Things That Matter

This Is What You Need To Know About Affirmative Action

Since the birth of affirmative action, a set of procedures intended to correct the effects of historical discriminations, in the 1960s, there have been many cases aimed at weakening the policy. Most recently: an ongoing lawsuit arguing that Harvard’s admissions office discriminates against Asian-Americans.

The case, which follows years of conservatives casting Asians as victims of the policy with the goal of having it outlawed, is currently being weighed by a federal judge in Massachusetts.

Students for Fair Admissions, a group founded by conservative Edward Blum, is suing Harvard for allegedly discriminating against Asian-American applicants, particularly through its use of “personal ratings,” which takes into account traits like kindness, leadership and courage.

A decision in the case by federal Judge Allison Burroughs is expected in the next few months.

Regardless of the decision, however, those who have historically been opposed to the policy hope the case will make it to the conservative-majority Supreme Court, where affirmative action could be killed.

With the policy in the spotlight, again, we wanted to demystify what affirmative action is and what you need to know about its history and potential fate.

The Birth of Affirmative Action:

Even after the US Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that the “separate but equal” doctrine violated the Constitution, communities of color continued to face discrimination in education and the workplace. To undo this historic inequity, President Kennedy created the Council on Equal Opportunity in an Executive Order in 1961. This required government employers to “not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin.”

Racial Quotas:

Since its inception, affirmative action has received pushback from conservatives who claim the policy is a form of reverse discrimination against whites. Opponents’ first big win came in 1978, when the Supreme Court ruled in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke that colleges could not use racial quotas, as doing so violates the Equal Protection Clause. This means employers can’t hire “less qualified” applicants to fill an identity quota.

Diversity:

In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that, while admissions officials can’t consider race as a way to undo the effects of historical discrimination, schools could consider race as one factor among many to ensure a diverse student body in the case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.

Affirmative Action Bans:

Despite affirmative action, people of color remain a disproportionate minority in higher education. In fact, while the percentage of Black and Latinx college student increased between 2000 and 2014, they still just account for 14.5 percent and 16.5 percent of college students, respectively. College diversity shrinks even more in states that ban race-based affirmative action. Currently, states like California, Washington, Michigan, Nebraska, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma and New Hampshire have bans. In some, like California, Florida and Texas, there are percentage plans that guarantee the top 10 percent of high school graduates a spot in any state university.

A Future Without Affirmative Action:

With colleges no longer allowed to consider race in applications as a way to undo the effects of historical discrimination, many, like Harvard, now argue that diversity is good for everyone. However, if Students for Fair Admissions’ case makes it to the Conservative-majority Supreme Court, they may soon no longer be able to make even that justification, regardless of its accuracy. This could lead to elite schools like it, where Blacks and Latinxs already account for just 1 in 4 students, to have even fewer scholars of color, leading to less career and financial opportunities for Black and brown folk.

Read: The SATs Have A History Of Racism, But The ‘Adversity Rating’ Should Help

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Camila Cabello Says That She Has Been Going To Weekly Racial Healing Sessions After Her ‘N-Word’ Scandal

Entertainment

Camila Cabello Says That She Has Been Going To Weekly Racial Healing Sessions After Her ‘N-Word’ Scandal

Over a year has passed since Camila Cabello’s old and racist Tumblr posts resurfaced in order to haunt her. Now, after having issued an apology months ago, and spending some time in quarantine, it seems she’s eager to ask once again for our forgiveness.

Cabello recently shared that she’s been attending weekly racial healing sessions after it came out that she used racist and offensive language in social media posts.

In a recent interview with People magazine, Camila revealed that she had joined the National Compadres Network’s racial healing program soon after she had issued a public apology for her actions in December 2019. “It created a space where I was held accountable,” Camila explained in her interview. “You get corrected, you have homework, and you learn. That’s how you move forward. Now I know better so I can do better.”

Cabello went onto explain that the sessions encouraged her to hold herself accountable.

“As I learned more about other people’s experiences in the world, I was like, ‘How do I help the people who are on the frontlines of dismantling systems that create oppression? And how do I bridge that with my own personal journey with mental health and healing?” she explained before realizing that her experience encouraged her to financially support Movement Voter Fund to help create the Healing Justice Project. Cabello says that she has donated $250,000 to ten different organizations that have set out to fight for racial justice.

