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The Affirmative Action Culture War

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A word cloud of listener responses to the question, "Is there still a place for affirmative action in 2000s, and why?" NPR via Wordle

Affirmative Action was set into effect to give opportunity to historically oppressed demographics including minorities and women. Although the culture has seemingly always been dominated by white male influence, there are now claims that affirmative action is actually discriminating against white males, creating gaps in college admissions that are leaving white males out of the equation.

It is possible that we need to start reconsidering how Affirmative Action influences college admissions standards, and rather than making it a racial/minority issue, making Affirmative Action considerations based on socioeconomic demographics.

Only time will tell.

Here’s what you need to know about the current state of Affirmative Action:

  • Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action in College Admissions 
  • The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.
  • “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”
  • The document does not explicitly identify whom the Justice Department considers at risk of discrimination because of affirmative action admissions policies.
  • “intentional race-based discrimination,”
  • Supporters and critics of the project said it was clearly targeting admissions programs that can give members of generally disadvantaged groups, like black and Latino students, an edge over other applicants with comparable or higher test scores.
  • Kristen Clarke, the president of the liberal Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, criticized the affirmative action project as “misaligned with the division’s longstanding priorities.”
  • “created and launched to deal with the unique problem of discrimination faced by our nation’s most oppressed minority groups,”
  • “This is deeply disturbing,”
  • “It would be a dog whistle that could invite a lot of chaos and unnecessarily create hysteria among colleges and universities who may fear that the government may come down on them for their efforts to maintain diversity on their campuses.”
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that the educational benefits that flow from having a diverse student body can justify using race as one factor among many in a “holistic” evaluation, while rejecting blunt racial quotas or race-based point systems.
  • “The Department of Justice does not discuss personnel matters, so we’ll decline comment,” said Devin O’Malley, a department spokesman.
  • The Supreme Court most recently addressed affirmative action admissions policies in a 2016 case, voting 4 to 3 to uphold a race-conscious program at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • The pending start of the affirmative action project — division lawyers who want to work on it must submit their résumés by Aug. 9, the announcement said — joins a series of changes involving civil rights law since Mr. Trump’s inauguration.
  • “The fact that the position is in the political front office, and not in the career section that enforces antidiscrimination laws for education, suggests that this person will be carrying out an agenda aimed at undermining diversity in higher education without needing to say it,” Ms. Gupta said.
  • Vanita Gupta
  • The civil rights division has been a recurring culture-war battleground as it passed between Democratic and Republican administrations.
  • During the administration of George W. Bush, its overseers violated Civil Service hiring laws, an inspector general found, by filling its career ranks with conservatives who often had scant experience in civil rights law
  • At the same time, it brought fewer cases alleging systematic discrimination against minorities and more alleging reverse discrimination against whites, like a 2006 lawsuit forcing Southern Illinois University to stop reserving certain fellowship programs for women or members of underrepresented racial groups.

Learn more @ The New York Times
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