Clarence Thomas, an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, has been openly critical of affirmative action throughout his legal career. He opposes the use of race-based considerations in employment and higher education, arguing that they perpetuate racial divisions and undermine the principle of equal protection under the law. Thomas believes that affirmative action programs can lead to reverse discrimination and does not support race-based preferences or distinctions by the government.
In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively ended race-conscious admission programs at colleges and universities across the country. In a decision divided along ideological lines, the six-justice conservative supermajority invalidated admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.
The decision reverses decades of precedent upheld over the years by narrow Supreme Court majorities that included Republican-appointed justices. It ends the ability of colleges and universities — public and private — to do what most say they still need to do: consider race as one of many factors in deciding which of the qualified applicants is to be admitted.
Chief Justice John Roberts, a longtime critic of affirmative action programs, wrote the decision for the court majority, saying that the nation’s colleges and universities must use colorblind criteria in admissions.
During his confirmation hearings in 1991, Thomas famously referred to affirmative action as a “naked racial spoils system.” He has consistently voted against affirmative action in Supreme Court cases, including Grutter v. Bollinger and Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.
Although Thomas attended Yale Law School, which had an affirmative action program at the time, he has stated that he believes he earned his spot based on his own merits and not special treatment due to his race.
Thomas faced challenges in his legal career, experiencing difficulties in securing job offers from top law firms and feeling that his Yale Law degree was tainted by affirmative action. However, he ultimately obtained a job in part because of his race, according to his political mentor John Danforth.
The Potential Harm
The potential consequences include reduced diversity in schools and workplaces, perpetuation of inequalities, limited access to education, hindered social mobility, negative psychological effects, implications for workplace diversity, underrepresentation in leadership, backlash against minorities, impact on business performance, and challenges in addressing discrimination.
Including but not limited to:
- Reduced diversity in schools, workplaces, and other institutions, leading to less inclusive environments and limited perspectives.
- Continued inequality and hindered progress toward creating a more equitable society.
- Limited access to higher education for marginalized communities.
- Hindered upward social mobility for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Negative psychological effects, such as feelings of discouragement and reduced self-esteem.
- Implications for workplace diversity, impacting creativity, innovation, and customer understanding.
- Underrepresentation of marginalized groups in leadership positions.
- Potential backlash or resentment from certain segments of the population.
- Hindered business performance and decision-making due to the loss of diversity.
- Challenges in effectively addressing bias and discrimination.
How is it that a person who must attribute a large part of his success which culminated in being appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States to the opportunity of affirmative action is now the face of dismantling the program?
Is it that he is brainwashed, has he forgotten the 400+ years of oppression? I think not, he belongs to a segment of the Black community that seeks acceptance from the entrenched power structures at play. They qualify their success through one thing and one thing only, how do they get into the club. I call it the …”Is we okay Massa?”…approach, he seems to have forgotten that the very court he sits in and the 3 branches of government represented in the American constitution were built with the blood and sweat of free labour, solicited involuntarily ie. slavery. While he has the freedom to forget, omit and or pursue the dismantling of one of the few means of remuneration given to African Americans, let’s not be blinded by the veil of his office and the pretence of his rationale, the hypocrisy exhibited is based and rooted in one thing, money! It wreaks of greed and a willing ignorance to appease. I hope his ill gotten gains are worth the soiling of his legacy, and the damage it will cause as he mindfully turns the clock back to Jim Crow.
A recent SHRM HR article surmised that “Even as black or African-American men climb the corporate ladder, they still make less than equally qualified white men. They are the only racial/ethnic group that does not achieve pay parity with white men at some level.”
The study found that black men had the largest “uncontrolled pay gap” relative to white men, when comparing the average earnings of black men and white men in the U.S. On average, black men earned 87 cents for every dollar a white man earned. Hispanic workers had the next largest gap, earning 91 cents for every dollar earned by white men”…
NWLC calculations, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey for 2016, revealed that when comparing all men and women who work full time, year-round in the U.S., women were paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. But the wage gap was even larger when looking specifically at black women who work full time, year-round—they were paid only 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
“This gap, which amounts to a loss of $21,001 a year, means that black women have to work more than 19 months—until the very last day of July—to make as much as white, non-Hispanic men did in the previous 12-month calendar year,” Temple and Tucker observed.
NWLC also found that:
- Black women make up 10 percent of the low-wage workforce—jobs that typically pay less than $11 per hour, or about $22,880 annually—while they make up just 6.2 percent of the overall workforce.
- Black women’s share of the high-wage workforce—jobs that pay more than $48 per hour, or about $100,000 annually—is less than half their representation in the overall workforce.
Don’t get me wrong, I too wish for a day when the playing field is level, without the need for programs of any kind to level up. However, the data suggests we are not there and I cannot fathom how one is expected to compete equally when the very constitution itself, the foundation of the American experiment, was rooted in the exclusion of the Black experience. Article one, section two of the Constitution of the United States declared that any person who was not free would be counted as three-fifths of a free individual for the purposes of determining congressional representation. So if I’m 60% of the value of my slave owner from inception, in other words not equal, how do we level up Justice Thomas? Maybe we should ask George Floyd or Philando Castile? Black men are 7 times more likely to be incarcerated than their White counterparts, we definitely seem to have more opportunities in that department. Maybe that’s what his version of affirmative action looks like…