Supreme Court upholds segregation

Michael Williams

When Michigan voters passed the wryly named Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MRCI) in 2006 and banned affirmative action for state universities, we undermined some of the most vital educational reforms born of the Civil Rights movement. 

Michael Williams
Michael Williams

Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court defended states’ rights Tuesday, April 22 in response to a case forwarded by Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.

Opponents argue affirmative action is antithetical to equality, as it prefers non-white students. This tripe is predicated on a misconception that U.S. segregation has ended. Today’s segregation is rooted in lapsed economic opportunities for non-white communities. The wealth divide, Bush’s educational reforms (which increased funds for districts that don’t need it) and the gentrification process in urban communities result in de facto segregation, without Jim Crow. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has demonstrated the MCRI has clearly marginalized non-white communities since its passage, writing “African-American undergraduate enrollment fell by 33 percent between 2006 and 2012, even as overall enrollment grew by 10 percent. During the same period, Hispanic enrollment declined by 10 percent.”

While NMU still employs some affirmative action (mandated by their federal funds), students see a largely caucasian campus.

According to Northern’s website, caucasian undergraduates outnumber African American students 36 to 1 and Hispanic students 30 to 1. Furthermore, this is the first academic year in decades that African American students outnumber Native American undergraduates.

The Supreme Court did its job in defending the constitution, but it will take a mobilized public to counter the MCRI’s future impacts. 

Northern could use it.