“What all the organizations have in common is that they are helping their communities, especially marginalized groups in their communities,” Camila Cabello explained. “They all also expressed a need for these mental wellness resources.”

In December 2019, Camila was forced to acknowledge the offensive and hurtful nature of her old posts and texts some of which targeted her fellow Fifth Harmony group member Normani.

“I was uneducated and ignorant and once I became aware of the history and the weight and the true meaning behind this horrible and hurtful language, I was deeply embarrassed I ever used it. I apologize then and I apologize again now. I’m 22 now,” she underlined at the time. “I’m an adult and I’ve grown and learned and am conscious and aware of the history and the pain it carries in a way I wasn’t before.”

At the time, Normani expressed her disappointment in the resurfaced posts in a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone.

“I struggled with talking about this because I didn’t want it to be a part of my narrative, but I am a Black woman, who is a part of an entire generation that has a similar story. I face senseless attacks daily, as does the rest of my community,” Normani explained at the time. “This represents a day in the life for us. I have been tolerating discrimination far before I could even comprehend what exactly was happening. Direct and subliminal hatred has been geared towards me for many years solely because of the color of my skin.”

Normani went on to point out that Camila Cabello remained quiet when she endured racist attacks online explaining “It took days for her to acknowledge what I was dealing with online and then years for her to take responsibility for the offensive tweets that recently resurfaced. Whether or not it was her intention, this made me feel like I was second to the relationship that she had with her fans.”

Normani eventually expressed a wish to see Camila learn. “There is genuine understanding about why this was absolutely unacceptable,” she added. “I don’t want to say that this situation leaves me hopeless because I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity for personal growth.”

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A Black Student From Louisiana State Accused Three Police Offers Of Unzipping His Pants To ‘Look’ For Drugs

Things That Matter

A Black Student From Louisiana State Accused Three Police Offers Of Unzipping His Pants To ‘Look’ For Drugs

Abuse of power by police is alive and well in Baton Rouge and in urgent need of being stopped.

Three police officers from the Louisiana capital have been put on paid administrative leave after accusations of harassment were issued by a local Black college football freshman. According to the student, Koy Moore a freshman who plays a wide receiver at Louisiana State University, the three police officers unzipped his pants and confiscated his phone to prevent him from recording the incident.

In a post shared to Twitter on Saturday, Moore claimed that the officers “violated” him in an attempt to search him for drugs and weapons while screaming “Where’s your gun?”

Koy Moore claims that he was violated by three Baton Rouge police officers.

“I was violated numerous times even going as far as trying to unzip my pants in search of a weapon that I repeatedly told them I did not have,” Moore wrote in the post. “As I tried to go live for video documentation of the harassment, they snatched my phone. I could have lost my life, and I know for a fact nothing would’ve happened to the guys who did it.” 

In his post, More questioned what could have actually happened to him if he hadn’t told the officers that he was a student at LSU.

In response to his tweet, LSU faculty and staff have supported him. Ed Orgeron, LSU’s football coach even commented on the incident in a post to Twitter.“While I cannot comment on the investigation, what I can say is that we must work collectively to embrace our differences,” Orgeron he wrote. “We have to listen, learn, and come together to combat social injustice and racism if we are to create a safer and more equitable society for all.”

The official LSU Twitter account retweeted the coach’s post writing that they shared in “the sentiment shared by Coach Ed Orgeron.”

The three officers, who have been placed on paid leave, have yet to be identified to the public. Still, Chief Murphy Paul of the Baton Rouge Police Department said his department had been in contact with Moore and that an investigation is currently underway.

“We appreciate Mr. Moore bringing this incident to our attention,” Paul said in a statement. “As in every case, we will be collecting all available evidence and conducting interviews. Accountability and transparency are critical in building trust with the community. I pledge a thorough investigation into this complaint.”

The incident in Baton Rouge underlines that major issue in modern American politics. 

During the summer, after Breonna Taylor and George Floyd were murdered by police, Baton Rouge took part in the nationwide protests.

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