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The End of College Admissions Racism

The Supreme Court, with it’s chief bigot thankfully dead, just drove a spike right through the racist vampire hearts of conservative segregationists with upholding race as a potential factor in determining college admissions. With scumsucker Scalia dead, the wheels just came off their re-segregation campaign.

Turns out the case in question, and the woman for whom it was started were a lie, and a liar from the start.

The claim by Abigail Fisher –

“There were people in my class with lower grades who weren’t in all the activities I was in, who were being accepted into UT, and the only other difference between us was the color of our skin,” she says. “I was taught from the time I was a little girl that any kind of discrimination was wrong. And for an institution of higher learning to act this way makes no sense to me. What kind of example does it set for others?”

The Truth –

Race probably had nothing to do with the University of Texas’s decision to deny admission to Abigail Fisher.

In 2008, the year Fisher sent in her application, competition to get into the crown jewel of the Texas university system was stiff. Students entering through the university’s Top 10 program — a mechanism that granted automatic admission to any teen who graduated in the upper 10 percent of his or her high school class — claimed92 percent of the in-state spots.

Fisher said in news reports that she hoped for the day universities selected students “solely based on their merit and if they work hard for it.” But Fisher failed to graduate in the top 10 percent of her class, meaning she had to compete for the limited number of spaces up for grabs.

She and other applicants who did not make the cut were evaluated based on two scores. One allotted points for grades and test scores. The other, called a personal achievement index, awarded points for two required essays, leadership, activities, service and “special circumstances.” Those included socioeconomic status of the student or the student’s school, coming from a home with a single parent or one where English wasn’t spoken. And race.

Those two scores, combined, determine admission.

Even among those students, Fisher did not particularly stand out. Court records showher grade point average (3.59) and SAT scores (1180 out of 1600) were good but not great for the highly selective flagship university. The school’s rejection rate that year for the remaining 841 openings was higher than the turn-down rate for students trying to get into Harvard.

As a result, university officials claim in court filings that even if Fisher received points for her race and every other personal achievement factor, the letter she received in the mail still would have said no.

It’s true that the university, for whatever reason, offered provisional admission to some students with lower test scores and grades than Fisher. Five of those students were black or Latino.Forty-two were white.

Neither Fisher nor Blum mentioned those 42 applicants in interviews. Nor did they acknowledge the 168 black and Latino students with grades as good as or better than Fisher’s who were also denied entry into the university that year. Also left unsaid is the fact that Fisher turned down a standard UT offer under which she could have gone to the university her sophomore year if she earned a 3.2 GPA at another Texas university school in her freshman year.

So it really was all about racism. Racism which scumbag Sclaia and Uncle Tommie Clarence were willing to stand behind.

Supreme Court upholds college affirmative action program

 

Race-based admissions policies in higher education dodged another bullet Thursday, with the Supreme Court ruling narrowly to uphold a program that helps minority students get into the University of Texas.

In a 4-3 decision, the court held that Texas’ program admitting some students based on consideration of their race is constitutional while cautioning that the university must continue to show that other means of addressing diversity have failed.

“The record here reveals that the university articulated concrete and precise goals (for example) ending stereotypes, promoting ‘cross-racial understanding,’ preparing students for ‘an increasingly diverse workforce and society,’ and cultivating leaders with ‘legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry’ — that mirror the compelling interest this Court has approved in prior cases,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in an opinion joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

But the decision also suggests potential limits, warning the university cannot rely on the policy “without refinement” and that “it is the University’s ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admission policies.”

Only seven justices participated in the decision. Justice Elena Kagan had recused herself for prior work on the case as United States solicitor general and the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat remains vacant.

The University of Texas enrolls 75 percent of its class by offering admission to students with top class ranks. It fills the remaining quarter of the class through a “holistic” review in which race is a factor.

The ruling directly affects all public colleges and universities. While private colleges have had more leeway to consider race in admissions, all institutions that accept federal financial aid are subject to Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act prohibiting racial discrimination, experts said.

Justice Samuel Alito read a withering dissent from the bench, saying the university had not done what the justices had asked when they sent the case back to a lower court in 2013. “The University has still not identified with any degree of specificity the interests that its use of race and ethnicity is supposed to serve,” he wrote in a minority opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justice Clarence Thomas.

