Justices Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanagh and Barrett have delivered the American people a wonderful Independence Day gift with their majority opinion in Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard College and the University of North Carolina. The ruling overturns race-conscious college admissions.
Sadly, race-obsessed political leaders from the President to Congressional Democrats to union bosses condemn the ruling as anti-diversity and anti-Black. In California, a state where race-based affirmative action has been outlawed for the last 27 years, progressives have jumped on the group-shaming bandwagon in expressing outrage and defiance at the decision. Governor Newsom blames “[r]ight-wing activists — including those donning robes — … [for] trying to take us back to the era of book bans and segregated campuses.”
Such righteous indignation by proponents of race consciousness comports with their “feel-good, do-bad” pursuit of what Thomas Sowell defines as “cosmic justice,” a utopian conception of social justice. Cosmic justice “seeks to eliminate undeserved disadvantages for selected groups” based on arbitrary group characteristics. The problems with this self-flattering vision of the world around us are its shape-shifting moral requirements and its prohibitively high costs for the society as a whole. Sowell wittedly observes:
“Nature is remarkably uncooperative with our moral categories. There is no way to unscramble an egg.”
By “an egg,” Sowell is referring to contemporary America and its naturally diverse, multiracial and complex realities that defy simplistic racial classifications. Several developments in the Golden State by social justice warriors in the State Legislature and elsewhere are tantamount to the futile practice of unscrambling an egg.
In February, Assemblymembers Corey Jackson, David Alvarez, Mia Bonta and Akilah Weber introduced ACA 7, an Assembly Constitutional Amendment to erode Section 31 of Article I of the State Constitution (Prop. 209). If approved by voters on the 2024 ballot, California state agencies, universities and colleges would be permitted to discriminate on the basis of “race, color, ethnicity, national, origin, or marginalized genders, sexes, or sexual orientations” in any public programs, as long as the discriminator could prove the intent to improve outcomes and show validating research evidence. Instead of pushing for a direct repeal of Prop. 209, which failed disastrously in 2020, Democratic state lawmakers have chosen the route of stealth to add an exception that effectively overrides California’s state constitutional ban on racial preferences.
At the end of June, on the same day the Supreme Court announced its college admissions ruling, the California Reparations Task Force presented its final report to the State Legislature. The 40-chapter manuscript outlines an ambitious plan on restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, and other forms of reparations, conflating lineage (direct descendancy from slavery) with race (African Americans). Although it entered the Union in 1850 as a free state, the Task Force charges that California owes African Americans for its complicity in slavery and its subsequent culpability in post-Civil-War discrimination that has embedded white supremacy in American institutions to this day. There are over 100 proposals in the final report with the potential reach to an estimated 2 million black Californians through “free college tuition, a guaranteed income program, and cash payments that could exceed $1 million for some eligible African Americans.”
At its upcoming board meeting on July 12 to July 13, the State Board of Education will consider the revised version of the California 2023 Mathematics Framework (CAMF). Like the previous drafts, the updated CAMF is more concerned about embracing toxic identity politics than improving math education. Accusing mathematics as “a gatekeeper that shuts many students out of those pathways to success,” the authors urge for “teaching for equity and engagement” and “teaching toward social justice.” Math is to be infused with “culturally responsive teaching” that centers “contributions that historically marginalized people have made to mathematics.”
In response to the Supreme Court ruling, the University of California system vows to share its “expertise and lessons learned” with their higher education partners “to achieve a higher education landscape that reflects the rich diversity of our nation.”
A common thread connecting all these developments is an emphasis on race and other group identities. Putting Americans in rigid racial categories or treating race for race’s sake operates on a self-righteous assumption that “members of the same racial group—regardless of their age, education, economic status, or the community in which they live—think alike.” More importantly, it judges the dignity and worth of all Americans by ancestry instead of individual merit.
While the political status quo laments the long overdue expiration of race-based affirmative action, their demands for devising public policies based on race in perpetuity directly contravene the letter and spirit of the Fourteenth Amendment and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Their position is also opposite of the public will.
America has a growing, broad-based and national consensus for equal justice. The latest Pew Research Center polling suggests that Americans disfavor considering race and ethnicity in college admissions by a ratio of more than two-to-one. American voters of all backgrounds, even in our country’s most progressive strongholds like California, have consistently voted against race-based government action at ballot boxes.
After a decades-long civil rights movement waged by those who believe in this uncompromising truth, the Supreme Court has resolutely acknowledged the triumph of equality as the cornerstone of the American experiment over the shape-shifting dogma of “diversity and equity.” The Court concluded that “[r]acial and ethnic distinctions of any sort are inherently suspect” and that “[e]liminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”
Sadly, those who are accustomed to race-based thinking and political favoritism, including California’s establishment elites, are determined to attack the cornerstone value of colorblind equality and promote race-based government action at grave costs to all Americans.
- Supreme Court’s Affirmative Action Ruling a Win for America But not for California Progressives - July 7, 2023
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