Tag Archives: Affirmative Action

IT’S TIME FOR THE CONSCIOUS COMMUNITY TO END THE UMAR DEBATES AND TURN THEIR ATTENTION TOWARD EDWARD BLUM

When it comes to grievances regarding substantive issues, there is a seismic difference between how African-Americans and non-black populations react. The latter never limit their response to attacks on their group to like-minded individuals within their community. Consider for a moment, the following case.

During a recent radio show addressing the Proctor & Gamble commercial about racial bias, several African-American callers chimed in with their feelings about the issue. However, it was not until a white female called in to share not only her feelings but also what action she had taken. This anonymous caller stated that she called the company to both express her feelings regarding the matter and inform them of her decision to no longer remain a “loyal customer” to their products. Notice that her angst moved into definitive action that extended further than condemnation shared with friends and family.

In many ways, it appears that the training African-American activists undergo amount today to little more than ill-planned public marches/protests that amount to nothing. It does not take a genius to realize that the antiquated protest strategies of yesteryear that serve as a template for contemporary protests — mass assemblies, the carrying of placards, wearing of T-shirt’s with catchy slogans, and the singing of a modern rendition of We Shall Overcome or Amazing Grace — will never move the race forward.

Black America’s contemporary opponents have neither feelings nor a moral compass when it comes to substantive matters such as land ownership, political power, finances, the development of school curriculums, the incarceration of black men and women, or access to higher education. If we learn nothing else from the historical record of being black in America, it should be obvious that our opponents are deadly serious about developing and executing resources to buttress their already existing politico-economic monopolies.

While African-American activists remain at each others throat regarding anything associated with Umar Johnson, the enemy has remained busy formulating and executing devious plans to ensure African-Americans second-class citizenship status. Consider for a moment that while black activists have argued, debated, and fought one another regarding Umar Johnson, Edward Blum has been neither addressed nor ‘dealt with’ by our revolutionary class.

I am confident that our failure to address Blum is largely a by-product of the unfortunate reality that the “conscious community” has no idea of who Edward Blum is or how destructive he has been to Black America. I doubt that many realize that Blum is spearheading several initiatives to obliterate African-Americans access to higher education via well-orchestrated attacks on Affirmative Action.

Edward Blum is a “legal strategist” whose life purpose is curtailing African-Americans access to higher education by bringing court cases against Affirmative Action programs via the Project on Fair Representation; an organization that Blum founded in 2005. Blum is the only member of the group. Although there is a natural inclination to dismiss the Project on Fair Representation as a joke as it has a membership of one, such dismissive ness would be a gross error as the organization has been instrumental in bringing six cases before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Affirmative Action. Blum’s organization has emerged victorious in four of these cases.

Unbeknownst to most people, Blum was behind the recent attack on the admissions practices of the University of Texas involving Abigail Fisher, a white female who claimed that Affirmative Action policies worked against her entrance into the institution. Fortunately for Black America, the Fisher case failed; however, the alluded to failure angered Blum to the point that he has doubled-down on his efforts to prevent African-American students access to higher education.

Blum’s most recent activities revolve around a new organization called Students for Fair Admissions that recruits non-black students who have been denied admission to selective universities with the intention of filing lawsuits on their behalf. At the present moment, Blum has targeted Harvard University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison as his most recent targets. Make no mistake about it, Blum is extremely dedicated to this cause as evidenced by his creation of social media propaganda such as the sites,

Each site is an obvious ploy to find plaintiffs — at this present moment Asians are being solicited — for additional cases and dispense information regarding what he terms “reverse racism.”

What follows is the front page of Blum’s Harvardnotfair.org page.

Were You Denied Admission to Harvard?
It may be because you’re the wrong race.

Harvard is a great university and we know it’s tough to be admitted. But Harvard continues to use an applicant’s race and ethnicity as admission criteria even though a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision essentially forbids these practices. We believe that’s neither fair nor legal and we are committed to ending Harvard’s racial preference policies in court.

If you have been denied admission to Harvard, we want to hear from you. Please fill out the form below. After doing so, we also encourage you to join our organization, Students for Fair Admissions, the group that has filed a lawsuit against Harvard.

