Almost 60 Years Later and Losing Ground in the Battle to Integrate

May 17 is 60 years after 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas case was decided noting "separate but equal" as an oxymoron. A recent Farm Bill passed by Congress established that Ohio's Central State University along with the 80 Hispanic Colleges were Land Grant Colleges.

Have we forgotten that the 1890 Black Land Grant Act was passed for Black colleges? Six years later the U.S. Supreme Court declared in the Plessy v. Ferguson case that separate but equal was the law of the land. How did that work out for the nation?

By giving Hispanics their Land Grants in 2020, Congress has declared and the courts are following a prescription for "equal and separate" as the law of the land.

This is further evidenced by their April 22 ruling that state votes banning the consideration of race in education is allowed. This death knell for affirmative action will continue as has now happened in Michigan, California, Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Washington, and by state officials in Florida and New Hampshire.

The hypocrisy of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's opinion that " This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved … It is about who may resolve it. There is no authority in the Constitution of the United States or in this court's precedents for the judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit this policy determination to the voters." Why is this same logic not applicable to court rulings on same sex marriage, abortion, educational choice or other rulings where the states have their laws ruled against and must bear the resultant cost for the effect of these adverse court rulings?

In North Carolina, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors has added to this burden by raising admissions standards beyond that required to graduate, i.e. a 2.5 GPA to get in but only a 2.0 to get out. The discrimination here allows taxpayer dollars from all of its 100 counties to be expended for a narrower pool of students without a comparable look at whether exceptions to this rule are made for athletes. It has also allowed the UNC System to skirt the 1977 Adams v. Califano case regarding its need for compliance and development of an adequate desegregation plan.

Arthur Fletcher, Deputy Secretary of Labor during the Nixon Administration, established the Equal Opportunity Act in 1974 which should be held as valid today as then. This act did not become as bastardized as the affirmative action regulations which established quotas to get votes, set asides or other programs which would be shell companies or fronts for union activities, and behind the scenes groups misusing the regulations for financial gain.

The takeaways from these lessons not learned:

* For minorities and women, achievement matters and your admissions will be based on your academic rankings and works, not just your belief that you are entitled to societal privileges just because you are a citizen.

* For states and local governments, a concentration on inequalities must be undertaken less we see riots in the street, more disgust with government, and a resurgence of state's rights in a manner which may prove ugly.

* For Congress and national leaders, it is imperative that we put citizens first. If we are going to take people's money in taxes then their access must be equal.

* For my alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, look closely at your history under late Chancellor James S. Ferguson, whose ground work of fairness established policies which have allowed you to yearly admit and graduate more Black students proportionately than any other college or university within six years, and whose numbers reflect our percentage of the state's population at approximately 23 percent Black.

Now that's what I'm talking about.

Dr. Ada M. Fisher is a physician, licensed teacher, and previously elected school board member, and the North Carolina Republican National Committee chairwoman.

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Almost 60 Years Later and Losing Ground in the Battle to Integrate


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