National Association for Multicultural Education

NAME's Statement on Supreme Court's Limits on Affirmative Action

Like most people and institutions in the United States, the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) is painfully aware of how the U.S. Supreme Court majority is forcing local, state, and federal law towards a white supremacist, anti-women agenda, with precedent after precedent limiting how people live their lives.
A year ago, the Dobbs decision overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling protecting a woman’s right to an abortion ended. Then Supreme Court decisions released in late June revealed more distressing setbacks, ending affirmative action in higher education and ending President Joe Biden’s $400 billion student debt forgiveness program. The court decided against the University of North Carolina’s and Harvard University’s race-conscious admissions programs, ruling they violated the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment, prohibiting racial discrimination by government agencies. Affirmative action programs at colleges and universities nationwide grew out of the Civil Rights Movement and were instituted to force open college admissions processes that were designed to exclude Black and Latino access to higher education. President Biden criticized the Supreme Court upending nearly a half-century of affirmative action in college admissions, saying: “Discrimination still exists in America…. Today’s decision does not change that. It’s a simple fact.” The new ruling returns to a colorblind approach, ensuring the legal denial of what Derrick Bell framed as the permanence of structural racism.
On Biden’s student debt forgiveness effort, the court determined that the president lacks the authority to take such an action. As Representative Ocasio-Cortez argued, “Congress has given the president this authority. The Supreme Court is far overreaching their authority.” As with affirmative action, the Court majority once again ignores the exploitative nature of student loan industrial complex and its disproportionate impact on people of color and specifically Black communities. The Supreme Court additionally ruled in favor of a Colorado Christian web designer’s religious objections in refusing to create websites celebrating same-sex weddings. This decision opens the door to further eroding civil rights protections across the United States.
Playing unmistakably in the background are relentless attacks against critical race theory, and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in education, businesses, and governments. These white supremacist, anti-women, anti-GLBTQ++ community movements are being elevated and sustained by many 2024 GOP presidential candidates. As these political battles continue, NAME recognizes that these Supreme Court rulings combine with the aggressive, violent language and policies brought forth by local, regional, statewide, and national candidates. This backsliding impacts and traumatizes the entire NAME community and those we work alongside, as racialized and gendered attacks become increasingly normalized at the political level.
NAME knows that many progressive individuals and organizations are stunned by the backward actions of the Supreme Court, are lamenting the loss of hard-fought, half-a-century-old gains and are railing against the ultraconservative high court’s misguided decisions. Now more than ever is the time for creative thinking and action to stop the bleeding of civil and human rights. Creative reactions, such as well-defined and inclusive college admissions criteria that recognize long-standing racial disparities and racist structures, must accompany direct action to mobilize voters, protestors, and those who organize in the spirit of love, humanity, and racial consciousness. NAME emphasizes a quote from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as appropriate for everyone in this time of great division in the United States: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

To download the statement CLICK HERE.