Dear Justice Scalia: Here’s what I learned as a black student struggling at an …

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dear Justice Scalia: Here’s what I learned as a black student struggling at an elite college.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia again stirred controversy in the high court with his questions on Wednesday during a hearing regarding the race-conscious admission plan at the University of Texas at Austin, appearing to scoff at the value of diversity at selective universities by sharply questioning whether African Americans might instead be helped by “having them go to a less-advanced school . . . a slower-track school where they do well.” Scalia’s comments also stirred ire among many who believe that under-served minorities should have a shot at the same kinds of elite education available to those who are wealthier or more connected. Here, Afi Scruggs, a freelance writer based in Cleveland, Ohio, explains what her struggles while attending a top U.S. university taught her, well beyond academics. Scalia’s notion missed the point of affirmative action entirely, though, as do similar critiques that such programs somehow take opportunities away from white people and give them to minorities. Fisher, who is white, claims that she was rejected because of her race through a process that does not comply with the Supreme Court’s previously established principles for race-conscious admissions.

But he lit a fire when he cited a friend-of-court brief that argued some blacks would do better at “slower-track” schools instead of being “pushed ahead in classes that are too fast” for them. They come from lesser schools.” Bloomberg pointed out Scalia was probably referring to a brief by University of San Diego law professor Gail Heriot and Cleveland attorney Peter Kirsanow.

American politics is often about the legacy of white supremacy — and often concerns how that legacy should be atoned for — but rarely is the subtext so in-your-face. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, who said Scalia’s thinking smacked of “the kind of prejudice that led to separate and unequal school systems.” And he provides examples of African-Americans who did just fine at tough universities. “I was shocked and amazed by Justice Antonin Scalia’s comments in the Fisher v. Before I arrived at Illinois, I had no experience studying Russian, though I did have a solid knowledge of Georgian from a two-year stint in the Peace Corps there.

For decades, universities have used affirmative action to promote diversity in student bodies and to ensure that minority students receive the same opportunities that white students receive. My GPA from undergraduate was solid, but my Graduate Record Exam scores were so poor I didn’t even meet the application requirements for some elite graduate Russian studies programs. If UT Austin’s race-conscious admissions policy is not upheld, the decision has the potential to end affirmative action at colleges and universities across the country. Therefore, it’s best that they be guided to the shallow end of the educational pool: less-selective institutions where they can be more comfortable and successful. Fortunately, Illinois looked at my Peace Corps experience, my undergraduate record at my tiny liberal arts college and other intangibles and awarded me an affirmative action fellowship after I was accepted into my program.

I also picked up another master’s degree in journalism and led a team of my peers on a two-week reporting trip to Romania and Italy, where we conducted in-depth reporting on Romania’s transition into the European Union. African American UT alumni flocked to social media under the hashtag, using it alongside photos of themselves wearing their graduation caps and gowns. Had it not been for my fellowship, I would not have had the opportunity to enter the field of Russian affairs — where there are very few African Americans.

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton, who attended the arguments, said he didn’t know “if I was in the courtroom at the United States Supreme Court or at a Donald Trump rally.” Charles Drew, the founder of the modern-day blood bank, attended Amherst on a football scholarship in the 1930s, and his medical innovations helped saved the lives of front line soldiers in World War II and are still saving lives today. “These are only three of a host of examples which prove African Americans can not only compete in the best schools in the nation, even in applied sciences, but they can excel and even surpass some of their classmates and colleagues, if given a fair opportunity. All of my graduate school classmates were white students who had studied Russian or some other Slavic language during their undergraduate careers; many had degrees in Russian studies.

The first time it heard the case, the Court reaffirmed the educational benefits of diversity, but they clarified one of the legal standards that need to be used when deciding whether any specific admissions program is constitutional. What I lacked in formal language training and academic knowledge of Russian and Eastern European history, I made up for with on-the-ground experience and a fresh outlook on the region that none of my classmates had. What’s more, 168 African American and Hispanic applicants with academic credentials either equal to or higher than Fisher’s were also denied admission.

