Posts Tagged ‘Affirmative Action’



It’s been awhile since I wrote in this blog. It’s appeared to me that some Americans have become concerned about foreign Muslim terror cells coming into this country and killing, and slaughtering innocent lives. What’s been more present is the fear factor among some people who has created this hysteria. Even though among the 14 people killed in the recent San Bernardino killings, two of them were black, it has certainly been more fear mongering from the conservative pool which a majority of those voters are white.

I watched a recent short documentary on the KKK, which seems to be rekindling their old flames of hatred, bigotry, violence, ignorance and yes terrorism. It seems idiosyncratic that pundits on tv and newspapers jump to the word terror the second they get a whiff of a Muslim sounding or influenced name. On the other side of the coin, Dylan Roof the man who executed nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church didn’t get that same label. It seems the characterization of that name was just out of reach for America to grasp, not to African-Americans whom never forgot about these types of attacks. In the weeks following the shooting in Charleston there were 6 arson fires in the St Louis area. Most of them were set on black churches. For me, how I see it African-Americans have been living with domestic terrorism far as long as the first slave ships entered into “Turtle Island“(taken from the Aboriginal Creation story).

The issue is it’s not just a few church burnings that keeps black people in fear and delirium. It’s the domestic terrorist groups like the KKK and the White Knights that have woven their hatred in secrecy into different factions of society. One thing that should become unquestionable is the fact since blacks and other minority groups are fighting a war against hate mongers, is that two offensive fronts have been put in place. The ones we see everyday are what I would call your classic bigot in the spotlight. This includes, the likes of Bill O’ Reilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others who spew hatred the myth that the “White Man” is losing the country to N#$%% and Sp&^%, Jews and of course the Sand N%$%^.

These guys on the front lines of their views represent a portion of the country that feels affirmative action, welfare and other government programs are only out to help minority groups, even when the numbers prove they themselves are the top beneficiaries. More importantly than that are the racists and domestic terrorists that are hidden in the shadows and remain elusive. These men and women are more dangerous than any pundit, because just like the War on Terror, you don’t know who to look for and distinguish the rest from who are the real enemy.

One such case came to light back in 2006 when the FBI released a seven page document that revealed White Supremacist groups have actively pursued positions in law enforcement. Now, this may be new information to the mass public, but if you say this to anyone in a local black barbershop, you won’t even get a side look. This information has been long suspected among blacks, but my concern lies in what other pockets of government and public service could a potential White Supremacist be lurking. Could it be a congressman/woman, a judge, a doctor who you rely on on the operating table. The scary truth is as long as we don’t know anyone could be an agent. Like Neo from the Matrix fighting the agents, we just don’t know until they reveal their true selves.

One potential ally took a bold stance a month ago and released the names of possible affiliated KKK members. Anonymous who stated, “We are trying to change our world…”, even if this list is bogus, it does present evidence a chaotic coadjuvant relationship in positions of power that seems to create the balancing act circus that minorities have become uncomfortably accustomed to. The saying the pen is mightier than the sword speaks to the policies that were put into place that laid a foundation for the discriminatory practices such as Redlining, Sharecropping, Jim Crow among others. Black unemployment is at epidemic levels, black business ownership is way below any other race and house ownership is down as well. While walking into a massacre is probably the scariest scene one could ever encounter, we can’t undermine the back door meetings and operations that continually to plague communities that are underserved, set aside and forgotten about.

FILE - This Oct. 8, 2010 file photo shows the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court at the Supreme Court in Washington. Seated from left are Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing, from left are Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito Jr., and Elena Kagan.  The Supreme Court on Thursday, June 28, 2012, upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
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FILE – This Oct. 8, 2010 file photo shows the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court at the Supreme Court in Washington. Seated from left are Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing, from left are Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito Jr., and Elena Kagan. The Supreme Court on Thursday, June 28, 2012, upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama’s historic health care overhaul. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Just 10 years after the Supreme Court upheld the University of Michigan’s use of race in admissions as a necessary step to foster campus diversity, the justices are set to decide whether that state’s voters are allowed to ban affirmative action in admissions entirely.

