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Race Continues to Matter in the United States

May 1, 2016
Plain English Version

Headline announcing the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Decision ending segregation in public schools.

Race has always been a big issue in the United States. After all, the country had a Civil War to end slavery 150 years ago. Slavery ended. However, segregation and laws that hurt blacks did not end.

About sixty years ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a very important matter. It said that “separate but equal is not equal.” The decision ended segregation in public schools. It is called Brown versus Board of Ed. Later, many programs were put into place to give blacks and other minorities a better chance to do well in school.

One of the ways the courts tried to help black students was by making sure more of them got into college. For a while, they used the idea of a “quota.” It ordered schools to take in a certain number of black students. Years later it was said that method was not allowed by the U.S. Constitution.

Courts and schools then started “affirmative action” programs to help minority students get into college. Use of the quota system ended. A few years ago, affirmative action was said to discriminate against white students.

Colleges continue to find ways to increase the number of minority students. They now use “diversity” as a reason to enroll members of minority groups.

Here we are at the end of 2015. The Supreme Court is again looking at the challenge of increasing the number of black and other minority students in college.

The University of Texas said it would admit the top ten percent of all high school graduates. But it knew that many high schools were still of one race. They knew that meant they would have a decent number of black students.

Does that program discriminate against whites? We will find out about six months from now.

We have come a long way from “separate but equal is not equal.” There is still a division about using color in making school decisions.

Source: The New York Times December 9, 2015

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