A group of nearly 2,000 professional physicists and astrophysicists have signed a letter, drafted by members of the Equity & Inclusion in Physics & Astronomy Facebook group and addressed to the Supreme Court justices, repudiating the lines of questioning put forward by Justices Antonin Scalia and John Roberts which implied that affirmative action disadvantages black students by putting them in situations they are not equipped to handle, and that furthermore diversity has no role to play in the ostensibly objective world of science.
The Supreme Court revisited today Fisher v. University of Texas, an affirmative action case that was first considered by the court in 2013. SCOTUS declined then to make a definitive ruling about the constitutionality of UT’s admissions policy—in which race is considered a factor—and instead sent the case back to a lower court.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the University of Texas' consideration of race in its admissions process, writing in their 2-1 decision that the university's affirmative action practices are narrowly tailored to increasing diversity at the school. The case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, had been vacated and remanded by the Supreme Court last year.
Yesterday the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Michigan's affirmative action ban, known popularly as "Prop 2." It was, as widely reported, a defeat for affirmative action, but a limited one. The court didn't say that affirmative action was federally unconstitutional, merely that if a state like Michigan decides to ban it, the court won't interfere.
Affirmative action lives! For now. In a narrow 7-1 decision, the Supreme Court refused a sweeping ruling on racial preference in college admissions, instead vacating and remanding the fifth circuit court's decision in Fisher v. Texas—sending the case back to the lower court with specific instructions.
Life is tough for white people in America. A few hundred years of presumed superiority have left many of them psychologically unable to deal with failure, trapped in a cycle of victimhood where their own shortcomings can only be understood as evidence of persecution against them. So we have Abigail Fisher, 23 years old, and the plaintiff in Fisher v. University of Texas, which is currently being weighed by the Supreme Court.
Controversial University of Texas at Austin law professor Lino Graglia gave an interview to the BBC in which he claims, among other things, that blacks and Latinos can't compete with white students, particularly because of the fact that so many of them are raised in single-parent households. Graglia's interview was related to the fact, as we've told you, UT is currently in a battle with a white student it rejected who claims that the school's affirmative action program is to blame for her having to go to a second-rate college.
In Florida this month, the state board of education approved one of the most controversial sets of educational achievement goals the country has seen in quite some time. In an effort to close the racial achievement gap that plagues much of America, the board decided to use that gap to set parameters for what it expects children of different races to achieve over the next six years. Breaking from George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind," which demanded uniform achievement goals for all students in an effort to avoid "soft bigotry," Florida is now going to have racially stratified educational targets in math and reading. In other words, black children performing more poorly than white children won't just be tolerated, it will be the rule.
There's blind item is causing a mild shitstorm on Fashionista today about a "publishing house" that has been "quietly paying interns - but only if they're of a 'minority.'" Commenters immediately called out Hearst, which, what do you know, we called them up and it turns out that like myriad other media organizations recruits local minority interns* through a separate internship program with special terms and specifications, one of them happens to be a salary of $12 an hour. Now there is something to get enraged about. Not. Who planted this fucking item? Don't tell me, I don't want to know. This is for you.Dear Disgruntled White Journalism Industry Intern Who Works For Free, What inspired you to get into journalism, kid? I'll tell you what got me into it: journalism. It is a shitty, vicious cycle I'm always meaning to break out the minute I quit abusing alcohol. But anyway: I was writing really bad music reviews for my college paper when it dawned on me that the dorks who listened to the police scanners and checked the logbooks for the "crime" beat were the ones with the actually glamorous jobs. Because there was all this crime on our campus! See, my school was an oasis of obscene mostly-white binge-drinking privilege smack in the middle of an impoverished swath of one of those dirt poor second cities that got abandoned by its economy sometime during the seventies and embarked on a ruinous adventure trying to smoke it all out through a crackpipe in the eighties. (Back then they used to solve problems by bombing them.) In any case, at some point - maybe like the very first weekend of freshman year - it occurred to me that there was no way "here" from "there." The nicest sweetest hardest-working most well-meaning person could be born ten blocks west of my campus and it was just never going to happen for her; worse, she wouldn't even think to aspire to it, though she might think to aspire to some of its shoe collections. I thought this was totally fucked up, and I am one of those people who when I think something is totally fucked up copes by writing about how fucked up it is - yeah, if I were one of those people who enjoyed actually helping I would not have this drinking problem - and anyway, that is what I chose to do, and the more I wrote about it the more I learned and the more I learned the more totally fucked up it became. Just like yourself I had to make some "sacrifices" to keep on this awesome career path. I didn't have money so I worked at Starbucks and took odd jobs the whole time I was working for free till eventually got a job that actually paid me to keep writing about it. It'll happen to you too, if you're masochistic enough! Money was not easy to come by because there were too many people who wanted to write for a living than there were readers to support them; and I'll tell ya, the past ten years haven't made things any easier on this side of that ratio! But hey, I was a white middle-class kid born in America; I actually did have a modicum of free will, and over and over again that will was to remind other people with free will of all the persistent little factors fucking up that sort of freedom for others, and guess what? Slavery is a still a big one. Racism is totally up there. Poverty = totally huge! Look I don't tell you this to be a scold; I am also here for the jokes and the glamorous lifestyle and because I'm a total hater and I don't pretend to think these heavy subjects are hitting you over the head if your internship consists of calling in resort wear for spreads in Harper's Bazaar. But think creatively for a second: why the fuck can't Harper's Bazaar pay you? It's really the same reason they have to give fashion editors "wardrobe allowances" instead of just paying them more money; we're all employed perpetuating the same myth about how life is lived, just in varying degrees of outlandish. If there were enough rich people buying the fancy shit they read about in magazines you'd be rich too; that would be how you found out about those magazines in the first place. But no, I'm guessing you're not. I mean, you are rich enough to accept an unpaid magazine internship in one of the world's most expensive cities, so you actually are pretty rich, but whatever, it's not enough for all the things you'd like to buy. Why is everything so expensive? How come bankers start at six figures and you'd be lucky to start at sixteen grand? Why do you even bother promoting $800 belts to readers who are like, nurses in the Midwest or whatever? Look, I don't know, I would never personally do that, but maybe you like fashion and glamour and "aspirationalism", because maybe you liked playing dress-up as a child or whatever. Maybe you're a dreamer. Don't abandon those dreams after one little glimpse inside the dream sausage factory! Because I have another inspiring affirmative action publishing story for you. Once upon a time a writer landed a job at Entertainment Weekly only to be informed by a co-worker that the editor who'd hired her got a $10,000 bonus because she was a minority. And Entertainment Weekly is not exactly Goldman Sachs! She was distraught when it happened, but she stayed in the business, and went on to become one of the most dedicated, hardest-working media members I have ever met. Because the thing is that as you grow up in the media the dysfunctional relationship between the fantasy world that made you want to go into the business and the ugly realities lurking beneath the surface of everything is pretty much the only thing that keeps you going. And if you really think a bunch of minorities getting a poverty level paycheck when the white kids work for free qualifies as an "ugly reality" you should quit right the fuck now. Because the thing is, no, affirmative action isn't fair, but I'd almost advocate keeping it around in its current flawed race-based state solely on the basis that "neither is fucking anything."