AFRICANGLOBE – A Supreme Court justice’s suggestion that some African-American students belong in less-rigorous schools than white students and that Black students at the University of Texas at Austin do not perform well is being met with some expected backlash.
“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less — a slower-track school where they do well,” Scalia said, according to the transcript.
Abigail Fisher, a white antagonist who was rejected from the university, sued the school for violating the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth amendment. The decision to rehear the case, which began in 2008 after she was denied admittance, came this summer.
Scalia went on to say that “(African-American students) come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them. … And 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.”
“It’s so heartening to see Scalia, a Supreme Court justice, think so negatively of a whole race of people,” Jillian Kushner, a University of Texas at Austin senior, said. “He basically said that affirmative action puts Blacks into schools that are too good for them. To me, that statement comes from hate, not logic.”
“I don’t think the solution to the problems with student body diversity can be to set up a system in which not only are minorities going to separate schools, they’re going to inferior schools,” responded the university’s attorney, Gregory G. Garre, a partner in Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C.
He also said that “diversity (would) plummet, especially among African Americans. … Now is not the time and this is not the case to roll back student body diversity in America.”
Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director at the Judicial Crisis Network and a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, told CNN that Scalia wasn’t implying Black students are inferior, “‘but referencing an amicus brief on the ‘mismatch’ theory.’ … The idea is that if a student is admitted to a school they are not academically prepared for then they will not perform up to their own potential. This is a theory — contested of course — but I don’t want people to get the idea that it means that all Black students are not as smart as white students.’”
Many on Twitter, including students and celebrities alike, took issue with Scalia’s points.
— Chris Tsotsoros (@ctsotsoros) December 9, 2015
me: *is black* me: *is graduating from UT next spring, likely with honors, and with a job lined up* stay mad, Scalia.
— Chelsea Brown (@chelseahhhh) December 9, 2015
Justice Scalia’s comments yesterday are racist in application, if not intent. It undermines the academic achievements of African-Americans.
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) December 10, 2015
A decision in the case is expected by the end of June.
By: Alexandra Samuels