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Americans divided on Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action

Americans are divided by the Supreme Court overturning decades of precedent supporting affirmative action in college admissions, a policy that benefited otherwise disadvantaged students from racial or ethnic minority groups.

“Unfortunately, race still matters in our society and affirmative action is essential to ensure that everyone – not just the advantaged – receives an education that can serve as a pathway to upward mobility,” said Michael Williams, board member of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard at VOA. .

Harvard University, along with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, have been sued by Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit organization against racial classifications in college admissions. By ruling in their favor, the Supreme Court puts all Americans at a disadvantage, Williams said.

“Many of our college applicants have been systematically and deliberately excluded from certain aspects of our society and discriminated against on the basis of race, and a fair college admissions process must recognize these disadvantages,” Williams said. . “But it affects everyone because studies show that diverse institutions are better institutions. Affirmative action helps prepare all of our students for the diversity they will find in the workplace.”

Other Americans welcomed the High Court’s ruling against race-conscious admissions.

“America is meant to be a meritocracy, and race should have no role in college or career decisions,” said Angelica Garcia, a teacher in Saginaw, Michigan.

“To assume that every black and brown person has been through this underclass or inferior experience and needs help is racist,” she continued. “As a person of color, I worked hard for what I got and overcame a lot, and I hate that some people think I got accepted into college or my job only at because of my race.”

Born out of the civil rights movement

Race-conscious admissions to American universities grew out of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and laws supporting affirmative action in the American labor market. Colleges that adopted these policies were challenged in the Supreme Court, where justices ruled that while quota systems were an unconstitutional violation of equal protections, race could still be considered by universities as one factor among others. .

“Affirmative action has been implemented to address the long-standing exclusion and segregation of Black and Brown students in higher education and to recognize the persistent inequalities that students of color face at individual and systemic levels” said Edgar Saldivar, senior US civil liberties attorney. Union of Texas, told VOA.

The impact of the elimination is clear to Connie Chung Joe, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California.

“Without race-conscious admissions, racial segregation will increase in our nation’s colleges and universities,” she predicted. “This will disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, Latino, Pacific Islander, Hawaiian, and Asian communities. Entire generations of talented students of color will be denied the future they deserve.”

Politics has hurt, say opponents

Opponents of race-conscious admissions say it is the policy itself that has done harm by neglecting those excluded from preferential treatment.

“Maybe affirmative action was something necessary many years ago, but nowadays it was time to revisit it,” said Jillian Dani, a former teacher from Merritt Island, Florida. “I understand the desire to give minorities more opportunities, but in today’s world, minorities have the same opportunities as the rest of us.”

“All-women’s colleges exist and all-black colleges exist,” Dani told VOA. “But there are no all-white male colleges, even though poor white people are a real thing. They also miss opportunities, and affirmative action wasn’t helping them.”

Willow Hannington, a 20-year-old entrepreneur in San Diego, believes the decision to abolish affirmative action is positive for the country.

“This is an important step towards promoting a truly just and equal society,” she told VOA. “This nation has made significant progress and, in my opinion, race should no longer play a decisive role in any aspect of our lives.”

Schools are committed to diversity

In a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, a majority of Americans support this more “racial neutral” or “colorblind” approach. Following the ruling, many colleges and universities issued statements reaffirming their commitment to diversity.

“Eliminating the use of standardized test scores in admissions, increasing guaranteed financial support, expanding recruitment efforts to underserved communities, and developing strong middle and high school pipelines that benefit everyone. students are just some of the things that can be done,” Saldivar told VOA. .

Chicago’s Craig Mindrum has a strategy to add. Drawing on his experience on a graduate admissions committee, he said students should continue to talk about how their lived experiences and race have shaped their character, drive and talents.

“No legislation or court ruling will prevent me from making recommendations while taking into account minority or disadvantaged status,” he said. “Admissions counselors are people, not legislative robots, and across the country they will make the final decision on who is accepted into their college.”

USA voanews

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