The Supreme Court is making me supremely cranky this week. If you don't want to read a rant, skip this intro.
I'm cranky about a lot of rulings right now, but I want to particularly call out the ruling that ended affirmative action. Well - it didn't end affirmative action completely. This country still needs people of color to carry the burden of military service so service academies were exempted. (This is BS.) Also, affirmative action for rich, (almost entirely) white people still exists. (This is also BS.)
Let's talk about legacy admissions in higher ed.
These are admissions where people are prioritized for admittance through their connections and wealth. Got a dad who went to Harvard? You're good! Did you cousin donate a building? Fine. You're in. Does a Dean happen to know you through family friendship? Come on down! Legacy admissions are affirmative action for white people who don't need any more help to stay ahead.
Did the Supreme Court end those? Nope.
So, not only are minoritized populations losing a route of access to higher ed - white people are benefiting even further by removing competition. It's complete BS! The affirmative action ruling didn't remove affirmative action for all - just affirmative action for people of color.
There are ways around this but the burden is shifted to students who don't need to carry any more work. Students are still welcome to talk about race in their admissions essays. So, now, you're forcing students to talk about things they may not want to talk about, relive, or share with the hopes that admissions counselors, who usually only have minutes to read a full admissions packet, will care. This is BS!
What higher ed should do (but won't) is start to use their endowment for scholarships particularly for minoritized populations. They can use their money how they want. Those with wealth should (but likely won't) endow scholarships for students who need it most.
Getting accepted to a spot in higher ed is hard - but the main burden becomes paying for that education once you have a spot. We can help alleviate both issues through targeted scholarships. Let's just call them Future Legacy Admissions. Plus, I like what Wisconsin is trying to do in granting admission to anyone who is the the top 5% of their class. It's not enough, but it's something.
This ruling is BS because it completely ignores reality. (Justice Jackson called it right.) Affirmative action was never just about race. It was a tiny part of the entire admissions process. This ruling is trash and is only going to hurt the progress of this country. We need diverse voices and experiences in our scholarship. It will improve all manner of study, research, and development.
I'm going to quote Ronald Brownstein in his recent piece for The Atlantic because it sums things up better than I could: "The choice to end affirmative action precisely as the nation’s youth population reaches unprecedented levels of diversity shows just how fiercely the gray may fight to avoid ceding power to the brown."