Most disturbing of all is that Blum has been allowed to issue these attacks against Black America without any significant resistance. It appears that if attacks on the black community do not include either shocking violence or sensational news coverage, our community remains dormant as important substantive matters are decided. It is for this reason that I think it is time for the so-called conscious community to move on from what can be appropriately termed the Umar debates — I understand that this matter is far from settled — and turn their focus to individuals such as Edward Blum whose plans for Black America are unconscionable and a much more significant threat to our future than anything that Umar Johnson could ever conceive.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

Will Black America Fail to Respond to Donald Trump’s Planned Attack on Affirmative Action Before it is Too Late?

Color me extremely amused at the recent implosion of the Trump administration. In light of the public battles that seemingly emanate from this administration, it seems appropriate to call its members “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.”

Even in the midst of discord displaying that there are few things high-ranking members of the Trump administration agree on, there is consensual agreement that they will do their best to obstruct every path out of poverty for Black America. It is this common ground of resisting the advancement of African-Americans via an attack on Affirmative Action on collegiate campuses that has provided new combatants Donald J. Trump and Jeff Sessions ample room to lower the volume on their public feud.

In many ways, this most recent attempt by the Trump administration to reduce the number of African-American students on collegiate campuses excavated a familiar predicament of being, “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” for most African-Americans.

In reality, this attempt to challenge Affirmative Action during college admissions via a flimsy argument that the policy violates whites equal protection under the law rights provides the clearest view of both why so many Americans voted for this polarizing figure and the Trump administrations foremost goals and objectives. A segment of America has selected Trump to “make America great again” by hitting a reset button that allows for whites to become the preferred population when it comes to employment opportunities and seats at American universities. There is no other logical or illogical explanation that would explain the current political climate and the imminent attack on Affirmative Action policies.

In many ways, this attempt to deny African-American students access to higher education validates a long-held suspicion that whites seek a monopoly over every American resource. Consider for a moment the frequent refrain from whites that it is the cavernous educational achievement gap that is the catalyst behind racial disparities. This relatively straightforward argument blames Black America for its impoverished position. According to whites, if only blacks would alter their priorities and place their emphasis on education over rap music, literature or gold teeth, and marriage over producing children out of wedlock they would be saved. I am quite certain that many a white political pundit has mused if blacks would focus their attention on education, the poverty that has ridden them as a biblical curse would expire.

Consider for a moment the following quotes from white powerbrokers regarding the ultimate utility of education.

  • Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive: easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.

Peter Brougham

  • It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time — for we are bound by that — but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.

T.S. Eliot

  • What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human soul.

Joseph Addison

  • Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

Robert Frost

  • Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.

Abigail Adams

  • What we have learned from others becomes our own reflection.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The above quotes lead one to believe that Trump’s attack on Black America’s access to higher learning is borne of a dogged-determination to extend the ‘have not’ status of Black America well into the new millennium. In fact, it is not unreasonable to believe that when judged by history that the Trump administrations most crowning achievement may be the lengths that it went to protect the interests of whites.

I wonder, how will Black America respond to this blatant attack?

The disappointment surrounding the Trump administrations plan to begin “…litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions” should be merely the sound before the organized political activism of astute and angered black populace.

Only time will tell if Black America has reached a level of political maturity that allows it to rally in a fight against a substantive political issue such as the Trump administration’s pending attack on Affirmative Action that far outweighs relatively trivial matters such as Umar Johnson’s proposed school.

If history is any indicator, we should expect Black America to once again drop the ball by failing to arrive on the political battlefield with the seriousness this matter requires. Failure to organize our politico economic currency with the intention of confronting those entities that seek to obstruct traditional avenues of advancement will doom future generations of Black America. Most disappointing of all is the reality that we could prevent such events if we cared enough.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

“A Colorblind Society Remains an Aspiration”

What I have to say this morning is, I hope, of interest…

I would like to speak today about an issue much discussed in recent months, in part because of cases which came to our Court from this Circuit last year. I refer to the Sheet Metal Workers case, in which our Court affirmed the excellent decision by Judge Pratt, and to the question of affirmative action. Much has been said lately about the scope of permissible remedies, both voluntary and mandatory, in cases of employment discrimination. The decisions of our Court in this past term suggest to me that there is still a basic agreement among a majority of the Justices that the commands of Title VII and the equal protection clause should be implemented, where necessary, through broad-based relief including the imposition of affirmative duties to eradicate the effects of past discrimination, But because statements in sharp opposition to the use of affirmative remedies have recently been heard with increasing frequency, I think it is appropriate to share with you some general thoughts about why affirmative action is necessary, and on the role which it plays in our law despite many people in high offices trying to explain away our decision. We will explain it.