Alito said the university “presents no evidence that its admissions officers, in administering the ‘holistic’ component of its plan, make any effort to determine whether an African-American, Hispanic or Asian-American student is likely to enroll in classes in which minority students are underrepresented.”

It would be unfortunate, he said, if other colleges and universities interpreted the court’s ruling as a green light to use race more in their admissions decisions.

Only eight states ban race-based admissions for public institutions, and affirmative action policies remain in wide use. Roughly 60 percent of the most selective four-year schools consider race in admissions, an American Council on Education survey found last year.

Two other admissions-related cases filed against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, both alleging they put Asian-Americans at a disadvantage, were on hold awaiting the Fisher v. University of Texas decision.

Peter McDonough, vice president and general counsel of the American Council on Education, which represents college and university presidents, said the ruling doesn’t appear to change the expectations for colleges and universities.

“The good news about today is that schools that may visit or re-visit what they do and how they do it, in composing a diverse class, have the comfort of knowing that it’s acceptable to continue doing it,” McDonough said. “It’s appropriate for an institution to value the diversity of the campus environment and the student body.”

This was the second go-around for the Fisher case before the nation’s highest court. In 2013, Kennedy wrote the 7-1 opinion that sent jilted University of Texas applicant Abigail Fisher back to an appeals court, which upheld Texas’ admissions policy for a second time. Fisher, a white woman, argued the university’s rejection of her 2008 application violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause….

 

 

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Racism At Public Elite High Schools

Conservatives set up the racist testing system to eliminate black and Hispanic Students. What Uncle Toms like Ward Connolly either didn’t realize, or didn’t tell white parents was that eliminating black and Hispanic students via high stakes testing wouldn’t mean their white kids would get in. Many if not most of these schools are now massively overbalanced with Asian students, whose special test prep classes have rendered the testing bankrupt.

Hostility towards the few black and Hispanic students who do make it through the tests is fairly endemic at many of worst balanced schools. My own daughter refused to go to our Elite school, which is consistently ranked as one of the 3 best in the nation – because it was an uncomfortable place for black students. The school is 70% Asian in a country which only has 12% Asian population. Less than 3% of the students are black or Hispanic.

Prior to the conservative racist organizations, AKA the Federalist Society and the misnomered “Center for Equal Opportunity” fighting and suing to have only high stakes testing as the key determinant of acceptance for the school, the population generally represented the population at large. The minority population was small, but the county had attempted a solution much like “One Texas”, where the top students from all of the schools were eligible for admission. The idea that this would raise the number of black and Hispanic students to anything approaching the general population sent racist conservatives into apoplexy.

Another failed system brought to America by racist conservatives.

Being Black at America’s Elite Public High Schools

The complacency and inaction of school administrators following incidents of racism isn’t confined to colleges campuses.

On Martin Luther King Day in January—a day set aside to honor a man who fought against racial injustice—two black students at Boston Latin School (BLS) launched a social-media campaign to expose the racially hostile school climate they say exists at America’s first and oldest existing public school. #BlackatBLS soon cast a spotlight on a string of shocking alleged incidents: from verbal slights that disparaged black students’ intelligence and identity, to classmates posting racial slurs on Twitter and Facebook and “saying nigger without fear of being reprimanded,” according to a YouTube video posted by two members of Boston Latin School’s Black Leaders Aspiring for Change and Knowledge.

The resulting social-media storm touched off a range of responses. Mayor Marty Walsh promised to investigate the allegations. Boston schools superintendent Tommy Chang called for systemwide professional development to train school officials to respond to and handle complaints of racism. “In recent months, BLS has taken steps to improve cultural proficiency at the school,” said a spokesperson for Boston Public Schools in an email. “This has included providing educational opportunities for students, faculty, and families to engage in dialogues around issues of race, diversity, and social justice in safe spaces; improving procedures to report bias-based incidents; and mandatory professional development on cultural proficiency among other efforts.” And the U.S. attorney’s office in Bostonannounced an independent probe into possible civil-rights violations at Boston Latin School. Meanwhile as the events in Boston unleashed a series of difficult conversations on racism and campus climate, the national dialogue on black and Latino students in highly selective high schools remains centered on access and admissions.

