The U.S. Supreme Court’s radical decision dismantling affirmative action in higher education is outrageous and disheartening and will limit educational and economic opportunity for people of color. The decision disregards decades of federal precedent upholding the consideration of race in higher education admissions and ignores the legacy of discrimination in American society, and the daily lived experience of people of color. NCLC, as a partner in the struggle for equity and racial justice, will continue to fight for policies that dismantle systemic racism, lessen the Racial Wealth Gap and expand educational opportunities for all Americans.
Systemic racism affects every aspect of Americans’ lives – not just educational opportunities, but also economic mobility, generational wealth, community investment, and wealth-building opportunities. As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her impassioned dissent, “Ignoring race will not equalize a society that is racially unequal.” We recognize that our society is racially unequal. We will continue to fight for racial justice and equality, with our community and our coalition partners, using every tool at our disposal. And when they are not sufficient, we will fashion new tools to dismantle systemic oppression and lack of opportunity.
We will also be mindful of what this affirmative action decision did not say. It ruled that two schools’ admissions policies violated the equal protection clause. But it does not limit important diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that many institutions put in place or strengthened after the murder of George Floyd. We must not be deterred from pursuing policies that advance fairness and justice for all people.
We are committed to constructing a future with equal opportunity for people of color. In our Racial Justice and Equal Economic Opportunity Project, and in all aspects of our advocacy, NCLC is steadfastly committed to pursuing policies and programs that support consumers who have been historically and economically marginalized. We call on the consumer law community to join us in this work to dismantle systemic racism and promote economic justice for all people.
Rich Dubois, Executive Director
Odette Williamson, Director of NCLC’s Racial Justice and Equal Economic Opportunity Project