I believe all of the participants in the current debate about affirmative action agree that the ultimate goal is the creation of a colorblind society. From this common premise, however, two very different conclusions have apparently been drawn: The first is that race-conscious remedies may not be used to eliminate the effects of past discrimination against Negroes and other minority groups in American society. This conclusion has been expanded into the proposition that courts and parties entering into consent decrees are limited to remedies, which provide relief to identified individual victims of discrimination only, But the second conclusion, which may be drawn from our common preference for a colorblind society, is that the vestiges of racial bias in America are so pernicious, and so difficult to remove, that we must take advantage of all the remedial measures at our disposal. The difference between these views may be accounted for, at least in part, by difference of opinion as to how close we presently are to the “colorblind society” about which everybody talks. I believe that, given the position from which America began, we still have a very long way to go. The Framers of our Constitution labored “In order to form a more perfect union, establish justice…and secure the blessings of the liberty.” These were beautiful words, but at the same time a Negro slave was but three-fifths of a man in the same Constitution. Negroes who, finding themselves purportedly the property of white men, attempted to secure the blessings of the liberty by voting with their feet and running away, were to be captured and returned to slavery pursuant to that same document.

The decisions of the Supreme Court in Prigg v. Pennsylvania and Ableman v. Booth demonstrated just how strong the assertion of federal power on behalf of the slaveholder could be. There was undeniable historical truth in Chief Justice Taney’s statement in Dred Scott that at the time of adoption of the Constitution Negroes “had for more than a century before been regarded as being of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations,” et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Our constitutional jurisprudence at that time rested upon this premise and it continued so for a century. So many have forgotten.?

Justice Harlan, as you remember, dissenting in Plessy v, Ferguson, gave the first expression to the judicial principle that our constitution is colorblind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. 5 If principle of race neutrality, our situation now, ninety years later, would be far different than it is. Affirmative action is an issue today precisely needed because our constitution was not colorblind in the sixty years which intervened between Plessy and Brown.

Obviously, I too believe in a colorblind society; but it has been and remains an aspiration. It is a goal toward which our society has progressed uncertainly, bearing as it does the enormous burden of incalculable injuries inflicted by race prejudice and other bigotry, which the law once sanctioned, and even encouraged. Not having attained our goal, we must face the simple fact that there are groups in every community, which are daily paying the cost of the history of American injustice. The argument against affirmative action is but an argument in favor of leaving that cost to lie where it falls. Our fundamental sense of fairness, particularly as it is embodied in the guarantee of equal protection under the la, requires us to make an effort to see that those costs are shared equitably while we continue to work for the eradication of the consequences of discrimination. Otherwise, we must admit to ourselves that so long as the lingering effects of inequality are with us, the burden will be borne by those who are least able to pay.

For this reason, the argument that equitable remedies should be restricted to redressing the grievances of individual victims of discrimination completely misses the point. The point is that our government has a compelling interest in dealing with all the harm caused by discrimination against racial and other minorities, not merely with the harm immediately occasioned when somebody is denied a job, or promotion, by reason of the color of his skin.

It has been argued that the use of affirmative race-conscious remedies inflicts an immediate harm on some, in the hope of ameliorating the more remote hard done to others. This, it is said, is as abhorrent as the original discrimination itself. Some have compared the use of such race-conscious remedies to using alcohol to get beyond alcoholism or drugs to overcome a drug addiction, or a few more cigarettes a day to break the smoking habit. I think the comparison is inappropriate and abhorrent. Affirmative action is not, as the analogies often imply, a symptom of lack of societal willpower; when judiciously employed, it is instead an instrument for sharing the burdens, which our history imposes upon all of us.

This is not to say, of course, that affirmative remedies such as the establishment of goals, timetables, and all of that, in hiring, in promotion, or for protection of recently hired minority workers from the disproportionate effects of layoffs, are always necessary or appropriate. Where there is no admission or proof of past discriminatory conduct, or where those individuals whose existing interests may be adversely affected by the remedy have not had an opportunity to participate, serious questions arise which must be carefully scrutinized in the courts. Like all classifications which condition governmental behavior upon considerations of race, affirmative remedies for employment discrimination must overcome the stringent presumption in favor of neutrality, which the equal protection clause embodies. To undertake such remedies except in furtherance of the most important of governmental purposes, and without substantial assurance that narrower alternatives would not achieve the goal, is wrong. But what the recent statements in opposition to affirmative action do not consider, in my judgment, is the fundamental importance of eradicating the consequences of discrimination which are so visible throughout our society, and the basic injustice which is done by imposing all the costs of those lingering consequences upon those how have traditionally been the victims.

