On June 29, 2023, the United States Supreme Court delivered decisions in two cases (full text in PDF) regarding the legitimacy of using race as a factor in awarding admission to colleges and universities in the United States. This has been common practice for years at Harvard (a private institution) and at the University of North Carolina (a public institution). The court ruled that granting admission based on the racial background of the individual is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, part of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment was originally added to the Constitution to ensure equal treatment of all U.S. citizens, regardless of race. In recent decades, in an effort to compensate for unjust discrimination against blacks in the past, various educational institutions, branches of government and even privately-owned or publicly-traded corporations have adopted some form of “affirmative action” in their admissions, hiring and promotions policies.
“Affirmative action,” also known as “positive discrimination” was intended to right the wrongs of the past. However, even young children know that “two wrongs don’t make a right.” It’s refreshing and hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court has officially come out in support of the constitutional principle of equality.
The two cases were brought by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) as the petitioners vs. Harvard and UNC, the defendants. Students for Fair Admissions claimed that race-based admissions gave special deference to African-American and Latino students and unfairly discriminated against white and Asian students. In 6-2 and 6-3 decisions, the Supreme Court agreed.
The decision has been harshly attacked by supporters of affirmative action. It’s difficult to find any mainstream media that support the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts or its implications. A quick Google scan of headlines from the NY Times, the Washington Post, CNN and NBC produced dozens of critical analyses and little—if any—credit for this courageous and politically-incorrect court decision. The Epoch Times, quickly becoming the go-to news source for more conservative-minded readers, ran a positive story here along with other articles praising the actions of the court on various issues in 2023. But the Democrat-backed leftist media remain openly hostile to eliminating race-based admissions.
For a little background understanding of the specific institutions in question, it may be noted that Harvard receives about 60,000 applications for admission each year and fewer than 2,000 students are accepted. That means that 29 of every 30 are rejected. UNC receives approximately 43,500 applications and accepts about 4,200 freshman each year. That indicates that more than 9 out of every 10 are rejected. This rejection by these prestigious institutions could be very disappointing for anyone applying; how much more so when students who may not have worked as hard or who do not have comparable academic achievements are taken in solely on the basis of their racial background! The Supreme Court was correct in deeming this racial discrimination and declaring it unconstitutional. Asian and white students who have put in the work, who have sacrificed their time and effort to excel, deserve the opportunity to earn a placement. Those of every race who aspire to attain a degree from any university or college should never be thwarted by racial discrimination, however noble the motives of those implementing it.
This story comes from the U.S.; why should we care what happens south of the border? Canada and the U.S. are joined at the hip in many ways: geographically, economically and in our shared heritage of principles passed down from the Magna Carta and the Bible. In recent decades, sadly, both countries have taken many steps down the road of despotism, of a ruling class of elites, of socialistic economic policies and unbiblical social policies emanating from a secular worldview.
While the U.S. is currently benefiting from a Supreme Court inclined to follow the Constitution, the Canadian Supreme Court remains heavily weighted to a more “progressive interpretational” view. In Canada, hiring practices in the federal bureaucracy, promotions, appointments and privileges seem to flow more easily to those of recognizable minority status; the idea of merit or earned expertise as conditions are now openly mocked. We all believe that men and women should have equal opportunity and should be eligible to earn equal incomes for equal work. We believe minorities should never be discriminated against in hirings or promotions. But racial background should never be the determining factor in making awards. Hard work, skill and integrity of character must be understood as the qualifications for advancement or our motivation to improve in those categories will inevitably suffer. When mediocrity is rewarded, jealousy, slothfulness and spitefulness will undercut any advantage gained by misguided attempts to artificially achieve equal outcomes.
In 2016, Alberta struggled with a form of affirmative action when a European immigrant, Ladislav Mihaly, wanted to be accredited as an engineer without passing the required exams. He had failed the exam twice. The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta faced both a human rights trial and finally the Alberta Supreme Court, where (thankfully) the expectation of a certain level of knowledge and skills was upheld.
When interacting with licensed professionals in Canada—whether medical, engineering, electrical, or other—we expect that we will be protected by a standardized level of expertise. This confidence can only be maintained if the criteria for certification is based on the measurable knowledge and skills of the applicant, without regard to race.
The Christian Heritage Party welcomes members and candidates from every racial and ethnic background to join us in our efforts to make Canada a better place for everybody.
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Other Commentary by Rod Taylor:
- Le coût économique de l’anarchie morale
- The Economic Cost of Moral Anarchy
- Dans tout travail, il y a du profit
- In All Labour There Is Profit
- Qui est à blâmer pour la censure?
- Who’s to Blame for Censorship?
- Amis et alliés
- Friends and Allies
- Trudeau utilise un subterfuge pour interdire les produits de santé naturels
- Trudeau Uses Subterfuge to Ban Natural Health Products
- Affirmer l’égalité
- Affirming Equality