Yes, the long years of discrimination against white people in higher education may be coming to an end as the Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear an affirmative action case. The case could have far-reaching implications for the future of education:
Both supporters and opponents of affirmative action said they saw the announcement — and the change in the court’s makeup since 2003 — as a signal that the court’s five more conservative members might be prepared to do away with racial preferences in higher education.
The consequences of such a decision would be striking. It would, all sides agree, reduce the number of African-American and Latino students at nearly every selective college and graduate school, with more Asian-American and white students gaining entrance instead.
At last, white people and Asians will be allowed into college. Believe me, if you’ve ever walked around the campus of a certain unnamed elite university in Boston (well, not in Boston, but nearby–no, not Tufts) then you know how difficult it is to spot white people or Asians. Diversity shall return at last!
This case originated in Texas (the cradle of American civilization), where a disappointed white girl couldn’t get into UT. Apparently, Texas reserves spaces for the top 10% of the high school graduating classes at their public universities; it’s a race-neutral policy that theoretically has the effect of providing diversity because Texas communities are relatively homogenous. Alas, poor Muffy–excuse me, Abigail (so much better!)–Fisher did not make the cut. And so she went into the general population, where apparently her white heritage did not give her the advantage that she thought she deserved:
Ms. Fisher’s argument is that Texas cannot have it both ways. Having implemented a race-neutral program to increase minority admissions, she says, Texas may not supplement it with a race-conscious one. Texas officials said the additional effort was needed to make sure that individual classrooms contained a “critical mass” of minority students.
I would argue that Ms. Fisher is confused (which is not surprising, since she was not in the top 10% of her class) as to the nature of the policies; because one has the concomitant benefit of racial diversity does not in fact make it a policy of affirmative action.
Not surprisingly, conservatives are happy to hear that decades of disenfranchisement and systemic social inequalities will possibly be eliminated from consideration in the admissions process:
“Any form of discrimination, whether it’s for or against, is wrong,” said Hans von Spakovsky, a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who added that his daughter was applying to college. “The idea that she might be discriminated against and not be admitted because of her race is incredible to me.”
Yes, no doubt Hans von Spakovsky’s precious little snowflake was in immediate danger of losing her spot at an elite American university because of her race.
It’s unlikely that the Supreme Court will uphold the federal court’s decision, which means that affirmative action in college admissions is likely to be severely weakened, if not altogether eradicated.
I just hope that the decision comes in time to protect Hans von Spakovsky’s daughter. Poor girl–settling for a safety school like Brown or Cornell would be so hard on her!