In this connection, it is especially important to reflect upon the role which affirmative relief plays when embodied in the consent judgments, Last term, in Local 93, International Association of Firefighters v City of Cleveland, the Couth held that Title VII does not preclude the ordering of affirmative race-conscious relief in a consent decree entered in settlement of litigation brought under the Act. 7 Six justices agreed that the scope of remedy available in a consent decree under Title VII is at least as broad as that available in judgment after trial on the merits, and may include provisions for race-conscious relief. In my view, this holding is of great significance, We are all aware of the burden and expense which litigation, of whatever size and complexity, imposes on the litigant, Chief Judge Learned Hand surely did not exaggerate in saying that the citizen and death. 8 Where large-scale employment discrimination litigation is concerned, the effects are many times greater. The availability of broad voluntary remedies affords parties the opportunity to settle their differences without the expense and disruption necessitated by trial on the merits, and allows employers, public and private, to correct injustices without being compelled publicly to defend the indefensible. By encouraging parties to enter into such voluntary relief, the Court’s decision ensures great flexibility in the search for workable solutions to the problem of inequality in America.

And this, finally, I believe will be the most important function of affirmative action. The problem of discrimination and prejudice in America is too deep-rooted and too wide spread to be solved only in the courts, or only through the intervention of federal authority to convince the recalcitrant that justice cannot be indefinitely delayed.

Securing equality requires the attention, the energy, and the sense of justice possessed by all the well-intentioned citizens of this society. They need to be assured that the government, the law, and the courts stand behind their efforts to overcome the harm bequeathed to them by the past. They need to know that encouragement and support, not criticism and prohibition are available from those who are sworn to uphold the law. Courts must offer guidance, to the best of our ability, to the attempts by individuals and institutions to rectify the injustices of the past. We must labor to provide examples of solutions that may work, and approaches that may be tried. If we fail, then we delay or postpone altogether the era in which, for the first time, we may say with firm conviction that we have built a society in keeping with our fundamental belief that all people are created equal.

If any one of you is worried about what I mean by the goal of a democracy such as ours, I have often said, and I repeat here, that the goal of a true democracy such as ours, explained simply, is that any baby born in these United States, even if he is born to the blackest, most illiterate, most unprivileged Negro in Mississippi, is, merely by being born and drawing his first breath in this democracy, endowed with the exact same rights as a child born to a Rockefeller.

Of course it’s not true. Of course it never will be true. But I challenge anybody to tell me that it isn’t the type of goal we should try to get to as fast as we can.

Thank you.

Thurgood Marshall (8/15/87)

 

#Becky with the Bad Grades: How Abigail Fisher’s Attack on Affirmative Action is Predictable

Anyone with even a modicum of intelligence and understanding of how groups have historically been able to ‘lift themselves up by their bootstraps’ understands that the most reliable tool in this process is education. Considering that increased understanding of political college 4activism and economic collectivism naturally flows from educational achievement for any racial/ethnic group, it stands to reason that groups will not only fight to access, if not monopolize, educational resources, but also strategically attempt to prevent others from occupying similar places. Put simply, more powerful groups will do their best to prevent lesser groups from gaining entrée to educational institutions.

The above realities are the greatest explanation for why more powerful groups have historically used measures such as racial segregation to block African-Americans from increasing their educational level. Yesterday it was blatant racist policies such as racial segregation that barred African-American students from enrolling in predominantly white educational institutions, today it is a series of unbridled attacks upon Affirmative Action that are seeking to achieve a similar result.

There is quite possibly no more divisive and misunderstood issue on the American political landscape than that of Affirmative Action. Opponents of the legislative measure aimed at providing some semblance of access to African-Americans to jobs, educational institutions, and business opportunities.