The case, Schuette v Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, is one of several controversial cases on the docket in the 2013-14 term, which begins Monday.

The justices are also set to decide cases concerning campaign finance, prayer at legislative meetings, and abortion rights.

If the justices decide in Michigan voters’ favor, it could lead to a spate of states banning affirmative action through ballot initiatives and would almost certainly result in declining enrollments of minority students in public colleges around the country.

In 2006, Michigan voters approved a measure to amend the state constitution to prohibit the government from “discriminat[ing] against, or grant[ing] preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” The voter initiative, called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, effectively banned affirmative action at state schools.

The measure came just three years after the 2003 Grutter v Bollinger case, where the court decided in a 5-4 vote that the University of Michigan Law School could grant admissions preferences to minority applicants in the interest of fostering diversity for the entire study body. (The decision barred the use of racial admissions quotas, however.)

Black enrollment has plummeted 30 percent at Michigan’s undergraduate and law schools since the 2006 affirmative action ballot initiative. Nine other states have barred the use of race in admissions as well, and the Supreme Court’s decision this year could either cement those policies or effectively eliminate them, depending on its scope.

The architect of the 2003 Grutter v Bollinger decision, Sandra Day O’Connor, has since retired and been replaced by the more conservative Samuel Alito, shifting the balance of the court rightward. That has led legal experts to believe affirmative action could be on the chopping block the next time an acceptable case reached the court.

But last June, the justices surprised court watchers by passing on the opportunity to strike down the University of Texas’s use of affirmative action in undergraduate admissions, sending the case back down to a lower court for review. And this Michigan case is not a good platform for the justices to consider the legality of affirmative action itself, since it addresses whether a state may ban affirmative action, not whether affirmative action is constitutional.

“The court may say something that bears on the Grutter case, but it’s not going to overturn the Grutter case,” Gail Heriot, professor of law at the University of San Diego and an opponent of race-based affirmative action, told Yahoo News.

If the court ultimately reverses itself on affirmative action and declares it discriminatory, it would most likely be when the University of Texas case wends its way back to the court, she added.

But the stakes are still high, both for voters who want to ban the use of race in admissions in their state and universities who say it’s incredibly difficult to maintain racial diversity on campus if they’re required to use totally race-blind admissions.

The argument in favor of allowing Michigan’s ballot initiative is that it’s well within a state’s right to bar preferences and discrimination based on race. Just because the Supreme Court says the Constitution allows racial preferences in admissions doesn’t force a state to do so as well, the argument goes.

The case against the ballot initiative is not so straightforward.

Affirmative action defenders say the initiative puts minorities at a distinct disadvantage because it singles them out and says universities cannot favor or discriminate against them while not singling out other groups that might be eligible for special treatment, including legacies, athletes, and veterans. That means that the children of alumni, for example, could lobby a university to privilege them in admissions, but minority applicants would have no ability to do so since the initiative has made it explicitly illegal.

That’s where conservative leaning swing vote Anthony Kennedy comes in.

In 1996 Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Romer v. Evans, ruling that Colorado voters could not amend the state constitution to prevent the government from protecting gays and lesbians as their own group in anti-discrimination policies. Kennedy wrote that since this ballot initiative intended to single out gay people as ineligible for special protection, it violated their right to equal protection under the law.

Geoff Stone, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, says Kennedy will have to show that the Michigan ballot initiative is different from Romer and not discriminatory.

“In his own mind, [Kennedy] saw Romer as a law that was discriminating against gays and lesbians, whereas…he sees this as a law that simply guarantees racial equality,” Stone said. “It all depends on Kennedy.”

Most legal experts believe that Kennedy will join the four more conservative justices in upholding the Michigan ballot initiative. Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself, probably due to her work on the case as solicitor general under President Barack Obama. If the justices split 4-4, the lower court’s decision striking down the ballot initiative would stand.