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Saturday, February 6, 2016
Points of view

Opportunity is American

By Jennifer Green

Affirmative Action: The American Dream — or an American nightmare?

 Will a verdict passed down upon the Fisher vs. University of Texas case, now being debated fiercely in the United States Supreme Court, be the death of affirmative action? The plaintiff in the case is challenging the legitimacy of the largest reparation within American society. The future of minority and women’s groups’ integration into the progressive mainstream —  seen through the advancement of underrepresented populations through universities, the workplace and the private sector — hangs in the balance of the high court’s final decision, which will determine the fate of those who seek parity in society. Initially used to dismantle past discrimination, the antinomy of what to do about affirmative action seems to have no end.  

The particular case now being argued by the United States Supreme Court involves a young Caucasian woman, Abigail Fisher, who challenged the rejection of her application to her preferred institution of higher learning by arguing that she was excluded from entering the University of Texas because she is white. The tidal wave of a decision in favor of the plaintiff has the potential to dismantle many civil rights landmarks, such as the Voting Rights Act, in a way that would inhibit underrepresented populations to participate fully in determining their own destinies. 

Those who challenge Ms. Fisher’s lawsuit are relying on their most historically loyal supporter: the Supreme Court, which civil rights advocates have always trusted to expand access to education. However, despite the high court’s history of supporting civil rights initiatives designed to “equalize” American society, a ruling in favor of Ms. Fisher could be the beginning of the end of the court’s progressive agenda.     

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