Southland Black Chamber of Commerce Chairman Dr. Cornel Darden Jr.’s Statement on the Supreme Court Ruling Regarding Affirmative Action at Colleges and University (Tinley Park, IL) – The recent U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action has sent shock waves through the nation. Decades of legal precedent and policy have been rolled back. Being the Chairman of the largest Black Chamber of Commerce in Illinois, I know all too well the effectiveness of affirmative action in government contracting and other business — for if affirmative action did not exist, black businesses simply would not participate in the vast majority of instances.
When it comes to institutions of higher Learning, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) exist because black people with the best test scores and grades could not participate at Predominantly White Institions (PWIs). While the Chamber of Commerce mostly concerns itself with business matters, we are closely monitoring the slippery slope effect of this ruling on the business community. Personally, I believe that black families and black students should invest in and attend HBCUs. Roughly 90% of all black doctors, lawyers, engineers, judges, etc. are all HBCU graduates. That very fact alone tells me that HBCUs prepare black students much better for success.
State Rep. Marcus Evans pointed out a very interesting fact in his statement on this issue stating:
“..There seems to be little to no resistance to other nonacademic factors used in admissions that largely benefit White, affluent and well-connected students. These include considerations of a student’s athletic talents and whether they are a child of a donor, alum or faculty member. Each of these categories mostly benefit White, affluent, well-connected students to the detriment of Asians and other racial and other ethnic groups, although the same fierce resistance to these policies has not materialized. It is clear to me, as it should be to you, that racism has shielded these policies from the level of scrutiny faced by affirmative action. state State Rep. Evans”
“In fact, between 2014 and 2019, 43 percent of Harvard’s White students benefited from those policies in the admissions process. During those same years, Harvard’s Black student population never exceeded 10 percent, falling short of our 13 percent share of the total U.S. population.”
The hypocrisy in making it a priority to focus on the benefits of black people who have generationally suffered from discriminatory laws and have had the law broken to discriminate against them is apparent in this ruling. If ensuring that discrimination based on race is such a priority, then why isn’t that being done? There are several cases for the Supreme Court to tackle to help in the fight against discrimination. The fact that white people enjoy many forms of affirmative action ostensibly goes unanswered by those who want to get rid of affirmative action for black people.
It Should be About Performance
Academia is mostly about grades and test scores. Those with the top performance in the traditional categories should be selected in highly selective institutions. There are many institutions that discriminate against black students who outperform their peers in those categories but are rejected for admission. Yet, fighting that issue doesn’t seem to be a priority right now.
This decision has caused issues that will keep the fight against Jim Crow well and alive. The decision itself, isolated on its own, may seem harmless to many people like myself, for I, again, believe that black families should support and attend HBCUs where as a people, we have a much better track record of success.
As it was a Republican Supreme Court that made this decision, it’s even more of a hypocrisy given that it is a Black Republican who is considered the Father of Affirmative Action: Arthur Fletcher. Arthur Fletcher is a past Chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
As always, we will continue to be optimistic and work toward a better America.
Southland Black Chamber of Commerce Chairman Dr. Cornel Darden Jr.’s Statement on the Supreme Court Ruling Regarding Affirmative Action at Colleges and University