Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
October 20, 2013
So the US Supreme Court has agreed to decide an affirmative action case coming out of Michigan. Here’re the details, but in short, Michigan passed a constitutional amendment back in 2006 stating that race cannot be considered as part of college admissions. Colleges like the University of Michigan argue that this has had the net effect of reducing the number of minorities on campus. Those who support the law, such as Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, say it prevents discrimination. Like most things having to do with race in America, it’s messier than that.
What makes the issue so difficult is a lack of trust. The first panel is an actual quote from Bill Schuette, and I want to believe that he knows of better ways to promote diversity, but in the articles I read, he didn’t elaborate much. So, yeah, I get it — affirmative action and specific set asides seem unfair and unworkable in the 21st century, but why exactly can’t race be taken into some account for admissions purposes? Relatives of alumni (legacy students) are given preferential treatment, and that tips the balance toward existing racial patterns. Why must it be illegal to consider race? Is there actually a better way to promote diversity?
But most importantly, did anybody get the Blues Brothers references in the cartoon?