In March, New York City’s Department of Education released the demographic breakdown for next year’s freshman class at its eight “elite” public high schools, where admission is based exclusively on test scores, and the numbers continued adismal trend. Black and Latino students comprised a tiny fraction—according toPolitico New York, just over 3 and 5 percent respectively—of the students admitted, in a school system where black and Latino children are 70 percent of all enrolled students. An unscientific analysis by Slate found similar patterns in other districts, such as New Orleans and Fairfax County, Virginia. Black and Latino youngsters were vastly underrepresented in selective high schools as compared to their numbers districtwide, and Asian students were significantly overrepresented—underscoring the complexities among student-of-color groups. Yet as educational-rights activists and elected leaders focus on diversifying enrollment in highly competitive schools, scant attention is being paid to the racial and cultural atmosphere in these institutions, and how welcome black and Latino students are made to feel once admitted to some of the country’s most elite public schools.

Omekongo Dibinga graduated from Boston Latin in 1995, and said up until the 10th grade he felt invisible. “I barely had any black teachers. The only time I seemed to get attention was if I was getting in trouble.” He moved from year to year “unnoticed and unacknowledged” until his sophomore year when he got more involved in student leadership. By senior year, Dibinga was the president of the student council and recounts his last few years at BLS as “unapologetically black.”

However, when he ran for senior class president, things took an alarming turn. As he wrote in a January blog post, on election day some of his white classmates allegedly put white sheets on their heads—distinctive attire worn by the white-supremacist Ku Klux Klan—to protest his candidacy. “A typical day at Boston Latin for me does indeed dovetail with what I read from current students,” he said, including the complacency and inaction of school administrators following incidents of racism like he experienced.

Earlier this year, similar accusations were leveled by black students at New York’s Brooklyn Technical High School—a highly ranked selective public high school—who charged the principal and faculty with minimizing acts of racism at their school. In the aftermath of #BlackatBLS, headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta apologized for her “lack of urgency in addressing racial tensions” and reaffirmed her commitment to providing a safe and discrimination-free school environment…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, The New Jim Crow

 

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Scalia’s Death And Why Conservatives Are Whining

Scalia dying just opened up the possibility of a 5-4 majority Moderate-Liberal Court which will eviscerate a number of conservative sacred cows.

Top on the list –

  • Further Restrictions on Abortion are DOA.
  • The new Affirmative Action (read: Re-segregation) case is DOA
  • The North Carolina Republican Gerrymandering to kill minority votes is DOA – as likely are the same voter suppression plans throughout Republican majority States.
  • Voter ID as a mechanism to depress minority voting is DOA.
  • All further efforts to stop the ACA (Obamacare) are in the toilet.

And that is just with a 4-4 Court.

When President Obama’s selection is confirmed (and it will be confirmed either before the Christmas break, or the 20 days in January before Obama leaves office), the court should shift to 5-4 Liberal.

Longer Term impact –

  • Reversal of Citizen’s united
  • Further rollback of anti-AA decisions
  •  A review of some of the previous majority’s more controversial 5-4 decisions.

Which is why the conservatives are acting like scalded dogs right about now. They know they have had their hand in the cookie jar – and it is time to pay the piper.

Hey…With any luck Scalia’s boy will die shortly of getting too much oxygen and lonliness… Not having Scalia’s behind to stick his nose in. Leading to a 6-3 Court!

NC GOPers scramble to defend ‘racial gerrymandering’ after counting on Scalia to side with them

At a heated hearing on Monday, Republican lawmakers in North Carolina made a last-minute plea to keep in place two congressional districts that were recently struck down by a federal court for racial gerrymandering.

Lawmakers, who spoke to voters at five locations throughout the state via teleconference, said that they would do everything possible to see that the current districts — which must be redrawn by Friday — remained in place. But an appeal to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for a stay has become uncertain because lawmakers were counting on the support of recently-deceased conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, The News & Observer Reported.

“This is the way it’s been,” former GOP Rep. Robin Hayes opined from the video conference in Mecklenburg County. “If you’re in the majority after census, you draw the maps.”

But other voters at the meeting demanded that the state’s long history of gerrymandering come to an end.

“Gerrymandering by any stretch of the imagination is immoral, unethical, dishonest,” speaker Harry Taylor told WMYT.

Vanderbilt University Law School’s Kareem Crayton, an election law specialist, told The Charlotte Observer that lawmaker’s hopes to overturn the federal court’s ruling was dashed by the death of Scalia.

“Bottom line: It appears the proverbial bill for this prolonged and delayed legal fight has now come due for the General Assembly,” Crayton explained. “The short timeline makes it now pretty certain that they will have to draw a map that helps set things right.”

