WASHINGTON, D.C–Despite the polarized debate of justices Ketanji Brown-Jackson and Clarence Thomas, the end of “race-conscious” college admissions or affirmative action, never has, and does not pose any positive change for the masses of African people.
College education in the U.S., since its founding, was not meant for anyone outside of the ruling class–much less enslaved Africans, whose eventual “emancipation” was a glorified term describing the shift to a different type of slavery: sharecropping, peonage, and mass incarceration–all functions of colonial domination.
Practices like affirmative action have been largely justified by the idea that its implementation would “level the field” in academics for Africans and other historically excluded groups. In its practical application, this meant increasing the presence of Africans in “ivy league” places like Harvard by one or two percent over the course of several years.
This may represent some kind of balm or victory for those who ascribe to the idea that the advancement of a small number of Africans is a step toward liberation. However, it is clear that affirmative action, since its inception, has never benefited the masses of the African working class–the same people whose labor built the very halls they wish to exclude Africans from.
Ruling class media sources like the New York Times have framed the decision to end affirmative action by the debate between the two African justices Brown-Jackson and Thomas. Their disagreement is presented as the two main camps in which Africans in the U.S. find themselves divided. In reality, the core of Brown-Jackson and Thomas’ disagreement reflects the interests of the African petty-bourgeoisie–not the African working class.
The Times reports that the “two Black justices battled over the merits of affirmative action” as if to say that even Africans ourselves can’t agree on what’s best for us, or as though this debate over the lives and futures of the masses of African people is even legitimate.
What colonial media sources like the Times will never report is that these two justices do not represent the interests of the African working class.
As representatives of the African petty-bourgeoisie and members of the malicious, oppressive supreme court, who ultimately believe in the law’s ability to better the conditions of African people, Brown-Jackson and Thomas cannot be legitimate representatives and leaders of the African masses–Africans who are interested in building a revolution that creates a society governed by African workers.
The U.S. government historically and continuously attacks Africans who are committed to creating a world where we as African workers are direct beneficiaries of our own labor, ideas, and resources–it does not reward us with positions in what they call the “highest court in the land.” Under colonial democracy, the law is the opinion of the white ruling class; actively seeking the freedom of African people is an illegal act.
July 29 marked the anniversary of the FBI attack on the African People’s Socialist Party; Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Penny Hess, and Jesse Nevel face a maximum of 10 years in prison as a result. This is not the first, nor will it be the last, time the State has retaliated against the Party and the African Liberation Movement. This government openly and subversively attacks anyone that seriously challenges its hegemony.
In the concurring decision to end affirmative action, Thomas argued that statistical data showing economic disparities between white people and African people is “irrelevant” to the constitution and not a valid way to uphold affirmative action. Thomas insists on the “colorblindness” of the U.S. constitution and maintains that justice Jackson uses her statistics on “health, wealth, and well-being [disparities] to label all blacks as victims.”
In essence, Brown-Jackson argues in favor of affirmative action because of slavery and present disparities, and Thomas argues in opposition because he thinks any decision based on race, even if it is for the so-called benefit of said group, is against the law. Brown-Jackson fights for the continued access to ivy-league education in order to reproduce the African petty-bourgeoisie and Thomas for the very constitution that won’t recognize his own agency. What both fail to recognize is the inapplicability of the constitution to Africans and the inefficacy of affirmative action in practically educating the African masses.
The end of “race-conscious” college admissions is an attack against Africans within the context of a colonial system who, at one point, murdered enslaved Africans who were caught trying to learn how to read. This decision is also informed by the recent attacks on black history and curriculum in the classroom, the banning of black books, and highlighted by the U.S. government assault on the Chairman and the Party. These attacks, and those against the right to freedom of speech, reflect a war on ideas that pose an existential threat to the colonial social system.
But let’s be clear: the total and absolute liberation of African people does not hang in the balance of affirmative action. Liberation is only achievable by our commitment to building a world in which African people have the power to produce and reproduce life, to work and build for ourselves economically, politically, and culturally. Affirmative action and ivy leagues cannot produce African revolutionaries nor promote African Internationalism–the Party and The Burning Spear newspaper do. These are the entities that embody the interests of the African working class and fight for a world where African Liberation is a tangible reality.
Liberation in our Lifetime!