News broke this week that, in honor of Black History Month, we may be soon discussing whether white people are discriminated against. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, which is likely to rehash a discussion of affirmative action. Although the Court decided that taking race into account in college admissions is legal -- and that the issue wouldn't need to be revisited for another 25 years -- it's not clear the current Court will agree. Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren joined Lawrence O'Donnell on The Last Word to discuss the potential fallout:
Why should we care whether student bodies -- or any grouping of people, for that matter -- are diverse? As Dorian puts it, "It's an important national interest to advance diversity, especially when it comes to leadership." Just take a look at the fact that the last time this question was raised by the Court, "that case drew the most amount of amicus briefs in the history of the Supreme Court, from Fortune 500 companies to the military," who all agreed that diversity is vital to what they do.
But even with affirmative action condoned as a tactic for diversifying student bodies, Texas is falling behind. "Roughly three out of the four students at University of Texas are white, even though whites make up only 50 percent of the high school graduates," Dorian points out. "So they're already overrepresented arguably at the university and blacks and Latinos are still underrepresented."
Those kinds of numbers can only get worse if affirmative action policies are struck down by the Supreme Court. We'll have to see what happens in November, when the Court hearings are likely to begin.