At the hearing on Monday, Democratic state Senate Leader Dan Blue pointed out that Republicans should have started drawing new districts when the court struck down the existing districts on Feb. 5.

“This is all theater,” Blue charged.

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D) agreed that the Legislature had created the problem by intentionally using race to gerrymander the districts and then waiting to the last minute to address the problem.

“It’s my opinion you were fully aware that you were incorrectly applying the law,” Butterfield said on Monday. “In a disingenuous way you used a flawed interpretation of the Voting Rights Act for your own partisan political advantage.”

 

 

 

 

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How Conservatives Re segregated American Universities

The Old Jim Crow, just like the New Jim Crow – just under a different name

A lot of lies flying around about black students in “Flagship” State Universities.

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.” – Republican Political Strategist Lee Atwater

The conservative attack on Affirmative Action is just one of those things Atwater mentions which hurt minorities worse than whites.

The issue in my mind, is that as a citizen of the state, we are paying our tax dollars for these institutions. In Virginia, black folks are paying 22% of the tax to support State Universities., to only have 7% of the benefit. Not any different than the Old Jim Crow, where black folks paid taxes, and couldn’t get a road built in their neighborhood. That is like going to the local convenience store to buy a bottle of water, and the bottles for black folks only being 1/3rd full even though you pay the same price as everyone else.

That is called racism and discrimination. which is exactly what the conservative 5 on the Supreme Court want to do.

Black Students Are Being Shut Out Of Top Public Colleges

And the Supreme Court could soon make it even worse.

As racial unrest sweeps across major college campuses, and African-American students demand more equitable treatment, college administrators need look no farther than their own admissions offices to find one root of the problem.

The nation’s flagship public universities — large, taxpayer-funded institutions whose declared mission is to educate residents of their states — enroll far smaller proportions of black students than other colleges, and the number appears to be declining, according to federal records and college enrollment data analyzed by The Hechinger Report and The Huffington Post.

On average, just 5 percent of students at the nation’s flagship public universities are black. As recently as a decade ago, that figure was higher, although changing methods of counting racial categories makes a precise comparison difficult.

Even here at the University of Virginia, which prides itself on the diversity of its campus, just 8 percent of students are black. Just 5 percent are black Virginians, in a state where 22 percent of public high school graduates are African-American. (Low-income students are also underrepresented at top schools).

Virginia is hardly unusual. At most flagships, the African-American percentage of the student population that is black is well below that of the state’s public high school graduates. Typical are the University of Delaware, with a student body that is 5 percent African-American in a state where 30 percent of public high school graduates are black, and the University of Georgia, where it’s 7 percent compared with 34 percent.

Flagships matter because they almost always have the highest graduation rates among public colleges in their state — especially for black students — as well as extensive career resources, well-placed alumni networks, a broad range of course selections and high-profile faculty. For state residents, these colleges also offer the most affordable top-quality college education, and usually a path toward better opportunities after college. (Low-income students are also underrepresented at top schools, according to an analysis by the Hechinger Report and HuffPost ).

Virginia says it ranks among the best flagships in graduating black students.

Black enrollment could decline even further if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Abigail Fisher, a white woman who says she was rejected from the University of Texas at Austin because of her race. The Justices seemed skeptical of the benefits of race-conscious admissions when they heard arguments in the case, on Dec. 9. Justice Antonin Scalia made comments interpreted as favoring the idea that underprepared black students would do better in “lesser colleges” rather than struggling to keep up at the University of Texas at Austin, the state’s flagship.

In the firestorm that followed Justice Scalia’s comments, advocates of affirmative action pointed to research that shows a near doubling of graduation rates for those African-American and Hispanic students who move from colleges with no academic admissions requirements to more selective ones. After the University of Texas at Austin began guaranteeing admission to the top 10 percent of students in the state’s high school classes, a move that admitted more supposedly less prepared students, graduation rates went up

Black and Latino students who have above-average SAT scores go to college at the same rate — 90 percent — as whites. But once enrolled, white students are more likely to finish, in part because they attend more selective colleges, where the resources are better and overall graduation rates are higher.

When black and Latino students with above-average SAT scores go to those selective colleges, their graduation rate is 73 percent, compared to only 40 percent for these above-average-scoring nonwhite students at other colleges…

“One of the main reasons I wanted to come here was the diverse student body,” said Danielle Campbell, a junior at Norfolk State University, a historically black public college in Virginia. “I didn’t want to be the only one who looked like me.”

