What The End of Affirmative Action in Higher Education Means (and Doesn’t): Addendum

Finally (for now), the end of affirmative action is far from the end of anti-black rulings from this court. Affirmative action in employment will almost certainly be the next thing to be ruled unconstitutional.

June 29, 2023 blog post at GenXJamerican.com

The corpse of affirmative action (except the carve-out for U.S. military academies) is barely cold, and already (July 3, 2023) the anti-woke hounds are baying at the heels of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the workplace.

But as a brief glance at the historical record will show, complaints about black people getting “special treatment” originating from people who aren’t black have a rather long history in this country. On March 27, 1866, President Andrew Johnson gave an entire speech regarding why he was vetoing civil rights legislation passed by both houses of Congress. Among his many objections were that black people would receive “Federal citizenship” immediately while 11 states were not represented in Congress. The 11 states (of course) were the ones that started (and lost) the Civil War. Having “just emerged from slavery into freedom”, President Johnson questioned whether or not black people “possess the requisite qualifications to entitle them to all the privileges and immunities of citizens”. But here is the passage that perhaps best explains and exemplifies the sense of entitlement—both then and now—that some have when compared to the black people who built and fought for this country:

The bill in effect proposes a discrimination against large numbers of intelligent, worthy, and patriotic foreigners, and in favor of the Negro, to whom, after long years of bondage, the avenues to freedom and intelligence have just now been suddenly opened.

Paragraph 4 of the transcript of President Andrew Johnson’s March 27, 1866 speech vetoing civil rights legislation

If there is any meaningful difference between the logic President Johnson applied to reject civil rights legislation and the logic the conservative majority on the Supreme Court used to end affirmative action, it is not readily apparent. Within President Johnson’s objections to the granting of “Federal citizenship” to black people and the states right argument he advances to separate “State citizenship” from it are the seeds of modern arguments against birthright citizenship that we hear today from the same people who find common cause with the Confederates of that day. Should this country put the wrong person in the White House yet again, perhaps birthright citizenship will be among the many rights at risk.

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