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Separate and Not Equal: Black Students and Affirmative Action


On June 29, 2023, the most conservative Supreme Court, made up of “alleged,” sexual predators and at least one thief and tax evader (who is allegedly all three), decided that racial consideration (under the umbrella of Affirmative Action) is no longer legal in the United States and that colleges can no longer take that into consideration. Let us not forget that Affirmative Action isn’t simply about giving an advantage but making sure those who qualify even under the most rigorous standards are not disqualified because of their race, which frequently occurs; hello Black sounding name, is that you?

In a world where white people have thrived from advantages: connections, better socioeconomic statuses, access to tutors, nepotism and making more money across the board, the moment there is any perceived slight to white, everyone must suffer. 

The junk science that is often circulated by white supremacists and even color-struck Asians who are not fully aware that white people are not going to hold a torch for them is that Black people are inherently less intelligent. This information is via I.Q. testing, the same I.Q. tests that are routinely called out for their bias. Black people, an entire culture of international influence, is somehow the loser here. Black people, the culture whose dress, style, speech pattern (that is also ridiculed but consumed nonetheless) and general drip are continuously on the inspo and vision boards of cultures around the world, are somehow not worthy of the same opportunities. But I guess there is a difference between being the model minority and being the minority everything is modeled from. 

Plessy V Ferguson was another landmark Supreme Court case from 1896 that denoted separate but equal accommodations, which also filtered over into public education until the landmark case of Brown v The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, in 1954, reversed that ruling. Brown saw eventual desegregation and integration but there were still schools that were segregated into the 1970s. Today, separate but equal is still very much the undercurrent of today’s education system. Gentrification is absolutely occurring in poor Black neighborhoods and is being aided by the closing of schools around the country.  According to the LA Times, this also speeds up gentrification and increases property values anywhere from 19 to 27 percent, particularly in Black communities forcing Black residents out. This leaves Black children without a school or having to travel much farther distances than white students, and effectively without a home. Public schools are funded by taxpayer dollars, but any assumption that schools are somehow equally funded is extremely incorrect. Schools are funded by tax dollars in their particular region, so poorer schools receive less money.  Many parents are enticed into sending their children to charter schools which are not regulated by the federal government but still receive government funding, this funding also comes out of those already struggling poor schools, further hurting its current students.

Charter schools, which are notoriously plagued by fraud, are not popping up in affluent white communities.  They are mostly located in poor, minority communities. Just because charters have privatized education does not mean that all private schools are the same or that they are anywhere near being on par with well-maintained and well-funded rich private schools whose parents have enough wealth and resources to demand results. In a world that fights so hard for any mention of race taught in public schools, it is interesting that those same people are fighting hard for charter schools that are not subject to the same standards as public schools. A study published by the Network for Public Education via Forbes in 2019 revealed that charter school waste and fraud had reached over a billion dollars, further disenfranchising the minority students these schools were tasked with serving. 

Everyone understands the concept of generational wealth, but people seem to forget that generational conditions are not simply a positive.

The socioeconomic effects of generational trauma are just as real as nepotism and a 23-year-old C student who is also a CEO. Kenny Xu was interviewed about Affirmative Action rollbacks when it came to college students, well, he was specifically and repeatedly asked if there should be any consideration for students who come from socioeconomically disenfranchised backgrounds and all he had to offer was to default to Asian test scores versus Black test scores. 

But the gag is Black students make up a very small demographic at most Ivy League schools. 

According to the Harvard Crimson, Take Harvard legacy students make up 5 percent of applicants, yet they are around 30 percent of the admissions, and they are 67.8 percent of them are white. Where Black students’ low test scores are always brought into question, the merits of legacy students are never on trial. Students from poor Black neighborhoods are the problem, not students from rich white ones, but I guess it is always easier to punch down when your reach is weak. Asking these elite schools to give up donor money in place of equity sounds like an exercise in futility. Black students represent a smaller class population than is represented in the U.S. population, while Asian students are a much higher percentage, but somehow Black students are the scapegoat for Asian and white students not being admitted, even in schools that do not consider race, like UC Berkley. 

The thought that a Black kid took someone’s spot and not a rich white one is an example of deeply embedded racism. A marginalized Black child having a perceived advantage is something they shouldn’t have, but a rich white student’s advantages are somehow more understandable and a goal even, and are not a deviation from the perceived status quo, and that an Asian student or a white student is entitled to that spot.

The only silver lining here is that now Black students will no longer be blamed for the inadequacy of others.

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