Once again the issue of affirmative action is being brought to the scrutiny of the Supreme Court of the United States. Tuesday’s editorial was much on the side of getting rid of affirmative action, arguing that it implements racism that only positively affects minorities. This is a daft fallacy.
The case mentioned in the article was that of Abigail Fisher, the young woman who is suing the University of Texas (UT), claiming she was denied admission because she is white. The editorial states that Fisher is fighting against “a system that grants superiority to one race over another.” Which race is that? Is it the most privileged represented racial demographic in the U.S.? That’s an interesting claim.
Calling affirmative action a type of racism because one white woman didn’t get into the college of her choice, is offensive. The editorial did not mention the fact that Fisher’s grades and test scores were just average, or that of the 47 people who were admitted to UT with lower test scores, 42 of them were white.
Saying we need to get rid of affirmative action because of racial discrimination against white people, ignores the fact that our country is built on racist programs and traditions that benefit white people every day. The editorial refers to the “historical affects of racism” as if it’s a thing of the past, as if black youth aren’t regularly terrorized by white policemen or as if minority neighborhoods aren’t the least likely to have access to good schools and programs for development.
Studies and statistics show that at best, affirmative action benefits everyone, and at worst, it mostly benefits white women, such as Abigail Fisher. For the article to compare policies made to prevent discrimination, to the very real consequences of racism faced by people of color, is repugnant.
The editorial and many opponents of affirmative action suggest we “educate the world on the fact that a person’s race is irrelevant.” Race is certainly relevant and to say otherwise is a racist claim that denies people of color their experiences based on the 400-year-old ongoing legacy of systematic oppression in this country.
Affirmative action policies may not be perfect, but to call for their dismissal based on the privileged fantasy of a colorblind world, or the false notion of racism against whites, is in itself an act of racial hostility.
Mia Lawrie is a senior majoring in women’s and gender studies and biomedical sciences.