This is was intended to be my first blog. But it took me a year to launch The Fifth Letter website from this initial writing. Since the information is still timely for public debated and political action, I decided to let this post stand as food for thought and a motivator for political action to create change in America.
As many of you know last year, the U..S. Supreme Court kicked the matter of Affirmative Action in public higher educations back to the states for a political resolution in a 6 to 2 decision. Justice Sotomayor defended Affirmative Action, but she’s just one vote.
It takes five justices to make the laws in America.
The U.S. Supreme Court decided not to deal with he issue of racial injustice in public education.
That’s what they always do with tough issues when the people show no will to face the confront extreme injustice.
Thus it still seems fitting that I would address the Affirmative Action issue as one of my first efforts to enter the national debates on topics that matter as we move toward unity as a nation and improving our economic competitiveness in the world. What I can do today is add my voice to the debate.
The U.S. Supreme Court took up the issue of Affirmative Action again in October 2013 as one of their first cases of the new term.
And, again The University of Michigan is in the middle of the battle.
In 2003, the Supreme Court held up the University of Michigan’s Law School Affirmative Action policy. The opponents launched a statewide referendum, called Proposal Two to bar all admissions to the university based on race, gender and national origin–amending the state’s constitution.
The ban passed by 58 percent in a racially charged campaign.
The Supreme Court should not allow the majority in any state to oppress the rights of its minorities granted under the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Court shouldn’t make another Dred Scott decision, ignoring the reality of racism in this country and the failure of our public education system to provide equal access to quality education to all. In Michigan, the wealth of the local school district determines the level of state funding for public education, resulting in vast funding differences.
That outdated funding practice does not lead to equal educational outcomes for the majority of Blacks locked in Detroit Public Schools. Is racism part of Detroit’s problem? Yes.
In a 2007 Opinion, Chief Justice Roberts said in Parents Involved v. Seattle School District, “The way to stop discrimination on race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
Well at this point in time, the evidence is suggesting Chief Justice Roberts needs to carefully reconsider his position. Since the passage of the 2003 Michigan ban on Affirmative Action and the abandonment of the use of race, gender or national origin to promote diversity in its colleges and universities—minority enrollment has plummeted. Why?
The historical effects of racism and sexism still impacts opportunities in America.
As a case in point, The University of Michigan’s College of Engineering has seen the representation of underrepresented minorities drop from 14 percent in 2003 to 7.7 percent in 2013 and that counts foreign-born students who represent themselves as African Americans without challenge by the University.
The number of American-born African Americans and women enrolled in the College of Engineering has take a nose drive—while the number of foreign students has increased by the corresponding decrease in underrepresented minorities. Now foreign students are the majority of students in the graduate program at Michigan’s College of Engineering.
If things continue as is, it won’t be long before international students are the majority in the undergraduate program too.
Let’s hope that the Supreme Court looks at the data and understands that the competitiveness of this country depends on being able to education U.S. citizens from diverse backgrounds. We need to have a diverse student body that includes international students from all over the world—not just Asia. Great universities needs student bodies that represent all cultures and takes the best intellectual insights from all.
Nobody knows where God planted a great intellect.
It could be buried in Detroit Public Schools. All students trapped in failing public educations systems should have a fair chance to make it in America.
The elected Regents at University of Michigan and the state’s other colleges and universities should be allow to manage the state’s interest as they did before the out-of-state interests decided to expend huge sums of monies to trick Michigan voters into voting for something that wasn’t in the state’s collective best interest. It should be recalled that the states Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Dick DeVos, cited unintended consequences as the reason he opposed Proposal Two.
At the end of the statewide campaign, the out of state agitators played the race card.
Nobody paid attention to the fact that the Blacks didn’t hold enough seats to really make a difference at The University of Michigan. Consider: Who were the big winners?
Maybe that’s who had the economic incentives to fund the primarily out-of-state financed Proposal Two campaign. This wasn’t about Michigan citizens coming up with an issue on their own.
It was about out-of-state people fanning racism in Michigan to divide its citizens.
Since 2003, qualified Michigan residents who could perform at The University of Michigan—both Black and white—have been denied admission because of the Affirmative Actions ban. If Michigan residents can’t educate their qualified children at its great state institutions, how does Michigan regain its position as the manufacturing capital of the world?
Racism isn’t the only issue that needs to be considered in the Michigan Affirmative Action case. It is politically correct to make provisions to educate our citizens so America can protect its economic interests. Everybody needs to wake up before we lose this great institution and only a minority of our children will be able to gain admission because certain interests rubbed our racial wounds before they had time to heal.
We need enlightened self-interest to arrive at the right result for our country.
I had hoped the Supreme Court justices would see the wisdom in making a way for all groups of its citizens to gain access to this country’s great educational institutions, regardless of the circumstances of their birth and their zip codes. But since they didn’t have the courage to rule for the weak, do we have the courage to take on the issue in the political arena? That’s the only way we’re going to create educational opportunities for all. We must create political pressure using peaceful means to create lasting change. We must increase understanding. We must have compassion.
What do you think?