NSU has a proud history and a devoted student body, but last year struggled with a $16.7 million budget deficit causing it to cut staff by 9 percent. It is the least expensive four-year public college in the state, but its graduation rate for black students is 35 percent over six years, compared with 86 percent at UVA, according to federal data.

In Petersburg, about 90 minutes southeast of UVA’s campus, the high school is 92 percent African-American and sends more than half of its 800 students to college each year. But none have gone UVA since 2010

“One of the things that black students have historically and continue to push for at UVA is that at the flagship the demographics be at least as representative as the demographics of the state,” said Frazier, who is a junior at UVA. “The flagship is meant to be the main force educating that state, so every group should be educated at a similar rate.”

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

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NYT Lawn Jockey, Jason Riley Rushes to Defend Scalia’s Racism

Don’t want Massa to look bad here….

The simple fact is, black student graduation rates at elite Universities is higher than that at middle of the pack schools. Insofar as the example Porch Negro Riley provides, I now have two nieces who got nieces who have gotten PHds from Duke, one in a STEM field, the other in Poli Sci.

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The class of 2010 was declared the “most diverse” in Harvard’s history and the school continues to build diversity through its undergraduate minority recruitment program. Their efforts seem to be paying off — in 2010, the White and Black student graduation rates were nearly equal — 78 percent of Black students and 79.4 percent of White students graduated. The income threshold for parents not required to make a financial contribution rose from $40,000 to $60,000 in 2006 — making this a more affordable option for low- to middle-income families.

George Washington University, District of Columbia: Located just four blocks from the White House, GWU is an excellent choice for students interested in national politics or international business. The Office of Diversity is dedicated to broadening the scope of students enrolled in the school’s programming. The White-to-Black graduation rate gap is just 3 with the Black student graduation rate at 78.6 percent, just behind White students at 81.4 percent.

University of Chicago: This Midwestern private school boasts some of the highest graduation rates in the country, and Hispanic students are no exception. Hispanic students graduate at a rate of 92 percent while White students are just ahead at 94 percent.

Stony Brook University, New York: A member of the State University System of New York, Stony Brook was recognized as the school with the “Smallest White-Black Graduation Rate Gap” on a 2010 list. The six-year graduation rate for Black students (71.3 percent) actually exceeds White students (58.7 percent).

Indiana University Purdue Indianapolis: A public research university, the college doubled its graduation rate for Black students between 2004 and 2010. Though the school still has a long road ahead, the Black graduation rates rose from 12.6 to 24.8 percent in those six years through targeted programs developed by IUPUI.

The United States once had the highest graduation rate of any nation. Now it stands 10th. For the first time in American history, there is the risk that the rising generation will be less well educated than the previous one. The graduation rate among 25- to 34-year-olds is no better than the rate for the 55- to 64-year-olds who were going to college more than 30 years ago. The most selective private schools—-Harvard, Yale, and -Princeton—show almost no gap between black and white graduation rates.

Scalia Was Right About Race Preferences

With the regularity of Old Faithful, honest remarks on racial matters these days are followed by geysers of liberal indignation and outrage. That is what greeted Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s suggestion last week that less-qualified black students might be better off at less-selective colleges.

During oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case concerning race-conscious college admission policies, Justice Scalia cited research that shows how racial preferences can handicap some black students by placing them in elite schools where they don’t have the same credentials of the average student and struggle academically.

“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school—a slower-track school where they do well,” said Justice Scalia. “I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible.”

Liberal public figures and media types promptly denounced the remarks. Democratic leader Harry Reid, ever the statesman, stood on the Senate floor Thursday and accused Justice Scalia of endorsing “racist theories.”

We live in a political environment where the intent of a policy aimed at helping minorities is all that matters; questioning the policy’s actual effectiveness is tantamount to racism. Our national debates about racial preferences tend to focus on their legality, not whether they work as intended. Yet both are important, and Justice Scalia is right to question the assumption that racial favoritism in college admissions has been a boon for blacks.

A 2012 book, “Mismatch,” by UCLA law professor Richard Sander and legal journalistStuart Taylor Jr., illustrates why Justice Scalia’s concerns are warranted, and the book has helped revitalize the discussion over affirmative action’s efficacy. But it is worth noting that such concerns have been voiced by conservative and liberal scholars alike and are as old as the policies themselves, which date to the late 1960s.

