Lousy Legacy ’23 Part I

The Roberts Court will go down as one of, if not, the worst in American history. My fear is that they may actually facilitate the end of American history, as I could recognize it anyway. I expected to write a single article along these lines after Tuesday decision came down. Now I plan on two days and hope that will be somewhat sufficient.

Today I’ll focus on the Court’s decision in Students For Fair Admissions v Harvard which was announced on Thursday. The defendants in this case were the Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill Admissions Departments. The core of the case was the use of racial data in admissions, basically affirmative action. By a 6-3 vote the Court ruled that affirmative action has gone the way of the buffalo. The six were Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence “Just give the money to Virginia” Thomas and the Trump Trio of Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. No surprises there!

America’s original sin was that slavery was left legal in the original Constitution. The legacy of slavery is still with us today and there is no doubt that all Americans neither have an equal start nor equal opportunities in life. Morally, I am convinced that reparations are due. That is a no-brainer, it is the logistics of reparations that is the challenge. One way to atone for past sins (and they need not be yours, my family was decades from America at the Civil War let alone the founding) is affirmative action. I’m not saying taking totally unqualified students just because of their racial ancestry (and that was not what was happening); I’m saying making a recruiting effort and adjusting the standards just a bit taking into account where the “starting blocks” were.

Now this case was centered on supposed elite colleges but it will go much deeper. I fully expect to see this ruling used as precedent to eliminate affirmative action (and more!) in employment and related “fields”.

While not raising the standards for non-whites (they simply will not be admitted); this will effectively lower the standards for white applicants. The irony is that the right wingers who sponsor all these lawsuits found an Asian group to claim they were discriminated against by affirmative action admissions policies.

If you are serious about improving the college admissions system – and in the process education’s outcome – eliminate legacy admissions. How does the fact that generation(s) of your ancestors graduated from a school qualify you for it? Closely aligned is the preference for donors. How does your daddy buying your way into let’s say Fordham which you attended until you “back doored” your way into Penn make a system fair. Or you qualified to be president of the United States decades later?

My peripheral experience with college admissions is mainly via the athletic area. I’ll make two brief points here. Most parents overestimate their child’s ability. I talked to tons of parents who made the argument that their son was just as good as the last man on the bench at (insert a local college). That often wasn’t really the case but it was mostly close to the truth. However, you have to note they selected the last kid on the bench not the star or at least a starter. Do we really want a race to the bottom?

This is similar with the “reverse discrimination admissions argument”. The parent isn’t saying their kid was better than the top of the class; they are saying he or she is better than the “end of the bench” admission. As in basketball it’s not all stats. Among other things the strength of the league, other competition and resources available must be considered when attempting to predict the chance of success.

Sticking with athletics for a bit; almost all schools bend their admission standards at least a tad for athletes. If this policy were to extend to athletic recruits (which it should but I doubt it will at the “powerhouse schools”) I wonder how the alums will feel when they find out that a blue chip recruit was denied admission and lost to a rival because of grades.

While Bubba cheers this decision as a victory thinking the slogan is Make America White Again they are deceived. Reduced to a slogan what it really means is Make America For The Rich White Males Again. (Don’t be fooled; women will suffer from this ruling.) The “wiggle” given to the oppressed was too much for the oppressor class. Fortunately for them many of their temporarily useful idiots don’t realize that they are actually part of the oppressed group.

Overall, affirmative action admission has benefitted America. No policy is all good. I can think of one affirmative action beneficiary who turned out to hurt America. His name is Clarence Thomas. On the other end of the argument and sticking with the Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson (may I be among the first to call her KBJ) is proving to be the new Ruth Baden Ginsberg (RBG).

Here is the bottom line: this ruling will make for fewer Barack Obamas and more Donald Trumps. That is terrifying!

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