Is the future of affirmative action programs in jeopardy? On Tuesday, the Supreme Court upheld a Michigan law that bans race as a factor in college admissions.
Sept. 16, 2006 - Lansing, Michigan, L- Members of the NAACP march to the Michigan state capitol to oppose Proposal 2 on the November ballot. R- Students counter-demonstrated NAACP march.
The high court ruled 6-2, with Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissenting. Justice Elena Kagan did not vote. Here’s an excerpt of Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion, in which credits affirmative action for "opening doors" for her own life:
“Race matters. Race matters in part because of the long history of racial minorities’ being denied access to the political process.”
“Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter what neighborhood he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, ‘No, where are you really from?’”
You can read the full text of Sotomayor’s dissent at Politico:
There are hundreds of reactions on Twitter, from people dismayed by the ruling:
I'm super glad racism is over. Thanks, #SCOTUS.
An affirmative action case was heard before SCOTUS not bc black ppl want more opportunity but bc of fear of loss of power of whiteness.
"affirmative action"--like "amnesty"--is an outdated, overly simplistic term, hiding as much as it reveals
All the language being thrown around about affirmative action today makes my heart hurt.
As well as people who support the SCOTUS ruling:
Affirmative action is great for black millionaires but it has done little or nothing for most people in the ghetto.- Thomas Sowell
If Justice Sotomayor had her way, white males would never get into a college or get a good job. http://t.co/DruZ4Re1QZ
seems a bit racist to be in favor of affirmative action.
Of course Sotomayor issued an angry, misguided dissent after the Supreme Court upheld Michigan's ban on affirmative action.Anyone surprised?
While the latest SCOTUS ruling is based on a Michigan law, there are currently eight states that have bans against factoring underrepresented racial groups into consideration in college admissions or job hiring. The most famous is probably California's Prop 209, which was enacted by a ballot initiative, similar to the Michigan law. Recently, the California Senate dropped a proposal to lift the ban on affirmative action programs.
However, a new Pew Research Center poll shows that 63% of Americans favor affirmative action in college admissions.
Do you think race or gender should be taken into consideration in college admissions or hiring? How do you think opportunities can be made accessible to people, in light of racism and structural inequalities? Tell us in the comments.
News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs about raising an Asian mixed-race family at HapaMama.
More from entertainment