Nearly 50 years ago, Clyde Summers, a professor at Yale Law School and longtime critic of labor-union discrimination against blacks, explained how preferential admissions policies at elite law schools like his own damaged the educational prospects for black students not only at Yale but also at less-selective schools. When a top-tier school like Duke lowered the admissions criteria for a minority student who met the normal admissions standards for a second-tier school like North Carolina, he noted, the latter institution was left with a smaller pool of qualified applicants and forced to begin admitting students who would be a better fit for a third-tier school, and so on.

“In sum,” wrote Summers (who died in 2010), “the policy of preferential admission has a pervasive shifting effect, causing large numbers of minority students to attend law schools whose normal admission standards they do not meet, instead of attending other law schools whose normal standards they do meet.”

For decades, diversity-obsessed college administrators have tried to conceal information on admissions and student outcomes broken down by race, but the data that have become public is devastating. An analysis of black students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the mid-1980s found that they had scored in the top 10% nationally on the math portion of the SAT but in the bottom 10% among their classmates at MIT. As a result, black students were dropping out at much higher rates, and those who didn’t leave typically received lower grades than their white and Asian classmates. Affirmative action had turned some of the smartest kids in the country into failures, in a misguided effort to obtain some predetermined racial mix on the quad….Read the rest of the Buckdancing Swill here

Lawn Jockey of the Week Award to Jason Riley for his blowjob on Justice Scalia's racism

Lawn Jockey of the Week Award to Jason Riley for his blowjob on Justice Scalia’s racism

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Black Conservatives

 

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SCUMUS “Justice” Scalia’s Racism

This piece is an open letter by Kiki Petrosino, who is a renowned poet. As a half Italian-American, black person she sees sides of Scalia’s racist Affirmative Action spew that he refuses to recognize… To be frank – Justice Scalia should be remanded from the case entirely based on his obviously racist views which make him unable to render a judgement within the Law. With Scalia, Justice isn’t blind, it wears polarizing lenses based on the color and ethnicity of the plaintiff.

An open letter to Justice Scalia

You assert that we can’t compete academically. As an artist and an educator of color, I feel compelled to respond

Dear Justice Scalia,

On Wednesday, as you heard arguments in the affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas, you suggested that black students should enroll at “slower-track school[s],” rather than study alongside white students at the university. “I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible,” you said. Your words reinforced a panoply of false stereotypes about the intellectual abilities of African Americans and underscored what many Americans fear: that our institutions of higher learning are somehow overrun with minorities who have “taken” white students’ rightful spots. You ignored the fact that the University of Texas’s holistic admissions program isn’t about “admit[ting] as many blacks as possible;” that it’s a tailored procedure designed to ensure diversity in each freshman class, and it follows guidelines endorsed by the Supreme Court in 2003. But your choice of wording telegraphs a message that many Americans are all too willing to believe: that black people can’t compete in academically rigorous environments. This is a message to which I, as an artist and educator of color, feel compelled to respond.

In 1994, I was a high school freshman when a book called The Bell Curve was published to extensive attention. The treatise, authored by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, argued that human intelligence is heritable and that various ethnic groups have measurably different levels of intelligence. In a series of now-debunked statistical analyses, the Bell Curve authors suggested that African Americans have lower intelligence (as measured by IQ) than whites or Asians, a factor that supposedly predestines us for a host of social misfortunes, like poverty and teen pregnancy. The book’s conclusions weren’t closely examined prior to publication, but that didn’t stop The Bell Curve from selling 400,000 copies in hardcover or spending fifteen weeks on the New York Times best seller list. Thousands of people were willing to hand over good money to buy into this book’s awful premise.

As a result, I entered high school knowing precisely how low an opinion many Americans had of black students like me. I already knew I’d have to work hard to achieve success, but the praise for that book—author interviews, pundit commentary—made me see what I was up against. While I was lucky to find supportive teachers and friends throughout my education, my mixed-race heritage baffled many of the other adults around me. I recall family friends congratulating me on my academic successes by implying that I “must have gotten that from Dad,” while my singing talent was ascribed to my African American mother. I responded to most of these statements with a healthy eyeroll, but I understood that my achievements continually would be “surprising” to certain observers, and that I’d have to keep proving that I deserved to be exactly where I was. This never ends, by the way.