It leads me to question his ability to make impartial judgments in this case.” The results of an internal investigation into how personal information, including social security numbers, drivers license numbers and dates of birth of Georgia’s 6.2 million registered voters, was accidentally distributed to a dozen news and political party organizations will not be released today as originally planned. It’s the idea that affirmative action brings minority students into universities where their academic credentials are significantly lower than the typical student, and so these minority students are less likely to persist with difficult majors like science and engineering than they would have been at a less-selective school. “Scalia was certainly oversimplifying, but there is a large literature on this problem,” said Richard Sander, a University of California Los Angeles law professor who co-wrote a book titled Mismatch. According to a representative of the Secretary of State’s office, employees are continuing to prepare the report and supporting background documents. In my current work as a journalist, my knowledge of Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe helps me to tell stories of the black experience from places where many Americans never thought black people existed.

But — here’s a taste of how contentious this theory is — Matthew Chingos, an education expert at the Urban Institute, did his own analysis of the same data and found the results to “only marginally” hold up to scrutiny and that the relationship to affirmative action was weak. During a weekend recruiting visit for students of color, economist Milton Friedman explained how laws barring discrimination interfered with a business owner’s right to determine his customers. The reason too many are trapped is because some in the education establishment have chosen to prioritize the needs of the bureaucracy over the achievements of their students. I’m not the only example, either: A recent study found that black people with college degrees — even in math and science — have a harder time finding jobs compared to their white peers with the same experience.

Following Scalia’s remarks, Chingos wrote in an Urban Institute blog that Scalia’s “viewpoint withers upon closer examination” because the theory has largely been discredited by social science. A group of 11 leading experts in quantitative social science filed their own brief to the Supreme Court arguing that the Court should not consider the mismatch theory when deciding the case. And the median income of black and Hispanic people with degrees dropped between 1992 and 2013; white and Asian graduates saw their incomes increase by double-digits during the same time frame. The university does a holistic review of every candidate’s application, which means looking at test scores, looking at grades, community service, looking at gender, looking at if somebody’s first generation — anything like that. I look forward to continuing my work for the people of Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District.” Johnson survived a tough primary challenge in 2014 against former DeKalb County Sheriff Tom Brown.

Had Illinois viewed my previous lack of formal academic training as a disadvantage, I never would have had an opportunity to prove that I could, in fact, excel in this field. I was precisely the kind of student affirmative action is supposed to support: a young person who wants to study more and has the smarts to do so, but doesn’t have quite the right exposure or background, even though under the right circumstances, I could flourish. Here’s what struggling at an advanced institution taught me: How to set my own standards for success: My second-year Russian teacher calculated his grades on mistakes made.

The future of the republic depends on it, as a blast email in Broun’s name describes: You see, Friend, The Tea Party Primary, a project of your Tea Party Leadership Fund and TheTeaParty.net, has stepped up to take on the mainstream media and the GOP establishment who do not have the best interests of the American people in mind. After you cast your ballot…. please chip in $5 or $25 and make sure we are able to put this message in the hands of every tea party voter across America. The Washington Republican establishment got together at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant to fret and plan about Donald Trump forcing a brokered GOP convention next year.

The only relief she’s seeking in this case is a refund of her application fee, but [the part of the university’s application being challenged] didn’t actually cause her to pay for the application fee in the first place. From the Washington Post: Weighing in on that scenario as Priebus and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) listened, several longtime Republican power brokers argued that if the controversial billionaire storms through the primaries, the party’s establishment must lay the groundwork for a floor fight in which the GOP’s mainstream wing could coalesce around an alternative, the people said. The development represents a major shift for veteran Republican strategists, who until this month had spoken of a brokered convention only in the most hypothetical terms — and had tried to encourage a drama-free nomination by limiting debates and setting an earlier convention date. At the very least, this seems like an extremely inappropriate vehicle for making sweeping decisions about the use of race in admissions throughout the country.

But that would have such a chilling effect on other universities, or make the bar so high for considering race that it becomes practically impossible. He seems to feel very strongly about diversity being a compelling interest, [that] it should be pursued — especially by institutions of higher learning. And to be told that there’s one little factor, race, that you cannot mention — no matter how much you feel like that is a part of your identity — that can be really harmful for somebody’s own sense of who they are, their own sense of dignity. Many people, especially in this sense of current environment, where it’s very clear how much race matters — both on campuses and in the outside world — can feel very strong about their racial identities, and can feel a lot of harm from not being able to express them.

That’s something I think Kennedy will be able to understand, much in the way that he understood the harms to dignity in the marriage equality cases that were heard in the last couple of years. Ultimately, I wonder what proponents are actually trying to protect: a system that includes black students who are like I was, or a status quo that keeps them out?

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