Of all the areas that Affirmative Action has touched, it is in the realm of education that whites have been most public regarding their black males collegerepudiation of Affirmative Action and all that flows from it. Indicative of such has been the lawsuit filed by Abigail Fisher nearly a decade ago. Fisher v. University of Texas-Austin stems from this young white woman feeling that she was not admitted to UT-Austin because of her race. The University of Texas-Austin refuted that claim and stated that Fisher was not academically qualified to gain admission.

Within Fisher’s claim that she should have been admitted over African-American students who were granted admission is an unbelievable, yet relatively common, arrogance that offers shocking commentary regarding race, intelligence, and white privilege. Fisher, and likeminded individuals, will never fathom the reality that white skin does not endow them with a super power that automatically makes them smarter than any member of another race; brilliance runs in every race.

Make no mistake about it, these attacks aimed at preventing African-Americans access to higher education will not end anytime soon. Consider for a moment that eight U.S. states (Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Washington) have standing laws that bar the consideration of race in regards to admissions at public colleges.

Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to not limit the use of race in college admissions as it is often one of the only means of achieving ‘diversity’ in American classrooms. Although there is a natural inclination to celebrate this decision, the truth of the matter is that any joy flowing from this moment is tenuous at best as there are several other cases seeking to ban the use of race in collegiate admissions working their way through the court system at this present moment regarding higher education institutions such as Harvard University and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

The Affirmative Action issue is one that will not be decided anytime soon and there is quite simply not much that we can do about it either. We have to wait with great anticipation for the courts to speak.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016

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A NEW TAKE ON SCALIA’S COMMENT ABOUT BLACK COLLEGIANS

I must relate that I was unsurprised by the comments of SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia regarding his belief that maybe Affirmative Action is doing a disservice to African-SCALIA 1American students as it provides an entryway, albeit very tiny, to many of this nation’s elite colleges and universities. According to Scalia, this entryway often dooms African-American collegians because they are incapable of succeeding in highly competitive schools. Clearly the insinuation is that African-American collegians would be better off at a “slower-track school” that does not push them toward, and beyond, lofty academic goals.

I believe that I am perfectly positioned to offer some form of commentary regarding this matter as I am a graduate of a ‘predominantly white institution’ — with 4 degrees to boot — that many would consider academically rigorous, I know very well the rigors and challenges that one must initially confront, and then conquer, if they desire to matriculate from such an institution. I am also currently a tenured professor at a Historically Black College that an individual such as Scalia would consider less rigorous.

My tenure as a student and professor has taught me that much of this talk regarding ‘academic rigor’ is little more than smoke-and-mirrors that so-called elite use to obscure the reality that the collegiate experience should be considered a reciprocal experience; meaning, that it returns to you what you put into it. Put simply, if you approached your SCALIAacademic with the utmost seriousness, you will emerge well-prepared in your field of choice. Whereas, if you chose to be overly social, you will most likely have fabulous memories and eagerly look forward to the annual homecoming events, however, your degree, if you managed to secure one, will be of little utility to you or any potential employer.

Scalia has found himself in as much of a fire-storm as a man with a lifetime appointment could find themselves. From his perch on high, Scalia publicly related the following. “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 slower-track school where they do well.”

Those elitist individuals who attribute the collegiate difficulties of African-Americans to mental slothfulness are ironically displaying one of the primary reasons for the alluded to academic problems. Anyone who has dealt with African-American students in a collegiate setting will relate that the lynchpin between their success and failure, regardless if they are at a local community college or an Ivy League institution is mentorship.

Personal experience has taught me that it is crucial that African-American collegians find a mentor who is willing and able to guide them toward their respective professional goals. Despite what individuals such as Scalia believe, there is possibly no greater display of the truth and wisdom behind the African proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child” than African-American collegians existence in an unfamiliar space.

It is frightening that an individual holding the power of Antonin Scalia does not comprehend this fact. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) expressed the following from the Senate floor this past Thursday “It is deeply disturbing to hear a Supreme Court justice endorse racist ideas from the bench of the nation’s highest court. Scalia’s endorsement of racist theories has frightening ramifications, not the least of which is to undermine the academic achievements of African Americans…The only difference between the ideas endorsed by Trump and Scalia is that Scalia has a robe and a lifetime appointment. Ideas like this don’t belong on the Internet, let alone the mouths of national figures.”

One would think that a figure such as Scalia would know better, however, his recent comments, when combined with previous statements, definitively prove that he doesn’t. May heaven help us.

James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015.

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