One of the most pernicious effects of Jim Crow is that it won't go away. Before the 1964 Civil Rights Act, racist Democrats used the Jim Crow laws to secure their political base by preventing blacks from voting and generally participating in the economic life of the nation. After 1964, progressive Democrats used the Civil Rights Act and affirmative action as a means of wedding blacks to the Democrat party as a reliable voting bloc despite the demonstrable harm done to the social fabric of the nation and of black communities. Now, 50 years after the de jure end of segregation, we are still fighting that battle.
Yesterday, the US Supreme Court heard the case of Fisher versus University of Texas at Austin. The case is really quite simple. The plaintiff, a young woman named Abigail Fisher, was denied admission to UTA in favor of less academically qualified students because she had insufficient melanin. The university argues that "diversity" makes for a better educational experience and that more is good.
Diversity, it must be noted, is nothing more than a code word. The scions of middle-class and upper-middle-class black families, and these are the overwhelming beneficiaries of race-based college admissions programs, bring experiences nearly identical to kids from middle-class and upper-middle-class in terms of experiences. They lived in decent neighborhoods. They went to decent schools. They had parents who were involved in their education. The only difference is skin color or their surname. A university that was really committed to "diversity" would look to admit white kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, and there plenty of them out there, as well as black or Hispanic kids.
The UTA case is very important because, by law, the upper 10% of every high school graduating class gets automatic admission. This accounts for 75% of the incoming freshman class. Ms. Fisher fell outside that cut line and was competing for one the remaining spaces.
Advocates for a race-based spoils system had a hard day. There are five justices who have consistently opposed racial discrimination in college admissions. In this particular case, Anthony Kennedy's personal fetish for fairness will probably cut against the university.
During the course of the arguments, Justice Scalia made this statement:
In a remark that drew muted gasps in the courtroom, Justice Antonin Scalia said that minority students with inferior academic credentials may be better off at “a less advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”
“I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible,” he added.
This should be unremarkable. UTA is considered to be one of the "public Ivies," that is, a public university with an academic reputation on par with any of the
left wing hot houses Ivy League private universities. As the top 10 of Texas high school students make up 75% of each class, it stands to reason that the university should choose the very best candidates from among other applicants, because among them will be highly qualified foreign and out-of-state students. Choosing black kids simply because they are black, if they have a mediocre academic record, might make white university administrators feel good about themselves but it is a grave disservice to a student who may not be able to compete.
Predictably, the left pounced.
Justice Scalia Suggests Blacks Belong at "Slower" Colleges
Scalia: Affirmative Action Sends Blacks To Schools Too Advanced For Them
Justice Scalia: minority students may be better off going to 'lesser schools'
Dishonesty, of course, is its own reward in progressive media.
But there was racism readily apparent in the arguments and the source was Ruth Bader Ginsberg:
But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the top-10 program was itself problematic. “It seems to me that it is so obviously driven by one thing only, and that thing is race,” she said. “It’s totally dependent upon having racially segregated neighborhoods, racially segregated schools, and it operates as a disincentive for a minority student to step out of that segregated community and attempt to get an integrated education.”
This is simply stunning in its paternalism and a shocking revelation.
Let's unpack this. She thinks the only way a black kid can break into the top 10% of a high school graduating class is if they live in a predominantly black neighborhood and go to a predominantly black school. I say black because no one will ever make that argument about Asian kids. And she also believes that black kids can't even make the cut into the remaining seats at UTA without it being awarded to them based on skin color. And somehow, a kid that gets into that top 10 percent position in one of Ginsburg's "racially segregated school" somehow doesn't get one of them thar "integrated education[s]."
This is what racism looks like. It doesn't wear a hood an burn a cross anymore. It wears black robes, votes Democrat, sits on a bench and declares that blacks are simply inferior and without the federal government they would be well and truly rogered.