A U.S. District Judge in Michigan ruled that the University of Michigan’s law school admissions standards are unconstitutional because they use race as a basis of admission. The judge said using race as a basis to assemble a racially diverse college atmosphere was not in the state’s interests. This ruling increases existing inequalities and threatens to “resegregate higher education and to increase the unfair racist stigma that is faced by minority students in higher education.”
This ruling simply means higher education institutions may yet again be reserved solely for whites.
Affirmative action is a complex and difficult subject. Some see it as a way of creating a culturally enriched atmosphere for whites and minorities alike. Others see it as a means of compensatory justice to rectify the past wrongdoings, including Jim Crow laws and slavery. Students exposed to a racially and culturally diverse atmosphere are proven to have developed greater critical thinking skills because of the elimination of “group think.”
Affirmative action is a structural remedy to destroy the ever-present class system that is rooted in the time of Jim Crow laws and slavery. Its aim is to end the racial orders of America. This remedy is rooted in history. But instead of the history of minorities in America serving as a reason for affirmative action, the history is viewed as a cause of the current structure of American society that drastically needs change. The sole purpose is to eliminate the present caste system. Affirmative action must be stretched to include African Americans and all groups subordinated in society. These groups must be given the same chances as white Americans to eliminate today’s rigid class system.
White applicants rejected from universities or not given a job will obviously be frustrated, but affirmative action should not be discarded. The cause involved is so worthy and noble that sacrifices must be made for the greater good of society. These sacrifices will, in the end, become justified.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun once said that we cannot eradicate social classes without the system of preferences that affirmation action entails – that ultimately, we cannot get beyond racism without taking race into account.
-The writer is president-elect of the GW College Democrats.