Supreme Court Ends Affirmative Action For Black Students, But More White Students Benefit From Legacy Admissions

A majority-conservative U.S. Supreme Court has gutted affirmative action. On June 29, the court ruled that colleges and universities can no longer take race into consideration when it comes to admissions. 

The decision overturns the long-standing precedent that benefitted Black and Latino students in higher education. The court sided with conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions, which argued that universities’ admissions processes discriminate against white and Asian American applicants.

But the higher court did not completely make college admissions fair by gutting the race-base admissions process. Nepotism still reigns when it comes to college admissions. 

In 2019, the National Bureau of Economic Research conducted a study which revealed startling facts about who benefits most when it comes to the admissions process at Harvard. 

The study showed that only about 6% of applicants were admitted to Harvard from 2009 until 2014. But it helped tremendously if the prospective student had relative who previously attended the school; had a relative who donated money to the school; or their parent or family member was on staff or faculty. 

Harvard applications asks if prospective students had a family member that previously attended the school. The students that selected “yes” had a 33.6% chance of acceptance. 

It also helps if your parents are wealthy enough to donate to the school. In quid pro quo fashion, students who come from families that donated to Harvard were 42.2% likely to gain the acceptance letter. 

The students who truly got an upper-hand were those whose parents were members of the faculty or staff. They had a 46.7% chance of gaining acceptance. 

The study also revealed that white students were more likely to fall into those categories with 43% benefiting as legacy students, children of faculty, family of donors, or athletes. It also revealed that 75% of those students would not have been accepted to Harvard if they did not receive the special treatment. 

But somehow, a Black student body that makes up only 6.5% were considered to be given unfair advantages, according to the Students for Fair Admissions and, now, the Supreme Court. 

The landmark decision to overturn race-base admissions was not an attempt at fairness. It’s an overt attack on Black youth who seek to gain success through higher education. That within itself is a form of discrimination that is being made legal by the highest court in the land. A skewed conservative court mostly implemented during the erratic Presidency of Donald J. Trump. 

Because if the decision was truly about being fair and allowing every student to start on an equal playing field, the legacy students, children of faculty, family of donors, or athletes would not be allowed to receive special treatment. But if the court’s true goal was to make it harder for Black people to achieve through education, its mission was accomplished. 


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