On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the University of Texas at Austin in the Fisher v. University of Texas case. After eight years of legal battles between the university and Abigail Fisher, a decision was finally made. In 2008, Fisher was denied admission into UT Austin. The school was going to let her transfer in as a sophomore as long as she kept a good GPA. Instead, she decided to attend her second-choice school, LSU, and sue UT. She believed that, because of Affirmative Action, students of color who were less qualified than her were admitted. Because, you know, the fact that the students were people of color meant that they had the privilege of taking a white woman’s spot. Note the sarcasm.
Affirmative Action doesn’t only help the advancement of people of color, but other minorities as well, like women and people with disabilities, for example. Additionally, Texas has the Texas House Bill 588, also known as the Texas Top 10%. This bill, which was passed in 1997, basically allows any student that graduates in the top 10% of their high school class to be automatically accepted into any public college or university in the state. Those who do not graduate in the top 10% must compete for the limited number of spots left. In 2008, 92% of the spots were taken by people who graduated in the top 10, leaving only 8% of the spots for other students, including those who did not graduate top 10, international, and out-of-state. According to ProPublica and the Fisher v. UT Brief for Respondents, the applicants who were not automatically admitted were evaluated through two scores: an academic one and a personal achievements one. The second score included things like the essays and special circumstances. When the school did the evaluation, Fisher was not a particularly strong candidate. While the school did accept students who were less qualified than her, only five of the 47 students admitted were students of color: one was African American, four were Hispanic, and 42 were Caucasian (16). Why did she not say that the Caucasian students were the ones that took her spot? Because obviously, it was the students of color who had more privilege, right?
Apparently, Fisher and some of her supporters believe that it is so unfair that someone can be treated differently because of their race or ethnicity. Well, to Fisher and her supporters, you are seeing just a peek of the lives of people of color… and you will never fully understand what it means to live in that world. Because people of color don’t get hired if their name sounds or looks “ghetto”. Because people of color get dirty looks by strangers. Because people of color can’t go shopping without being followed. Because for people of color, especially people of color who have faced even more roadblocks, being able to get into a top university, can mean everything. Because Fisher was still able to graduate from LSU and get a job while spending eight years suing an institution. Because she does have the privilege many of us do not. Because she was not a stellar student and complained about not getting into her first-choice school. Because a white woman did not work hard enough to get in. And even when the system is there to benefit people like her, she seemed to not be able to work just hard enough to get in. Because people of color have to work twice as hard to achieve something, while people like her blame the hard-working people of color for “stealing” their spots… spots that they do not deserve in the first place.
So, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court for ruling against Fisher. And for that, #StayMadAbby.