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SCOTUS Affirmative Action Decision...

SCOTUS Affirmative Action Decision Ignores Elephant in the Room

By: Kendall Qualls - July 11, 2023

Kendall Qualls

Anyone who examines the condition of black Americans objectively will see what I see – a culture that has departed from its roots of faith, family, and education.

Growing up in the Jim Crow South, my parents grew up dreaming of a world where they didn’t have to use “colored-only” restrooms, sit in the back of the bus, attend segregated schools, and could sit in restaurants together with other Americans – regardless of their race, creed, or nationality.

They dreamed of equality for all. Yet, almost 70 years after the Supreme Court struck down “separate but equal,” the recent decision to strike down affirmative action makes it clear that many black progressives like Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson – who benefited from the Brown v. Board of Education decision – still view the issues of race and equality through rose-colored glasses.

As Justices Clarence Thomas and Jackson traded their arguments in the pages of the majority opinion and dissent, one thing became clear: The concepts of equality vs. equity rule the reasoning. However, while Justice Jackson makes her case for equity by stating, “The takeaway is that those who demand that no one think about race (a classic pink-elephant paradox) refuse to see, much less solve for, the elephant in the room – the race-linked disparities that continue to impede achievement of our great Nation’s full potential,” she fails to address the pink-elephant in the room – the very elephant responsible for the disparities we see prevalent today.

Anyone who examines the condition of black Americans objectively will see what I see – a culture that has departed from its roots of faith, family, and education. Since the 1960s, we have gone from 80% of black children being born into two-parent homes to 80% of black children being born to single mothers in 2017. Affirmative action programs cannot and will not make up for the decline of two-parent families over the last 50 years and its effects on generations of black children.

Research reveals that children from two-parent families, regardless of race, experience high levels of academic success compared to children from fatherless homes. A 2021 study from The Institute for Family Studies found that “Black children in single-parent homes were 3.5 times more likely to live in poverty.” The same study found that black children raised by two parents had a 70% higher chance of graduating from college, while those raised by single parents were “twice as likely to be incarcerated by their late 20s.”

It’s an issue that progressives ignore outright. The steep decline of the two-parent black family began after government policies started financially incentivizing women to have children outside the bonds of marriage. The programs were heavily marketed in black communities during the LBJ administration in the 1960s. As a result, we’re experiencing a social tragedy that is the byproduct of generations of government-dependent black children who come from fatherless homes.

Justice Jackson called on us to “stare at racial disparity unblinkingly, and then do what evidence and experts tell us is required to level the playing field and march forward together.” Yet, Justice Jackson ignores the left’s own expert, Dr. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In 1965, Moynihan, a member of LBJ’s administration, argued that the root cause of disparities was the breakdown of marriage in the black community. “The fundamental problem,” he determined, “is that of family structure.” In his report, Moynihan called for a national effort to strengthen the black family in America. 

Progressives, like Justice Jackson, who choose to embrace the left’s rose-colored version of race and equality, have oddly enough traded the discrimination black Americans have faced throughout American history for one of their own in their arguments in favor of affirmative action, where employers and schools get to pick winners and losers based on the color of their skin.

Instead, we should focus on the fundamentals of faith, family, and education. If we shift our focus from band-aid fixes to real solutions and incorporate the fundamentals that prioritize black families and their children, we will see our community reach the levels of success achieved by other ethnic groups. The evidence is clear: When we prioritize tried and tested values over government handouts, the black community will thrive as it had in the 100 years prior to LBJ’s “government aid” initiative.


This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.

About the Author(s)
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Kendall Qualls

Kendall Qualls is a businessman, U.S. Army veteran, and candidate for the Republican nomination for governor of Minnesota.