“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.” – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
In summary, according to Scalia, the best prescription for Blacks seeking college admission is for them to first attend a remedial educational environment. Appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986, Justice Scalia’s remarks echo those who believe if there is any deficiency in Black’s educational attainment it’s because of inherent weaknesses in Blacks.
Scalia represents a long line of Justices who hold that Blacks have no rights under the US Constitution. In 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Tandy wrote into law the doctrine that Black people have no rights that white’s need respect. His opinion was upheld by the Court on a 7-2 decision. In 1896, Justice Henry Billings Brown wrote into law that public facilities for Blacks should be separate and distinct from whites, because of the inherent inferiority of Black people. His opinion was upheld by the Court on an 8-1 decision.
Supreme Court justices find solace and support in the US Constitution, which supports the rights of property over the rights of people. U.S. Const. art 1, sec. 2 gives slave-holders additional voting rights based on possession of Human slaves. U.S. Const. art 4, sec. 2 requires concerted effort by individual citizens, and law enforcement, in capturing, securing, and returning fugitive slaves.
The majority of the Supreme Court Justices believes whites should not have to forgo their educational desires to accommodate Blacks’ education deficiencies. They believe these deficiencies result from other innate deficiencies in Blacks; such as, brain size and development are less in Blacks of African descent. If a white person wants to go to a certain school, there should be no barriers in their way; especially if that barrier is a Black person. With the brief exception of the Brown decision, the Court has upheld individual white discrimination suits on college admissions. In their quest to uphold the rights of white individuals, the Court has undermined the Affirmative Action portions prescribed to Blacks to overcome lingering results of slavery and segregation. Affirmative Action, as law or desire, sets aside a portion of available classroom seats for students in a minority status.
Some students in a majority status have not been able to gain access to the allotted classroom seats available to their group. The rejected majority student goes to another school where more majority classroom seats are available.
The minority student admitted to college under Affirmative Action greatly benefits from the classroom seats attained. Blacks who acquire a classroom seat in a State run college or university, advance in their grades, and graduate. They become doctors, lawyers, ministers, bankers, scientists. They marry and raise families; buy homes; gather wealth.
Many minority students admitted to public colleges come from challenging economic backgrounds. Heirs of slavery and segregation, these students are mainly from lower income families. They lived in lower income neighborhoods. And they went to lower income schools.
Lower income families have limited resources to feed, shelter, cloth, educate, entertain. Lower income neighborhoods inherited aging and damaged infrastructure that limits health and vitality of the people living there. Lower income schools haven’t changed must since the first schools for the poor. The facilities are old; cost greatly to maintain; and are ill-equipped for modern, advanced educational challenges. Coming through the sieve of lower income life, the minority students are generally the better motivated, better prepared. Desires to provide better for self and family lead them to graduation, jobs, professions, new families.
The history of education of Blacks in America has been one of neglect, at best, to hostility, at its worst.
During the period of enslavement in America, education was illegal for Black children and adults. From 1619 to 1865, Black people could not legally pursue an educational path of life. For knowledge, Blacks were limited to a few choice verses of the Bible: to be memorized or enshrined in song. Those verses taught obedience to slave owners; and taught deferral of life’s gifts, until after death.
The laws of the slave states in America punished both the enslaved and the teacher. Whipping, jail, beatings, death faced the person desiring education. The penalties for the teacher were social: exclusion, banishment, death. The exceptional educated Black person was a wonderment, a marvel; subject to violent repercussions for the arrogance of learning.
During the period of segregation in America, education was discouraged through violence and financial neglect. From 1875 to 1955, State lawmakers allocated educational funding based on tax revenues. Black sharecropper/prisoners paid little in taxes; as they owned little property. Same was true for white sharecroppers, except they were included in the overall white educational allocation. They, however, benefited from the wealthy few whites who owned the bulk of property.
When Federal laws in the 1960s determined that all children should have an equal access to quality education, white people left the public supported school system. They not only removed their kids; they removed their tax dollars. Forming private religious, and philanthropy supported schools, Blacks were excluded. Using their political power, whites drained tax dollars out of the remaining public schools, which now were heavily populated with Black students. Many white school districts simply shut-down, rather than provide equal educational opportunities to Black children. They reformed in churches and trailer-homes located in all white living areas. Effectively, whites foreclosed the Black educational experience.
Many experienced, trained teachers and administrators left public schools to support the founding of new exclusive white schools. The schools attended by Blacks disintegrated because of lack of funds for repairs, or new facilities. Teachers in Black schools received less pay, earned less eligibility to benefits and retirement. Educational dollars for books, supplies, modern teaching tools were limited by fiat of white run governments.
The Ku Klux Klan and White Citizens Councils burned and destroyed Black schools. Teachers were harassed, or forced to leave their profession in their home location. The Black student lost jobs, limbs, life. White employers and land owners threatened and penalized Black parents for sending their children to school during the planting, cultivating, or harvesting times. Black farmers could be thrown off their farms, run out of town, or incur bodily harm for attempts at acquiring education for self or family.
Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by George W. Bush in 2005, joined Justice Scalia in denigrating the educational attainment and goals of Black people in America. He referenced a 2003 case in which the Supreme Court predicted that Affirmative Action would no longer be needed in 25 years. “Are we going to hit the deadline? Is this going to be done, in your view, in 12 years?”
Alternately, we ask the highest court in our Land of the Free to mandate the implementation of a timeline for the end of racism and discrimination.