October has been a fascinating yet trying month for affirmative action, especially “the constitutionality of racial preferences in admissions decisions by public universities” (NYTimes, 10/8/12). Abigail Fisher, a 22 year old white graduate of Louisiana State University, believes that her race was held against her in her application to UT Austin. She was rejected, she claims, because she was white.
There is plenty of ongoing discussion about Ms. Fisher’s case, and even more on the ideas surrounding affirmative action in both historic and present day contexts.
Here is the link to original article I reference : http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/us/supreme-court-to-hear-case-on-affirmative-action.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
And here are some notable responses:
Bonilla-Silva address, to some extent, the background for Ms. Fisher’s claim that her race was held against her in her college admittance. In Chapter 4: “I Didn’t Get That Job Because Of A Black Man”, Bonilla-Silva tease apart the white rhetoric and psyche when it comes to this minority blame game. “If they are not admitted into a college, it must be because of a minority. This story line allows whites to never consider the possibility that they are not qualified for a job, promotion, or college.” It’s unnerving how these two sentences perfectly capture the sentiments expressed in the NYTimes article on Ms. Fisher. University of Texas issued a statement claiming that “Ms. Fisher would not have been admitted even if race had played no role in the process.” Bonilla-Silva go on to say that there are very few actual cases filed on “reverse discrimination” as they tend to be dismissed on the basis of lacking any foundation.
Color Lines: News For Action, offer a response to Fisher v. University of Texas in “How Diversity Trumped Equity—and May Kill Affirmative Action”. Here, Julianne Hing discusses notions of equity and diversity rationale, the two “legally permissible arguments for affirmative action”. The article goes on to offer a comprehensive outlook on factors such as the “major collective trauma” of racism, reluctance to acknowledge racial privilege, affirmative action v. meritocratic ideals, and plain old increasing selectivity in the college admissions process — and how these factors all play into the ultimate “fate of affirmative action” in the next few weeks.
I thought it was particularly interesting to place these articles through the lens of the Bonilla-Silva reading alongside the Mail Online article “White Suffer More Racism Than Blacks”. Clearly, researchers Norton and Sommers’ conclusion that there is an “emerging belief in anti-white prejudice” holds true in the case of Abigail Fisher. But to what extent is this “anti-white prejudice”, and to what extent are these, excuse my language, just #whitegirlproblems?