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Friday, December 08, 2006

Kick the defenseless... it's fun!

A front page New York Times article yesterday investigated the rapidly diminishing caseload of the U.S. Supreme Court and attributed the light dockets to a couple of things including: 1. More conservative lower courts 2. A Chief Justice who has railed against hearing too many cases and 3. Congressional gridlock that has lowered the number of laws passed.

What I find interesting in this article is the statement that with fewer cases being heard, most of those have little impact on the lives of everyday Americans. This particular court seems to shy away from those high profile cases -- with one high profile exception: racial matters such as Affirmative Action.

I know I'm giving in to divisiveness here, but it strikes me that the current assault on Affirmative Action is the consolation prize for their fear of going after Roe v. Wade. With O'Conner gone, it would have been a more perfect time to go after that grail. It was perfect even when she was there because the court had a conservative "mandate." But, O'Conner, unlike the very sad case of Clarence Thomas, believed she was part of a community of women and even though very much a conservative, she protected that law with her vote.

Women maintain a solidarity that America -- and the Supreme Court -- respects.

Racially, however, it's been another story: from no-knock warrants, traffic stops, Affirmative Action, mandatory minimums for crack, racial harrassment at the job, it's been one thumb in the eye after another for African Americans and other people of color. And, Thomas has been on the front line of every assault.

It is so far out of whack now that the re-formed, ultra-conservative Department of Justice has made it a mission to go after instances of "reverse discrimination." Situations where white people are at a disadvantage. While it's not necessary to dump on white people and any truly discriminatory system should be abolished, Affirmative Action, particularly in the workplace and college admission, ain't it.

With African Americans already underrepresented in colleges, we are talking about fractions of a percent of admissions that some white students are haggling over. The woman who was denied entrance into the University of Michigan has really gone over the top. She said if she was an African American or Hispanic, she would have been admitted. The reality is that the inner city kids who had none of her advantages (she went to a good suburban school, had two parents, I'm guessing she paid for some college prep test materials) overcame much more than she ever had to to get the same score as she did. I'd choose them, too. Their success has potentially more effect on their communities than the woman who is suing.

Make no mistake here -- this woman DID NOT score higher than the African American applicants she claims "stole" her spot. Her argument is that despite her existing social advantages; she should also have the advantage of not having programs to help the disadvantaged.

I wonder how this woman feels about fire departments who have revised their requirements to make sure women can have a shot. I wonder how she feels about programs, such as mentoring programs, that have the aim of breaking up a history of discrimination that lead to the Glass Ceiling for women executives?

And, let me tell you. Michigan was one of the schools I applied to. I had a very good ACT score and I didn't get in. I'm African American. Should I have sued?

So, as I contemplate a Justice Department that sides with Ward Connerly (who admittedly sides with the Ku Klux Klan in regards to abolishing Affirmative Action), a slow-moving Supreme Court thatactively pursued an Affirmative Action case that had been settled in the lower courts, the inviolate status of Roe v. Wade, I come up with one conclusion: the latest war of division is to pit white women against people of color. It's not new, but it is apparently re-invigorated.

Wouldn't it be great if we combined forces and said "bullshit" this time?

link | posted by Jae at 7:17 AM |


Blogger Renegade Eye commented at 5:21 PM~  

Powerful post.

Racism is the bedrock of the system.

Blogger GraemeAnfinson commented at 10:07 PM~  

Very good post. Joining forces is the solution of almost every problem I believe.

I think this "reverse discrimination" nonsense comes from people wanting to feel attacked. You know the people, the ones who yap all day about the "war on Christmas" and other "culture wars." The kind of people that believe that their Christianity is under attack all the time, secular people are going to ban the bible and have gay sex on every street corner. I deal with a lot of these nuts.

Blogger Renegade Eye commented at 1:35 PM~  

Only a mass movement can defend, hard won affirmative action.

Blogger troutsky commented at 10:14 PM~  

A case can be made that to much emphasis on race and gender identity deflects our attention from the real issue of class.I personally think there is a way to not prioritize issues of justice, not let that be a divider as well.Still, I would rather see a poor peoples march on Washington than a black peoples march.

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