Black Americans and White Americans: Affirmative Action – We’ll Keep our Scholars & Athletes.




( I’ve always had this gut wrenching feeling that Affirmative Action was on life support. When speaking of it, far too often black people are put in the position to explain why measures such as Affirmative Action is needed. While we are being told others understand our plight in this country, they understand the racism we face, and want to explain our experience to us…they don’t seem to understand Affirmative Action. It’s not understood even though it is a bi-product of what claims to be “understood”.  Black people have constantly had to live with an understanding that they must be better than any competition, because they will have to contend first and foremost with being Black in America. If one follows the history, we’ve always known separate wasn’t equal, but it was a state assigned to us by the powers that were.

Our people, with assistance, build our own universities to educate our people and feed our communities. However, being left to educate each other and thrive wasn’t enough. Our children involved themselves in sports and were allowed in once they were deemed profitable. Even if our scholars weren’t openly allowed, or merely tolerated, our athletes would eventually be courted with the promise of professional wealth and fame. If our great minds are not allowed to matriculate in institutions of higher education without racist discrimination it may be time to go home and take our prized athletes with us.

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Some can argue if the likes of the NBA and NFL want the prized talent that dominates most of their key positions, they need to be willing to go to the talent. Maybe it’s time for that talent to fill the HBCUs, and if we don’t have enough space…it’s time to build new Black universities. How many times will America show us that history is still the present. We are still unvalued as people and as citizens. How many more times will America, via the courts, tell us we are unprotected and are merely meant to be a means to an end. As a people we must band together as our ancestors once did and create a space for ourselves. A space whereby we can educate the bright minds of our community while allowing the space for said students to excel in athletics, and any other areas that they choose.

Our institutions are not inferior to predominantly white institutions; our children should not have to feel they must choose between a safe space and success. There are too many of our students that have traumatic academic stories to tell of being abused in white institutions merely because they are black, and their intelligence was displayed in the classroom. No institution is perfect, but clearly, we’re being told yet again we’re not welcomed, but maybe if we can run or dribble a ball. What is not respected is there are athletes that do take the student aspect seriously. What our people can bring to the campus experience by merit has never been valued.  It’s just time to build a table for ourselves, then move to protect those spaces. If affirmative action is gone…that can apply to all academic spaces.

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I find it ironic that when other POCs call themselves fighting for rights, it tends to be a consequence of for the Black American. They have been allowed to believe there is nothing worse than being Black without realizing it. This case that came before the Supreme Court came from the Asian community. I wonder if they had any idea what the consequences of their petition would be? Why is it they came for Affirmative Action which has its root in the Black movement for civil rights, but neglected to argue against legacy admissions which tend to benefit white students…especially in schools like Harvard? Why should we stand with POC communities when the Black community is collateral damage? Unfortunately, those that bought this case could still see their seats taken due to the legacy admission. So, there is a chance that the removal of Affirmative Action in universities still won’t give the results they want. However, the ruling will most certainly be used to bar qualified Blacks from admission to some universities.

Though it might not be a widely received position, it is time to bring out minds and talents back to our community. We must build new universities to house our scholars, and state of the art facilities for our athletes. It might be time to simply walk away from their table for our own. It’s time to work together and fight for the causes that are important to our community. The Affirmative Action ruling told us everything we need to know.

Staff Writer; Chelle’ St James

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May also connect with this sister via Twitter; ChelleStJames.