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Clarence Thomas Says Affirmative Action Is Unconstitutional

The Constitution is colorblind according to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and not just of the red/green variety. Addressing leaders of historically black colleges yesterday, Thomas said, "Just from a constitutional standpoint, I think we're going to run into problems if we say the Constitution says we can consider race sometimes."

He added that African-Americans are better served by programs that don't consider race, than affirmative action. It "has become this mantra and there almost has become this secular religiosity about it. I think it almost trumps thinking." In his autobiography My Grandfather's Son he told with resentment that he felt he was admitted to Yale because of his race, and imposed the most rigorous course load he could just to prove his real worth.

Thomas has voted on the court to outlaw the use of race in college admissions and in determining public school enrollment, and said yesterday, "My suggestion would be to stop the buzz words and to focus more on the practical effect of what we're doing. . . I can tell you when you have fudge words, it leaves a lot of room for mischief. People have a tendency to read their personal opinions into fudge words. You want, when it comes to the issue of race, absolute words."

Are Thomas' words absolute enough for you? Is he right?

Source

lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Just ensure, not ensures. I always proofread as I'm hitting post. It's a little late then.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Bella, I'm aware of the technical definition of affirmative action. However, as if it practiced today, it is not used nearly as much to aid women as it is to aid minorities. In the example you gave, if a simple scoring system like the one I described is used, the Hispanic male who did better would not need affirmative action because his scores would be higher. American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Blacks, and Hispanics are all minorities. As for women, as I have mentioned several times, most affirmative action programs, particularly in education, no longer assign greater points to people of a specific gender. Yes, in a strict textbook definition affirmative action helps women. But, by and large, that is not how it is practiced today. Persons over 40 years of age are protected under laws against age discrimination, as are persons with disabilities. These laws don't assign them extra points for their status, just ensures that they are not discriminated against. I would be curious to know of a specific affirmative action program that gives extra points to veterans in terms of hiring or in terms of college admissions.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Affirmative action involves using racial, gender, socioeconomic background, and/or sexual orientation status as a positive factor in hiring or admissions decisions. Do you know this for fact: If you are judged on a scoring system and a white male gets 5 points for SAT score, 5 points for GPA, 5 points for community involvement, and 5 points for essay score, but a Hispanic male gets 4 points for SAT score, 5 points for GPA, 4 points for community involvement, 5 points for essay score, and 3 points for minority status, the Hispanic male would have more points and therefore get the spot, even though the white male scored higher in other areas. That's not saying the Hispanic male isn't qualified, it's saying that, without the race score, the Hispanic male would be less qualified than the white male. Just has you say AA may help this Hispanic male –what if he had better scores on his SAT, GPA, had more hours clocked for community involvement, and his essay was stellar. That does not mean he may get in, what if someone on the panel didn’t want a Hispanic in their school. There is always an assumption that the candidate is a little less qualified or has a little less than a steller applicant when sometimes that is not the case. There are all of these “ideas” and assumptions about AA and this is not the first post regarding AA. Maybe universities should take a page from AZ University – The University in Tempe, Arizona, doesn’t even ask for race on their applications. The school has never used affirmative action in their application process. When schools and jobs stop asking for this information and stop judging from names and other aspects that they deem are appropriate then maybe it will not be a need for the policy. Again AA just doesn’t help minorities American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Hispanics, women, persons over 40 years of age, persons with disabilities, special disabled veterans, Vietnam era veterans and other veterans who served on active duty during a war, campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
And I also don't think people are saying that those who benefit from affirmative action are not qualified for the jobs and education they receive, people are saying that they may be less qualified than a "traditional candidate" (i.e. a white male). If you are judged on a scoring system and a white male gets 5 points for SAT score, 5 points for GPA, 5 points for community involvement, and 5 points for essay score, but a Hispanic male gets 4 points for SAT score, 5 points for GPA, 4 points for community involvement, 5 points for essay score, and 3 points for minority status, the Hispanic male would have more points and therefore get the spot, even though the white male scored higher in other areas. That's not saying the Hispanic male isn't qualified, it's saying that, without the race score, the Hispanic male would be less qualified than the white male.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I meant it's really NOT an issue in today's world in the same way that affirmative action to help minorities is.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I wasn't speaking to the qualified portion of your comment, but to the portion about why people automatically think of minorities when it comes to affirmative action. Affirmative action has helped women in the past, but is rarely used to help women now, so it's really an issue in today's world in the same way that affirmative action to help minorities is.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
