Affirmative Action: What the Corporate Pundits Missed

William Burgis’ 1726 engraving of Harvard College–a college financed by fortunes made from slave labor.

When it was announced that Students For Fair Admissions, the anti-affirmative action group suing Harvard for its consideration of race in its admissions, was going to have a press conference, I anticipated hearing from one of the Chinese American students who allowed themselves to be used by the right to end Affirmative Action at Harvard. Instead, we got Ed Blum, one of those figures in American life who has a clinical thing about Black people and gets funders to underwrite his neurosis. He first tried to field a white woman student to challenge Affirmative Action, but her academics were weak. So he sought some Chinese Americans to proxy the aims of the right. Blum said they like to play golf like us.

So instead of one of the Chinese students airing their grievances or celebrating at the press conference, reminding one of a Colonial governor surrounded by mute Natives who have agreed to go to war against another tribe, Blum did all of the talking.

 The Harvard Crimson reported: Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) “is largely funded by conservative trusts, according to public filings since 2017.

“Though Edward Blum, the legal strategist behind SFFA, told the New York Times the group had received more than 5,000 individual contributions, a handful of conservative foundations make up the bulk of its funding. These include DonorsTrust, the Searle Freedom Trust, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, and the 85 Fund.” None of the panels on CNN and MSNBC mentioned this money.

Richard Nixon insisted upon Affirmative Action. He saw it as a case of National Security. So Affirmative Action was okay when Colin Powell was sticking his neck out fighting their enemies and when Blacks were firing missiles and using high-tech weapons.

Arthur Fletcher helped write the Affirmative Action legislation. He was called “The Father of Affirmative Action.” He took a lot of flak for working for Nixon. He lost three children. His son Arthur Fletcher Jr. used to visit us when we lived in New York. He died young—a really good kid. I dedicated a book to his memory.

The Roberts Court agrees that the military should be exempt from banning Affirmative Action in schools and elsewhere. You are all right with us as long as you get your ass blown off fighting for us.

Shira A. Scheindlin is the judge who got “Stop and Frisk” declared unconstitutional after thousands of Black and Brown boys were harassed by the NYPD. Black and Brown women complained that NYPD officers used “Stop and Frisk”as an excuse to molest them. She received the Adelle Foley Award from PEN Oakland for her excellent opinion writing.

Judge Scheindlin served on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York from 1994 to 2016. She wrote:

“Any day now, the Supreme Court will decide two cases that will determine the future of affirmative action — one involving race-conscious admissions at the University of North Carolina and a companion case involving Harvard.

“Although debates around affirmative action have typically focused on people of color, the policy has also applied to gender, and women have been among affirmative action’s greatest beneficiaries.”

None of the women on CNN or MSNBC discussing the court decision mentioned this fact.

 I wrote a play called “Life Among The Aryans.” My research indicates that government programs said to improve the lives of Blacks benefit whites the most. So, as in my play, whites would find some way to profit from reparations.

Finally, for ratings, the media couldn’t resist beginning a war between “Asian-Americans” against Blacks and Browns, as though the Chinese American pawns at Harvard represented “Asian American” opinion. I kept a clipping from 1995 that reads “Asian Groups Defend Affirmative Action.” Asian Americans continue to support Affirmative Action. This was after Newt Gingrich found another minority face to front the proposition that outlawed Affirmative Action at U.C, Berkeley. Former University of California regent Ward Connerly said he’d do it if they gave him $100,000.00. Gingrich raised the money.

Ishmael Reed’s play ”The Conductor,” which includes material about the right-wing forces behind the San Francisco Recall of school board members returns to The Theater for the New City in August. 501C3 donations for this play can be sent to:

Ishmael Reed’s latest play is “The Conductor.”