Blacks Thrive Intellectually In Elite Universities: Justice Scalia's Flawed Rationale

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 Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson

[Commentary]

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is under fire for remarks suggesting that that African-Americans belong at “a less-advanced school, a less -- a slower-track school” and “most of the black scientists in this country don't come from schools like the University of Texas.”

As a proud graduate of elite universities which Justice Scalia apparently believes are too difficult for the likes of me – the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University - I’m both concerned and disappointed by the Justice’s remarks.

His insensitivity is matched only by his apparent ignorance of the thousands of Black scientists, lawyers, teachers, doctors and other successful professionals who excelled at elite institutions of higher learning. The nation’s best-known Black scientist, Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, in fact did earn his Master’s degree at the University of Texas – after earning his Bachelor’s degree at Harvard and before earning his PhD at Columbia.

In the case under the court’s consideration, 42 of 48 students admitted to UT who had lower grades and test scores than the plaintiff were White. Do those students belong at a “less-advanced, slower-track-school” than UT.

Furthermore, his comment is absurd on its face. Most professionals of all races and ethnicities do not study at elite universities. The fact that a small minority of students graduate from elite universities is, of course, what makes them elite.

All Americans who cherish the Supreme Court’s responsibility to uphold fairness and promote equality should raise their voices in opposition to Scalia’s flawed rationale.

Marc Morial, President/CEO
National Urban League

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