by John Honkala

The U.S. Supreme Court once again yesterday handed down a decidedly tepid and unfulfilling decision on affirmative action. Oh joy.

Both sides, of course, are calling this one a victory, and I guess they’re both right. Sort of, anyway. The University still gets to use its critical mass strategy, but the anti-quota crowd gets to sleep soundly tonight.

What this decision did not resolve, and what it likely never could, is the stalled out progress of repairing race relations in this country. Sides were picked long before Grutter gained national attention, despite what people want to believe about this being some sort of open discussion, with earnest listeners and debaters having their minds swayed by the logic or compassion of one another’s arguments. No, the problem of race is so deep-rooted in this country that most people have made up their minds about how it should be addressed long before they can legally drink beer. Either we want to talk about it or we don’t. And both sides believe their side has the moral imperative, although the fingers they point in blame aren’t necessarily in the same direction.

So, we’ll move on from here, find new ways to “promote diversity” that will inevitably be challenged again in court. Not a whole lot will change where it counts, in the secret thoughts of the people. And meanwhile, blacks will riot in poverty-stricken Benton Harbor while the white middle class in St. Joseph’s shakes its collective head. And very few people will talk about the connection between the failure of the Supreme Court to resolutely back solutions to America’s race problems and the riots in Benton Harbor.


Honkala can be reached at honkala@umich.edu.


by Jason Pesick

The most interesting thing about the way that the country has reacted to the opinions that the court issued yesterday is that everyone has declared victory. Everybody seems to be happy with what the court had to say.

This is pretty shocking given this court’s history of dividing the country and of often being sharply divided by a 5-4 margin. Could this decision be pitch perfect? Could the justices have found the correct balance for Lady Liberty’s scales?

While that’s possible, it’s more likely that all sides seem pleased with the opinions because both sides read into them whatever they would like to see. That could bring us some much-needed serenity for a little while, but it also says something about our ability to look at issues without our own views clouding our perceptions.


Pesick can be reached at jzpesick@umich.edu.

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