(ThyBlackMan.com) The Supreme Court is taking the time to rock everything at its core. Once could be made to feel like Civil Rights in America are under attack. The truth is they were always under attack. We’ve watched abortion lose federal protection, as it now falls under the jurisdiction of state law. Now we’ve watched Affirmative Action in universities fall. This has caused a lot of mixed emotions among American. Some feel there is no need for Affirmative Action; if you have the merit and work hard for a position you can achieve whatever you strive for. There are those that want to find their place in the American fabric, and they felt Affirmative Action took from them to create space for other…regardless of qualification. Lastly, there are those that know Affirmative Action is necessary, because if we would all be able to achieve based on merit some groups would be further along in society than they are. There are groups in this country that have faced historical to present marginalization, and they are the reason for Affirmative Action…even if they are not the biggest beneficiaries.
I believe it is important to have a conversation about why Affirmative Action is necessary, before seeing it as a free space for the unqualified. If this conversation can be had openly with those that are opposed genuinely looking at the track record our country has for equality…maybe, we can get somewhere. First and foremost, Affirmative Action was not created to give space to the unqualified. It was created to make space for the qualified that was not available due to bias, inequality, and racism.
We have to be honest about the history of this country. America has never treated Black people as human beings, nor as valued citizens. Let’s be honest…those from the past may have never intended for slavery to end, and it is apparent in the way Black people have been treated since. No other group has been relegated to a sub-human designation in the way Black people were…and too many still believe it to be so. Because of this, it is important to understand that no level of qualification can top that position.
There have been more times than history can count where Black people were excluded from universities, employment, housing, and even the military for no other reason than they were Black. They were just as qualified as their White counterpart, if not more, but what they looked like barred them from advancing…so the idea that Affirmative Action gave space to the unqualified has been debunked repeatedly. When allowed to thrive, Black people in this country were always able to show they were more than capable academically, and professionally. To be fair, this should not be a surprise as the enslaved built the country. They not only did the work but came up with many inventions to help facilitate said work. They found new methods to build, grow, and survive that would benefit slave owners when nature proved to be an adversary to everyone. Yet, in order to fight against Affirmative Action all of the truths and facts must be ignored…dismissed.
In addition to the issues surrounding race, Affirmative Action would also champion women. Gender is the other part of this situation. Many women have had the qualifications for enrollment, and positions but were denied simply because they were not men. I understand the argument that we should not have to create a system to make room for a particular group when everyone should be able to excel and receive opportunity by merit. The problem with this argument is simple…racism and discrimination are woven into the fabric of this country. For every argument that we are in a post-racial society, we’re reminded that we have not arrived at that place. Spaces are still needing to be created because the qualified are left an unfortunate battle that eats at the humanity of the individual.
Our Supreme Court made a huge mistake. They removed Affirmative Action when there was nothing in place to address the reason that it is necessary. When I think about history …it is almost like the federal government pulling the troops out of the South in 1877 at the end of Reconstruction without any plan to address the issues that made the troops necessary. Until America can learn not to deal in systemic racism, sexism, discrimination there has to be something in place that allows the qualified to have a fair opportunity to succeed in this country.
Staff Writer; Christian Starr
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