Is it racist to think you are more qualified because of your ancestors? It seems that Abigail Fisher and her lawyers made an error assuming she was discrimininated against because of her “skin color.” She and her lawyers are preying upon the insecurity and insidiousness of racism that has sadly permeated our society for centuries. What is shocking about Fisher v. Texas is that she is arguing that (somehow, some way) there were African Americans and Latina/os that were gaining admission to UT-Austin solely based on the color of their skin. She was wrong. False. Don’t agree with me? Read the following passage from the Atlantic.
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 — claimed 92 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 show her 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.
Regardless of the fact that the admissions data show that she and her lawyers were wrong. It may not stop the Supreme Court from making a political statement by banning “race” in admission. In the Michigan cases they weren’t able to do this because Justice O’Conner was still on the bench.
Incidentally, I was recently listening to Fresh Air on NPR when Justice O’Conner told of the story that when she graduated from Stanford University Law School, no law firms would hire her because they refused to employ female attorneys. She ended up working for free with a Bay Area prosecutor. Her desk was placed with his secretary. Wow.
Anyways, the fact that Abigail Fisher believes that she was rejected solely based on her race and that the Supreme Court took this case is undeniable evidence that we don’t live in a post-racial society. Some people still believe wrongly, in spite of factual evidence and data to the contrary, that they were discriminated against because they are White. Sadly, Abigail Fisher appears to symbolically represent that some Americans persist in supporting a legacy of racial entitlement and superiority that has permeated our society for centuries.
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