The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in a case that could jeopardize affirmative action. In Fisher vs. University of Texas, a white female is claiming the University of Texas’ affirmative action policy kept her from being admitted to the school.
In his rally talk, Jackson complained about the lack of adequate education available to many minority students who are then expected to take the same standardized tests as other, better-educated students, in order to get into college. Jackson railed against Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas for his silence during today’s hearing, saying Thomas achieved his position through Affirmative Action.
Yet Jackson’s sports example directly contradicts his claim that affirmative action is a necessary part of the higher education enrollment process.
Athletes are chosen for teams based on their performance in tryouts and their prior success in their respective sports. If the same system were applied to education and being admitted to an institution of higher education, students would be enrolled based on their performance on standardized tests and their high school grades.
In the world of sports, there is no requirement for teams to roster a certain number or percentage of minority athletes. If this same system was again extended to higher education, no school would be required to enroll a certain number or percentage of minority students.
Once enrolled in a college or university, the “rules,” “goals” and “referees” are the same for students of all races and ethnicities. But in order for those students to get into one of these institutions, or “make the team,” they must first possess the necessary skills and knowledge to be there.
The Rev. Jackson needs to get his analogies straight. If he believes in affirmative action, then, by his standards, white athletes should demand better representation on sports teams, not due to skill or ability, but because their race is underrepresented in athletic arenas across the nation.