Affirmative Action and the Supreme Court Blues - Higher Education: We often look back at American racial history and shake our heads in wonder. We degrade previous generations for their collusion or apathy regarding the forces of racism. How could so many people really believe African Americans were better off as slaves, or slavery was a positive good? How could so many people really believe separate could actually be equal? Why could they not look past the beautiful mask of rhetoric to see the ugly, nakedness of racism?
In the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court saw through the false rhetoric of separate but equal that racists used to legally discriminate for more than 50 years. The Court finally realized that the mantra—though seemingly egalitarian—had in practice racially discriminated against African Americans. The Court did not care whether the policy spoke of racial equality. The Court realized its effect was undeniably racial inequality.
On Tuesday, on the eve of the 60 year anniversary of the historic Brown decision, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, which if decided like the Brown case, could have far-reaching effects on racial justice in America.