To the Editor:
The recent ruling ending affirmative action in college admissions may have negative implications for our nation, especially in K-12 (“Supreme Court Ends Affirmative Action in College Admissions in Decision Watched by K-12,” June 29, 2023). When the ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger was first handed down in 2003, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor theorized that racial preferences would be unconstitutional in 25 years. Simply put, she seemed to have had high expectations for American society to correct itself from the years of systemic racism that overtly—and eventually covertly—harmed a significant part of society. However, since its inception, affirmative action seemed to have been a Band-Aid to place over the problem and worse, an excuse to not address it.
In some communities, affirmative action is extolled as an opportunity to have educational institutions acknowledge the consequences of historical systemic racism that has plagued America and its citizens of color. Though affirmative action has benefited many underrepresented students, it has not helped the nation address the root cause of the issue: Why does racism still exist in America?
Now that affirmative action has been struck down by the court, I am curious to see whether predominantly white colleges recidivate because the relevant conversations are still being circumvented. As Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson had stated in her dissent, “Our country has never been colorblind.” Therefore, though affirmative action did its best to bring the conversations to the table, it’s our job, as a society, to finally surmount racism.
Miraflore J. Villabrera
Special Education Teacher
A version of this article appeared in the August 16, 2023 edition of Education Week as Why Does America Still Need Affirmative Action?