This week, the Supreme Court struck down race-based considerations in college admissions. While the news may not be surprising, it is jarring.
The decision speaks loudly that, for many, there is no desire to diversify collegiate student populations nor ensure that higher education learning spaces reflect the world in which they exist. It diminishes a long-standing (almost half a century!) precedent. This decision is an additional strike against the minimal civil rights foundation we have in this country, as well as a clear message about BY whom and FOR whom educational resources are reserved.
I can’t help but think about how dangerous this moment is. Affirmative Action may not have been perfect; it was, however, a small step toward racial justice that helped chip away at centuries of race-based inequities and discrimination in education and beyond. This decision recenters racist tropes and actions for Americans who see Affirmative Action as a handout rather than a mechanism to promote equity. The various actions we’ve seen in the recent months/years, such as “CRT” fear-mongering, book bans, and anti-DEI legislation, etc. are all part of the same larger agenda—a push toward a “colorblindness,” devoid of accountability where nothing changes because, ostensibly, nothing is wrong.
The SCOTUS ruling disregards the ongoing inequities produced by systemic racism and misrepresents Affirmation Action as a policy that hands historically excluded group identities an undeserved advantage. Additionally, we continue to see oppression olympics being played to continue division.
Instead of a scarcity mentality, this conversation should be one of abundance – the progress of one group does not necessitate the removal of another group, AND it should not pit various historically excluded groups against one another. It’s the oppressive systems that allow for the status quo to continue.
In response to this U.S. Supreme Court decision, we must consider ways to sustain racial equity initiatives on college campuses in this new era. VISIONS was founded in order to highlight (and minimize/diminish) these power differentials and to help ensure differences are recognized, understood, appreciated, and utilized for the benefit of all. We will remain diligent in continuing to help create environments where opportunity and access are available to everyone, especially those from historically excluded groups.
For those of you who are concerned about this ruling, I invite you to follow the NACAC website for ongoing guidance.