(NNPA)—The Roberts Supreme Court decided last week that voters in the state of Michigan had the right to ban affirmative action policies in college admissions. Michigan is one of many where mediocre White students challenge the fact that African-American students, far more qualified than they, have been admitted to college. This has happened in Texas and California, among other states.
These challenges to affirmative action have roots in the 1976 Bakke case, where the 38-year-old Alan Bakke sued because his application to medical school was rejected and he felt that he was displaced in favor of a minority student. The Supreme Court ordered Bakke admitted to the University of California at Davis, and also ruled that affirmative action was permissible under law.
What bothers me most about these anti affirmative action cases is the implicit White skin privilege that compels them. College admissions are an art, not a science. Students whose parents contribute generously to a college get an edge. In the name of diversity, a student from California, regardless of race, may get a bit of an edge at Dartmouth or Columbia. A violist, newspaper editor, or budding sports star, might also get a break. Meanwhile obdurate and privileged Whites don’t go after these people. Their ire is directed toward African-Americans and other people of color.