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The End of Affirmative Action: Implications for Diversity and Equity in Education and Workforce


The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, June 29, 2023, made the decision to reverse Affirmative Action as it relates to college admissions. Affirmative Action was enacted on March 6, 1961, by President Jonn. F. Kennedy as part of an Executive Order, which included a workforce DEI development provision. The workforce DEI development provision ensured that people of color were employed and treated equitably regardless of their race, creed, color, or national origin. In 1964, Affirmative Action was further woven into our governmental fabric through the Civil Rights Act. Through the years Affirmative Action has been revised to include both professional and academic pursuits by people of color to ensure an equitable selection process by hiring managers and college admission boards.


The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to rollback Affirmative Action disregards all the historically recorded and compiled discrimination data against people of color both in the workforce and academia, which is what led to the creation of Affirmative Action. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to rollback Affirmative Action neglects the diversity, equity, and inclusion policy violation reports that come in every year to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to rollback Affirmative Action belittles the social justice battles Africans and African Americans have had to endure since 1619, which is the year the first slaves were brought to America. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to rollback Affirmative Action discounts the social disdain Africans and African Americans have had to face and thrive in spite of to create their own station in life since January 1, 1863, which is the day Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation thereby ending over two hundred years of slavery. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to rollback Affirmative Action further discourages, marginalizes, and disenfranchises the African American community at large and invalidates the Black Experience in America.


The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision inherently contains major social and economic implications that carry the potential to derail the diversity, equity, and inclusion progress America has made thus far and worse send us back into an age in which employers and college admission boards can inconspicuously deny employment or education based on race and color. Moreover, it provides a pathway to academically suppress African Americans and other people of color on the collegiate level, which directly correlates to professional mobility given the social impression that degrees earned at ivy league colleges are worth more, therefore, if African Americans and other people of color are “legally barred” from attending ivy league schools again, then African Americans and other people of color will once again be in a position where their knowledge and skills are considered subservient and domestic.


Kweisi Mfume, a Maryland congressman, and former NAACP president said, "The effects of 200 years of slavery and 100 years of Jim Crow laws cannot be erased or overcome without first attempting to provide educational #opportunities to balance the scale of historic discrimination." Congressman Mfume, echoes the sentiments of many government leaders and individuals who have spoke out and against the U.S. Supreme Courts Decision to reverse Affirmative Action as if race and color are no longer an issue in America when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) saw a twenty percent increase in discrimination reports in 2022 when compared to the previous fiscal year.

The EEOC data, which is just one pool of data that validates and confirms the ongoing racial biases that spill into our workforce and schools serves as a reminder of who America still is and who she is still trying to become. I urge all of you who read this to reach out to your state and national representatives and petition to restore Affirmative Action. America is like a quilt, and rolling back affirmative action tears at the seams, unravels the beautiful tapestry, and reminds us of a time when a quilt was not made for warmth, but as a guide to freedom. If we forget the thread and pieces that hold America together, America forgets herself – the self that fled and fought England (oppression) and subsequently set out on a vicious war path to never face oppression again, but in the process became the oppressor, the murderer, the cheat, the thief, and the liar all in an effort to preserve freedom hard fought and won through blood – but that blood was not all your own white America. Africans, African Americans, and other people of color have shed their blood for America and deserve equal rights and access to the American dream and when America’s highest court denies education, life itself is denied.


Authored by Dr. Ayo Olufade, Ph.D.


Think STEM Careers! You Have the Opportunity to Create the Future and the Privilege of Deciding What’s in It! ~ Dr. Ayo Olufade, PhD

Excel in Learning. Excel in Life.


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