Reverend Jesse Jackson recently posted his opinion on Fisher vs. University of Texas, the latest Supreme Court case to challenge the role of affirmative action in colleges across the country. Jackson wrote on the controversy for his organization, Rainbow Push Coalition, a multiracial and multi-issue assembly fighting for social justice and civil rights.
Interestingly enough, part of Rainbow Push’s mission statement includes “leveling the playing fields” for economic and educational justice. This means creating more equal terms by which everyone can succeed. That’s the notion behind Fisher vs. University of Texas and the many other cases that have claimed a heaping of “reverse discrimination” and “preferential admissions” has been brought upon the Caucasion majority. Abigail Fisher, the student who was denied admission to the University of Texas in 2008, blamed her unacceptance into the school on the students of color who did gain admission.
Arguments in support of and in opposition to this case have undoubtedly ignited a fiery two-sided battle. Supporters of affirmative action may say that preferences over a specific race or ethnicity serve as reparation for the decades of discrimination and oppression among African Americans. Others who oppose the policies argue that the favoring of any particular person is discrimination and believe race should not constitute a person’s acceptance or denial into a school.
In either case, we shouldn’t forget the struggles of those who have benefited from affirmative action. Socioeconomic class divides and marginalization of the Black community in particular is still a pressing issue that creates many educational disadvantages. As long as racial inequalities continue to loom over us, we must continue to give everyone a chance at the American Dream.
Although the Supreme Court won’t hear arguments for the case until October, Reverend Jackson and others hope to protect the underrepresented and underprivileged in our country’s universities. The cost of campus diversity may be steep for some, but in the end, it may be a price worth paying.
Shelby Lewis is Communications and Technology Specialist and Student Life Intern majoring in Broadcast Journalism.