers, compared to other minority immigrants. So demographics, hopefully, will bring liberals to their senses.

But i doubt it.

Oct. 09 2012 10:20 AM
JT from NJ

@Martin, you don't even realize how specious are your "complaints" when you make this comment:

'It is unfair to the overachievers in our society ... Asians and Jews limits them to only their “fair share” based on their % in the population.'

So overachievers in this country are limited to two populations, one of which is defined by geography and another defined by religious beliefs?

Oct. 09 2012 10:13 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Oh, gosh, where to begin on this?

The quick and simplest example of the BOGUS and RACIST basis of current affirmative action programs is Elizabeth Warren’s use of (a claim to) being 1/32 Cherokee to get jobs at Penn and then Harvard. Or the children of rich black folks ... my colleagues.

It is unfair to poor kids of any color. (If used at all, a.a. should be based on socioeconomic level.)

It is unfair to the overachievers in our society ... Asians and Jews limits them to only their “fair share” based on their % in the population.

It breeds complacency and laziness ... as in Barry Obama’s pathetic debate preparation. (Why develop disciplined work habits when you will never need them ... they will give you a "leg up" anyway because of your official minority status?) Welcome to grading without a racial curve, Barry .....and now we know why they won't release any of your academic records.

Oct. 09 2012 07:42 AM

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