EDITORIAL: Validation of affirmative action ban reverses social progress

Diversity is a desirable trait for society. However, it won’t always occur on its own.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s right to ban preferential treatment to minorities in university admissions. This is a mistake.

Although a 2006 Michigan voter referendum called to end affirmative within public entities, a federal appeals court invalidated the ban in 2012. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals found the ban unconstitutional because it halted minorities’ social progress.

While the ruling focused on who had the authority to legislate a ban on affirmative action, it carries an unintended consequence.

Banning affirmative action specifically makes it more difficult for minorities to obtain university acceptance. It perpetuates discrimination and is a step away from true equality.

In an ideal society, discrimination and preference to the white, upper-class majority would not exist. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Although progress has been made since segregation and the Civil Rights movement, disadvantaged minorities still need the rule to level the playing field and avoid discrimination.

With respect to the democratic right of a voting majority, enforcing a ban on affirmative action will ensure that prejudice remains embedded in our American way of life. It reverses years of social change and cannot be allowed.

The ruling allows states the authority to ban affirmative action. While the voice of the people should hold the most influence in politics, it implies that voters have a right to create discriminatory practices.

While the appeals court was protecting our constitution when it invalidated the ban, the Supreme Court is dismantling it. The court has a right to interfere when it comes to discriminatory practices, regardless of voter approval.

In the ‘20s, courts interfered when voters approved an initiative that only whites would be able to vote in primary elections. In the ‘50s, the court stepped in when Alabama abolished Tuskegee County due to the high number of blacks registering to vote.

To imply that the court cannot interfere in this instance is preposterous.

Universities are able to admit athletes for their athletic abilities, and legacy students because of their parents. Institutions like Central Michigan University can admit students based on area of study or geographic origin.

Denying affirmative action programs and eliminating race from the admissions process eliminates diversity from the picture, while still allowing similar factors to play a part.

Students should be admitted largely on merit and academic ability, the idea is to embrace multiculturalism – not to create a color-blind society. Minorities should be proud of their heritage, and know that in the United States, they will receive the same level of treatment as their peers.

Eliminating policies designed to give fair treatment are the antithesis of equality. Affirmative action has gone a long way toward alleviating preferential treatment, but it is not time to end it just yet.


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