Today there is a lot of talk about the Supreme Court considering whether to uphold Affirmative Action in the University of Texas case.
As a person who has thought about and written about racial injustice for years in my novels, I thought I’d share my thinking on this issue. Yes, slavery has been legally over for 150 years, but injustice and inequality persevere. For instance, in my home town, we are embroiled in a huge scandal. The school district has allowed terrible inequalities to persist – and knew it. Segregation has reasserted itself and the low-income, mostly minority families now send their kids to schools that are underfunded and understaffed so that many children don’t even feel safe, much less do they feel the classrooms are calm enough to learn.
Of course this is a complex issue. I could go on and on about our local school system and the ways it is failing children, but for the moment, I’ll simply declare: children coming out of those schools are not getting the education children get in the more affluent neighborhoods. And it is oh so wrong.
Thus. Affirmative Action is still needed. It has helped – no question the black middle-class is growing because young people were given a chance they would likely not have had without this government intervention. Since we are still failing to guarantee equal education to all our children, we are obligated to do what we can to mitigate the inequities at the college level. Maybe someday we will have “fixed” the injustices that come from poorer education in minority schools – until then, we owe those children who have been short-changed a shot at success – and Affirmative Action is important to that end.
A local columnist finishes all his essays with this: That’s all I’m saying. Ditto.
My new – and last – novel about slavery is coming out in a couple of weeks. Look for Livy on Amazon.