In 2008 Abigail Fisher, a bright eyed student, sued the University of Texas, Austin, her dream school, because she wasn’t admitted. Isn’t that something? Suing a university because you weren’t qualified and didn’t get in. Anyhow, Ms. Fisher felt she was wrongfully denied admission and discriminated against because she is white.
At Texas if you finish in the top 10% of your high school class you can be automatically admitted, though automatic admission doesn’t mean you’ll make it to your major of choice.
Ms. Fisher did not make the 10% cut off and the gag is she’s claiming discrimination. She felt the only reason she was denied was so the University could admit more black and latino students.
On Monday, June 29th the Supreme Court agreed to rehear Fisher’s case against the University of Texas, Austin, a case the high court already heard in 2013 and sent back. This is in addition to the courts’ 2003 ruling that race quotas as they were used at the University of Michigan were illegal but that using affirmative action to create meaningful diversity on campuses was important but could be unecessary in 25 years.
I understand people feeling discriminated against and I’m all for your right to protest when you feel you’re a victim. But why on earth would you sue a university because you didn’t get in? Child, have several seats. Take an arena if you need more space. The fact that X university or college is your dream school doesn’t give you a legal right to graduate from there. Pick a different god damn school!
The most irksome aspect of these affirmative action lawsuits, and there have been plenty, is the assumption that a black or latino person took a white person’s “spot.” Can’t you hear the privilege in thinking that you are entitled to a “spot” to a university, and if you don’t get it then you were definitely discriminated against and should sue for damages?
Affirmative action programs, which also includes white women in underrepresented fields by the way, are meant to destabilise academic institutions, corporations, and other areas where because of histories of white supremacy, poverty, white male privilege, slavery and institutional racism basically everyone who’s not male and white has been locked out. Affirmative action asserts that white (male) privilege is a real thing, as this Tumblr shows, and it tries to counteract the imbalance by opening doors to people who are qualified but who need a bit of a push.
In my lifetime I have certainly benefitted from affirmative action programs. I’ve gone to great schools and have participated in great summer programs and have had exciting diversity fellowship opportunities because of affirmative action. But just because a door opens to you doesn’t mean you’ll automatically succeed. Affirmative action programs are not a recipe for success.
Once the door is open you’ve got to do the work.
There’s long been an assumption that if you’re black or brown then you are automatically less qualified than a white person. If you do hold a prestigious position of some kind then you’re “just a diversity hire” and there’s a better white person out there waiting to be in your place.
I was once having a debate about affirmative action with someone who said that if black people were held up to “white standards” (lol wut) then we wouldn’t be admitted. He was essentially questioning my legitimacy and place and I was floored he had the balls to say it to my face.
Brown people in high places constantly have their legitimacy questioned and feel the need to prove they belong. White people almost never have to do this.
People don’t like affirmative action programs because they worry it’s the number one reason they didn’t get into Princeton or UT Austin. But show me the prestigious university, boardroom or company that’s freaking bursting at the seams because of all the brown people, poor people and women who’ve been admitted.
You can’t because it doesn’t exist.