Today’s Supreme Court ruling that colleges and universities can no longer take into account race as a specific basis in admissions is a saddening move, one that represents a step backward in creating equal educational opportunity in America.
The Court’s decision ignores the realities of those who will be most negatively impacted by their decision — young Black, Brown and Native students. It adheres to the myth of meritocracy, which reinforces the cycle of inequity posed by those that challenge students to pull themselves up “by the bootstraps” while failing to acknowledge all the systems they are simultaneously navigating that threaten to leave them shoeless.
The dangerous and devastating effects of “colorblindness” are lengthy and have been well-documented. Even when controlling for socio-economic status, Black, Brown, and Native students:
- are more likely to have lower education expectations imposed upon them simply because of their race.
- are less likely to have access to Advanced Placement courses and tests than their white counterparts.
- are less likely to be identified as Talented and Gifted than their white counterparts, limiting their ability to access curriculum explicitly designed to be more individualized and challenging.
Explicit and implicit legacy admissions policies persist on campuses of higher education, despite their tendency to perpetuate socioeconomic disparities and make it even more difficult for prospective first-generation college students to gain access to education opportunities that we know are pathways out of poverty.
While it is refreshing to see after today’s ruling that several colleges and universities are expressing their commitment to keeping their campuses diverse, admissions processes must be reexamined to ensure they are fair and inclusive for our most vulnerable students.
The Surge Institute will continue in power and with purpose to educate and develop leaders of color who create transformative change for our young people and families affected by this ruling.
About the Surge Institute:
The Surge Institute is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established to develop and elevate leaders of color who create transformative change for children, families, and communities. Founded by Carmita Semaan in 2014, the organization was designed to empower emerging diverse leaders to change the landscape of education by providing them with a unique, authentic leadership development experience. To learn more about The Surge Institute, please visit our website.