When I was accepted to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a friend who’d applied to the same program asked, pointedly, whether the fellowship I’d won was “something for African Americans.” In the moment, I understood his anxiety; he was still waiting for an acceptance letter. But this friend had never talked to me that way before; we’d never drawn asterisks beside each other’s achievements. As it happened, my fellowship from Iowa was for underrepresented students, but of course, you had to meet the highly selective requirements of your program first, and show exceptional talent. No “slower-track” needed, thanks. Even now, as a teacher, my color confounds. A colleague at one of my first teaching jobs once looked me up and down, and asked, “which half of you is black?” as if my body were divided by a secret equator, or dipped in invisible ink. At another moment in my early teaching career, a student who was unhappy with her grade surreptitiously snapped a photo of me at my lectern and tweeted that my afro made it impossible to take me seriously as a professor.   

Justice Scalia, I want to remind you that we share this country together. I’m descended from free and enslaved people. Some of them were black Virginians who worked hard to attain literacy and economic mobility in a nation that continually excluded them from the body politic. In fact, I hold a BA from the University of Virginia, where you spent four years as a Professor of Law, and an MA from the University of Chicago, another institution where you taught. And we share more than academics. My European ancestors arrived in America as Italian immigrants, just as yours did. You must know that the privileges of “whiteness” were not automatically bestowed on Italians. It wasn’t that long ago that Creuzé de Lesser wrote, “Europe ends at Naples, and ends badly. Calabria, Sicily, and all the rest belong to Africa.” At the height of the immigration wave, Italian Americans were subject to discrimination and violence, to negative stereotypes and offensive caricatures. In public schools, Italian children were discouraged from speaking their native language, even at home, while in the workplace, their parents often were barred from all but the lowest-paying manual labor jobs. The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 was authorized, in large part, to curtail immigration from southern and eastern Europe. Today, we recognize how unfair all of this was, and we celebrate the contributions of Italian Americans in every sector of public life.

But as Republican presidential candidates call for sealing our borders to Muslim immigrants, and as increasing numbers of Americans react to world events with fearful xenophobia, your words feed into a stream of ugly “othering” that must end. I think you know that skin color is no predictor of intellectual acuity or future success in school. Students who are admitted to colleges and universities have the right to a rewarding education full of discoveries and challenges. This is the blessing of equal protection in public education. The Court must uphold it. Your comments this week show that you prefer to think of your fellow Americans, and especially African Americans, as points on a graph. But that approach reflects the exact type of one-size-fits-all thinking that you claim to oppose in affirmative action policy. Even worse, because you make no room in your comments for the health of the campus communities that admissions policies are designed to serve. Diversity benefits the whole campus. Every day, I’m thankful for the students I’m privileged to teach. They come from rural and urban areas, they practice Christian and non-Christian religions, they’re young parents and returning veterans and hopeful poets. We need them all.       

Allow me to describe something for you: in the mountains of Fumin County, in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan, there’s a slender village road that twists through a landscape of clouds and red earth. At the center of town is a Christian church where young people, dressed in colorful robes, gather to sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah in crystalline harmony. They do this each evening, after completing their farm work. The choir is famous. The singers know hundreds of songs and can sing in multiple languages. If you go there, as I did several years ago, they will sing for you. Afterwards, they’ll invite you to ask as many questions as you wish about their culture (the Miao people) and it’s only polite to return their invitation. What would you like to know about my country? You’ll ask. But the singers of Xiaoshuijing will have just one question: Tell us about your choirs.

Justice Scalia, I wish to imagine America as a great chorus of unfolding voices, a massive instrument. When I think of the Xiaoshuijing singers, of the mystery that moved through their question so beautifully asked, I’m nearly undone. But I’m a professor of poetry; I live for beautiful questions. As a Supreme Court Justice, you move in the realm of answers, interpretations, solutions. Sometimes I wonder whose voice you hear. What’s it like to hear the law speaking with a singular voice, immutable from the moment of ratification? Over the years, you’ve sparred with Justice Breyer and others about how the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision was reached. It seems that this vital ruling doesn’t square as neatly as you’d like with your originalist approach to constitutional interpretation. You’ve had to return to the issue in public comments, and you’ve consistently voted to weaken laws and policies, like affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act, designed to remedy the damage caused by our nation’s ongoing romance with structural racism.   

