In case you haven’t been paying attention because you already went to college, there’s been quite a hullabaloo over affirmative action (again). The story is one Abigail Fisher got denied access to University of Texas and is blaming it on the fact the school has an affirmative action policy that promotes diversity. Somehow, this case has gotten all the way to the Supreme Court. And like 99 percent of affirmative action cases, the story begins with one brat.
Let’s break down the facts by discussing a few other reasons Abigail didn’t get admitted to UT:
1. University of Texas has a policy of automatically admitting the top 10 percent of high school students. Abigail wasn’t in the top 10 percent of high school students.
2. Those automatically admitted students make up for roughly 80 percent of the 38,000 or so students admitted annually. That leaves roughly 7,500 students that get admitted via an overarching admissions process.
3. The University of Texas student body in 2011 was five percent African-American, five percent Hispanic and 48 percent White.
So to recap: even though Abigail didn’t do well enough in high school to get automatically admitted (probably some Black kid’s fault), she still had roughly 6,750 open slots to get into the school based on merit alone. But she wasn’t admitted. Basically, Abigail is doing the equivalent of blaming handicapped spots for the reason she can’t find a parking spot at the mall.
Yet, here we are, again arguing about Affirmative Action – a conversation that never quite ends well. As African-Americans it’s difficult to argue for it without sounding like we’re asking for a handout and it’s difficult for White people to argue against it without sounding racist. In the end, not much gets accomplished and politicians end in stalemates more often than not.
There’s one thing we can agree on, though: Abigail Fisher should have been a little bit better in school and a little less of a brat and we wouldn’t be in this situation.