For many Black and brown students, real opportunity remains elusive. That’s why we must stay committed to the broader struggle for shared prosperity.
We live in a nation where an individual’s race and ethnicity can reliably predict college admissions and educational success. Racial disparities in higher education mirror American society and stem from the country’s long history of discrimination and outright oppression.
We are morally obligated to address these historical injustices.
With selective college admissions, considering race as a factor—along with grades, test scores, income, essays, recommendations, and other factors—has effectively promoted racial and ethnic diversity that benefits everyone for decades.
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to issue rulings in the Harvard University and University of North Carolina admissions cases, anxiety has heightened about the implications for achieving racial justice and equity in higher education, which creates economic opportunity and social mobility.
Those of us who want a higher education system that reflects—and strengthens—the nation must not allow the rulings to sabotage broader efforts to increase the share of Black, Hispanic, Latino, and Native American people with college degrees and other valuable credentials. Fairness should be our commitment regardless of whether community colleges, regional universities, minority-serving institutions, or the nation’s highly selective colleges and universities award the credentials.
For philanthropy, this means supporting work that creates opportunities for everyone by uplifting higher education’s essential role in fashioning a just society. At Lumina Foundation, we will continue to invest in comprehensive strategies that address immediate challenges the court’s rulings create and, eventually, eliminate racial barriers to earning college degrees and other credentials of value.
In a society where critics of social progress mobilize on fear, the real risk is responding to what the court might say hesitantly—or even retreating. No court ruling should keep us from boldly doing the right thing.