Where should black students study? What schools are best for them? These questions already have been settled as a matter of constitutional law and they are not before you in the current case. The problem we must resolve as a society is not where to send students of color, but how to acknowledge the humanity of every American and how to ensure an educated populace for future generations. When I left my hometown for college, I was a black student. So? What else? I was a woman, an Italian American, a singer, a writer, an intellectual. I made good decisions to attend UVA, Chicago, and Iowa, and those institutions made good decisions by accepting me. Just like any other student, it was my responsibility to seek success for myself, to find mentors, to compete in the academic environments where I found myself, and to try to leave the place a little better than I found it. Who were you when you left for college, Your Honor? I’m sure the answer would not fit comfortably into a single sentence, a solitary line of prose. Remember there are 350 million Americans who are just as complex as you are. Imagine the sound we could make with all of our voices. 

Kiki Petrosino is the author of two books of poetry: Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013) and Fort Red Border (2009), both from Sarabande Books. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The New York Times, FENCE, Gulf Coast, Jubilat, Tin House and elsewhere. She is founder and co-editor of Transom, an independent on-line poetry journal. She is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville, where she directs the Creative Writing Program. Her website is http://wwww.kikipetrosino.com.
 
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Posted by on December 13, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Black Conservative Snidely Whiplash Repeats White Supremacist in Rant

For those of you who may be too young to remember an animated series on the “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” show called ” Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties“, the principal villain in the show was “Snidely Whiplash” best known for tying innocent vixen Nell to the railroad tracks to be run over.

Never ones to stray from character, or be particularly inventive, we have the black Snidely – Peter Kirsanow, who was the right’s Lawn Jockey on the “U.S. Commission on Civil Rights” to support the racist groups under the Bushit Administration. So no surprise the black Snidely is quoting white supremacists, such a Jonah Goldberg of the racist infested National Review.

Civil Rights Official Cited By Scalia Dismisses Black Lives Matter Protesters As ‘Precious Little Flowers’

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Wednesday suggested that black college students should choose a “less-advanced” or “slower-track” institution, he referenced a brief filed by lawyers Gail Heriot and Peter Kirsanow, two opponents of affirmative action who say that the policy discourages black students from studying science and engineering.

It turns out that Kirsanow, who is black, is also not a fan of minority students protesting institutionalized racism, as he noted while discussing the Fisher case Monday on a panel at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

Responding to an audience question about the Black Lives Matter movement and students “browbeating” for reforms on college campuses, he questioned the existence of institutionalized racism in education and dismissed the Black Lives Matter protesters as “precious little flowers.”

“They are these precious little flowers that believe they’ve been discriminated against, 50 years after passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” he said. “It is incredible what we’re countenancing here.”

Calling institutionalized racism “a feeling,” he later added: “I keep hearing about white privilege. The most privileged students in schools in 2015 America are Hispanic and black students by far.”

Both Heriot and Kirsanow serve on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and were appointed by President George W. Bush.

During the court’s oral arguments on Fisher vs. University of Texas at Austin, an affirmative action case in which the plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, claims she was rejectedfrom the University of Texas at Austin in part because she is white, Scalia suggested that black students should not receive preference because they fare poorly at elite schools. He drew from several briefs filed in favor of Fisher and arguing against affirmative action, including Heriot and Kirsanow’s brief, which cites data to claim that fewer black students pursue science and engineering fields when admitted through racial preferences, and that black students in these fields do not come from prestigious research universities.

“One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas,” Scalia said. “They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”

Scalia then argued that because of that, schools like the University of Texas “ought to have fewer” black students.

“I don’t think it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible,” he said.

On the panel, Kirsanow also discussed the “mismatch” theory, proposed by UCLA law professor Richard Sander, whose brief Scalia also cited on Wednesday. It claims that minority students admitted to elite universities under affirmative action find classes too rigorous and eventually have to drop out. That theory has been widely debunked.

Further, while it is true that the majority of Black graduates in the STEM curricula graduate from HBCU’s – the majority of those gradates who do matriculate to the Masters and Phd levels from non-HBCUs, and a  portion finish their PHd’s at elite universities. Unfortunately there are few African-American STEM graduates.

Another Lawn Jockey of the Month award for Snidely…

Black Conservative Jock Strap Award

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2015 in Black Conservatives

 

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