Fifty-nine years ago, the #CivilRightsAct was signed into law. Today, House Democrats remain committed to fighting for equality and justice for ALL.
“A democracy cannot thrive where power remains unchecked and justice is reserved for a select few.” – Congressman John Lewis pic.twitter.com/Z0WUlYn0Xn
— Rep. Stacey Plaskett (@StaceyPlaskett) July 2, 2023
Joy Reid on fire, talking about her experience of going to Harvard because of affirmative action! Take a moment it’s from the perspective of someone who actually was there. pic.twitter.com/Nmnc3bzETK
— Mr. Reynolds (@MrReynolds52) July 1, 2023
[Reminder: Click on the url, not on the embedded tweet itself… ]
— Esquire (@esquire) July 2, 2023
… In his (6-3) majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The Harvard and UNC admissions programs cannot be reconciled with the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause. Both programs lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points. We have never permitted admissions programs to work in that way, and we will not do so today,”
Reading the Chief Justice’s words, one might think that systemic racism has somehow vanished from the citadels of academia, when even the least bit of critical inquiry turns up the truth that it’s been alive and thriving. Roberts need look no further for convincing proof of the endurance of white privilege than the very position he holds. Of the 17 Supreme Court chief justices in this country’s history, every single one of them have been a white man; not to mention, the recent ones were educated and Ivy-League universities (Roberts himself earned his law degree from Harvard). For yet more proof of the power of elite educations, he need look no further than the fact that, of his current fellow justices, all but one—Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett—were educated at Harvard or Yale. The problem is Roberts and his “conservative” affirming court weren’t looking forreal forreal. If they were, they would’ve found that there’s been no such thing as equal protection or access in academia.
Not Roberts’ nor anyone else’s legalese should obfuscate this obvious truth: The campaign and eventual overruling of affirmative action is an act of white supremacy.
President John F. Kennedy introduced the term affirmative action—its initial intent to address discrimination in hiring—in an executive order on March 6, 1961. The policy received criticism almost from the giddyup, and before long was the target of several challenges. In 2003, the court upheld it in Grutter V. Bollinger, which challenged admissions practices at the University of Michigan Law School. In her opinion in that case, “conservative” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote, “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.” O’Connor’s view was troubling, for not only did it set a clock on affirmation action, it suggested America would somehow, someway reach the utopia of post-race. (That’s the only America that wouldn’t need safeguards against, and reparations for, white power and privilege.)…
Once there was man named Noel Ignatiev. Ignatiev, a Jewish man, grew up in Philadelphia and as a young person was active in several social-political organizations. Ignatiev earned a Ph.D. in Education from Harvard in 1995. While in graduate school he studied racism, arriving at the wisdom that race is a social construct and not a scientific fact. Ignatiev wrote books about the subject (once pointing out the absurdity that a white woman could give birth to a Black child but a Black woman could never give birth to a white child) and founded a journal called Race Traitor to “chronicle and analyze the making, remaking, and unmaking of whiteness.” Ignatiev believed “ordinary Americans are drawn by the conditions of their lives in two opposite directions, one that mirrors and reproduces the present society of competition and exploitation, and another that points toward a new society based on freely associated activity.”
The whites championing and sanctioning the end of affirmative action are the former kind of Americans—the ones hoping to mirror and reproduce the competition and exploitation. And the most despicable and dangerous of those Americans are Throwback whites. Throwback whites want to regress us to the yesteryear when the only real competition they had was between themselves, and the rest of us were ripe for exploitation.
Throwback whites grabbed tiki torches and stomped through the Charlottesville screaming “YOU WILL NOT REPLACE US.” Throwback whites are championing book bans across the country. Throwback whites are fighting hard to gerrymander voting districts, scheming on other forms of voter suppression. A Throwback white, as the governor of Texas, banned diversity and inclusion departments and initiatives in state universities and colleges. A Throwback white, as the governor of Florida, billboarded his bigotry by gathering asylum-seeking immigrants in his state and dropping them in Martha’s Vineyard. One Throwback white, I swearfogod, is a Black man who’s squatted on the highest court for over 30 years, and all the while dedicated himself to jurisprudence that oppresses his skinfolk.
Be not lead astray—the Throwback whites are uninterested in ushering us to the utopia of equality and justice for all, rather in returning us to the days of the constitution’s penning, a time when I was 3/5th of a man, a fractionalized human who was forbidden an education.
And for white folks who exist on a continuum between “hella hopeful” and “disillusioned,” know this: The Court’s opinion is not some fringe perspective. It’s thinking aligned with figureheads who own a reasonable shot at becoming our next president.