The Supreme Court is going to decide whether race should be a factor for admissions. This is a question that begs more questions. The reality is that everyone benefits from diversity in education, but sadly the curriculum at most schools seems to be what is lacking most in diversity. How much of world history, the contribution of African Americans, the realities of white conquerors, the struggles of India, the diversity of Asia is taught in even lower level education? Answer: not enough.
So by the time most kids graduate from high school and are headed to college, most don’t even have a clue as to how diverse the world they live in really is, and that’s today’s reality. What about the fact that the people making the decisions for who get into college have been educated under similar parameters – read: with the institutionalized racism that sets white achievement, white thought, white history as the standard bearer and everything other as diversity?
Last year, the “black” vote was greater than the “white” vote, so have the tides turned? Is it necessary now to screen applicants based on race to make sure that nonwhites are accepted at an equal rate?
If I look around at what is going on in New Orleans and use this city as a microcosm, I see grade schools and high schools that continue to teach along color lines – white is right. I see higher education segregated along color lines too – Tulane University is very white folks, if you haven’t noticed. I see young Black men dying in the streets because we haven’t answered the question of what they need to be fully functioning citizens of our society, instead we keep pushing them further and further out into the margins (read: death or prison).
Is it time now to change the system? Hell, I think the system needs to be gutted and reconfigured from top to bottom. Taking away race as a factor in college admissions is so not the only issue here – the issue is so systemic, so ingrained, so deep in the fabric of our society that we need to wake up and take a more holistic approach to every which way we are educating our children from in the home, to in early childhood education, to grade school on up to higher education. To help a child of color enter college, we have to start at ground zero.
So what do we do about a young adult today who is ready to start college? Huh? Say race isn’t a factor? Yeah right.