lil, I understand this. But, to sit and say that people are not qualified b/c they are minority is wrong. 2. AA does help white women - should they also think twice in getting a job and in college b/c it depends on the college. I am just saying that's not put all of the blame on one race getting an advantage then we need to discuss everyone getting a leg up.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Bella, a lot of affirmative action programs now, specifically for college admissions, do assign more points to being a minority than to being a woman. I'm not as familiar with hiring policies that deal with affirmative action, but as far as colleges go, women are starting to outnumber men and sometimes aren't assigned extra points at all. (This is based on the "points system" that a lot of schools use. Applicants get points for different things: SAT scores, GPA, community involvement, minority status, etc.)
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I have no comment. I am just shocked that people always makes this about blk people. Wow. Does that mean white women should think twice about getting into the job force and colleges? Why is it assumed that people that AA helps is under qualified?
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
lol, she told you to grow up!
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
I have stated my opinion. I think that people should get jobs based on who the government thinks is less fortunate, not on the market's take on the matter. I think that's the only reasonable stance.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
Organic your routine is getting old. Grow up and state your real opinion. We can take it.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
Sorry for the double post.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
"being white makes it harder to get a job sometimes, and being a white male for sure makes it hard." You have got to be kiding me. Do you really believe this? If you do where are getting your information?
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
""Contrary to popular belief, African Americans are not the sole, or even the primary, beneficiaries of affirmative action." Good point. I think people are likely to get on your side as long as black people aren't the only ones getting jobs unfairly.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i have to agree with what he's saying 'stop the buzz words' - that's something that i agree with. i think that AA had it's place at one point but now it's kind of out of touch with how things are. being white makes it harder to get a job sometimes, and being a white male for sure makes it hard. i think that since people are so sensitive about things now, it's one of those cases where you're afraid to say no to someone, and well...if they are of a different culture - that aids to the fear and it's not necessary.
stephley stephley 9 years
Geez, people should look up the last affirmative action thread - you shouldn't have to start educating them again!
liliblu liliblu 9 years
"Contrary to popular belief, African Americans are not the sole, or even the primary, beneficiaries of affirmative action. Rather, a wide range of groups have benefited from these polocies which promote equality by directing resources, outreach and other opportunities to targeted underrepresented communities. These groups include women, Native Americans, Arab Americans, Latino/as, Asian Americans, and African Americans. Of these groups, the United States Department of Labor found that white women are the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action." http://aapf.org/focus/episodes/oct30.php Would women have achieved the level of success they now have as a whole without affirmative action? Would the number of women in college be as high?
livvylove livvylove 9 years
Racism is alive and well, at least in south. sad but true.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
Thanks Jude C! And I agree, it should be economically-based, not based on race. wadewifey, does all of those things you mentioned fall under the umbrella of affirmative action? I'm sure that colleges do consider those factors too, but I just didn't know if it applied to that particular topic.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
We still live in a country where people with "Black Sounding" names are less likely to called in for interviews. This is even when their education level and resumes are the same as their white counterparts. There are still people who refuse to vote for a black man in the presidential election, because of his race. Affirmative Action does not mean you have to hire unqualified minorities for jobs.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
wadewifey you beat me to the punch. State schools try to match the demographics of the state. Race, where you live, income levels, grades, SAT scores, extra-curricular activites, and volunteer work, all play a role in deciding who is accepted into a school. Should Legacy admissions be banned?
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
Colleges also look at whether the student lives in a single-parent home, whether the student's parents went to college or even graduated high school, and the family's income. There is a lot of deciding factors, not just race.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
And I would hope that no one would discount your opinion just because you're white! :)
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