The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing arguments in two affirmative action cases at the end of October to decide whether or not race should play a role in college admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. These cases could go against past rulings that allows colleges to consider a student’s race when deciding which students should be admitted. The lawsuits were brought by the anti-affirmative action organization Students for Fair Admissions, which is hoping to reverse policies determined by another Supreme Court ruling in 2016 involving the University of Texas. In that case, the court upheld race-conscious admissions policies by a narrow 4-3 margin, but the three dissenters are now joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all Trump appointees.
To be sure, we must have a discussion on how to open the doors for every American to reach their God-given potential. But undermining equal treatment for all and compromising standards of excellence in the pursuit of knowledge is not one of the ways to build a civil and healthy society.
After the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, as a people, we should have done what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself said. He said in his “I Have a Dream” speech, go back into the communities and build, because once the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, we as a nation no longer should’ve been looking at race as a special interest. Through all of these race programs, we should not have been thinking about race as a collective.
In fact if you look at that speech of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it was broken down into three parts. First he did speak to the nation about their blank check, about the race policies in the South.
Then he spoke to the Negro and he told them to go back into the community, and then he spoke to the nation’s Christians, people like himself and said, now let’s roll up our sleeves and get the hard part done, which is to make sure we incorporate everyone as Americans into this beautiful melting pot and dream.
Individually, of course, we’re uniquely made. There’s some beauty in all of us, and ethnicity has that attribute itself.
We don’t want to become race blind but we also don’t want to keep focusing. After the death of King, who removed those barriers – his march was about removing those barriers – progressives took us down a whole different path. The perception of racism became a business, because we started down this path of putting an emphasis on race. Next thing you know, we had affirmative action programs, racial preference programs.
And now you fast-forward that to today. There are very few discussions that can take place without emphasizing race. It has hurt us as a nation. It has kept this heavy emphasis on special interests, on ethnicity that Dr. King’s movement was to remove those barriers.
Instead of focusing on the color of our skin, let’s perhaps move forward in our thinking. Let’s rethink how we evaluate our students for college admissions.
I’m hoping that the Supreme Court takes the opportunity to dig deeper than they did the last time to say do we really need 25 years to figure out that people of all ethnicities can pursue their dream, that they can find themselves, that they have the capacity to self-govern?
We need to move to one that aids our country’s noble pursuit of truth. We need a system to build a more perfect union when it comes to what we’re learning in our colleges but also how our students are getting to college.
We need a union that uplifts every American, not based on the color of their skin – you’ve heard it before again and again – but on the content of their character.