The Supreme Court recently ruled against the use of race in college admissions at both public and private universities. In response, many progressives melted down and claimed this would herald an end to racial progress and sabotage the prospects of black Americans.
But as it turns out, a plurality of black people approve of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Overall, 59% of Americans approve of the ruling, a new The Economist/YouGov survey reveals. Yet among black Americans, 44% approve of it while just 36% disapprove. (21% said they weren’t sure). That means more black respondents approve of the Supreme Court’s ruling against Affirmative Action than disapprove.
You might be wondering: Why wouldn’t black people want to preserve a system that helps black applicants? Well, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who is black and joined the ruling against Affirmative Action, explained his line of thinking extensively in his concurring opinion.
For one, Affirmative Action policies that place minority students into colleges they wouldn’t have otherwise been accepted into on their own sets them up for failure and worsen the racial academic achievement gap.
“Affirmative action’ policies do nothing to increase the overall number of blacks and Hispanics able to access a college education,” Thomas writes. “Rather, those racial policies simply redistribute individuals among institutions of higher learning, placing some into more competitive institutions than they otherwise would have attended. Studies suggest that large racial preferences for black and Hispanic applicants have led to a disproportionately large share of those students receiving mediocre or poor grades once they arrive in competitive collegiate environments.”
Secondly, Affirmative Action policies unfairly taint all minorities who succeed with the suspicion that they are only in their current position because of diversity efforts.
“Large racial preferences in college admissions stamp blacks and Hispanics with a badge of inferiority,” Thomas has written. “They thus taint the accomplishments of all those who are admitted as a result of racial discrimination as well as all those who are the same race as those admitted as a result of racial discrimination because no one can distinguish those students from the ones whose race played a role in their admission.”
“Consequently, when blacks and, now, Hispanics take positions in the highest places of government, industry, or academia, it is an open question . . . whether their skin color played a part in their advancement,” the justice further notes. “The question itself is the stigma—because either racial discrimination did play a role, in which case the person may be deemed ‘otherwise unqualified,’ or it did not, in which case asking the question itself unfairly marks those . . . who would succeed without discrimination.”
This isn’t merely theoretical. According to Pew Research, 35% of black Americans say they have been disadvantaged by “efforts to increase racial and ethnic diversity” whereas only 20% feel they have been advantaged by them.
That’s right: More black people feel that Affirmative Action policies have harmed them than helped them.