African-Americans see clearly now what they could lose with President Donald Trump in the White House, after a policy change on Tuesday answered his campaign question to Black voters, “what do you have to lose?” His administration reversed yet another Obama-era policy and raised concerns about what’s coming next.
The Trump administration rescinded President Barack Obama’s affirmative action guidelines on Tuesday, the New York Times reported. Under new guidance, the administration will encourage school superintendents and college presidents nationwide to apply “race-blind” admission standards.
This move stems from a U.S. Justice Department review that began in November, Devin M. O’Malley, a DOJ spokesman, explained. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had ordered an evaluation of Obama’s policy, which he believed went beyond the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court decisions.
In the end, the Sessions DOJ rescinded seven guidances on Tuesday from the Education Department’s civil rights division.
Civil rights groups criticized the administration’s decison. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) called it “yet another attack on the principles of equal access and opportunity.”
“Racial diversity is not only key to preparing our nation’s young people for the global economy, but it also exposes students to new ideas and perspectives, which are essential to a well-rounded education,” LDF added in a written statement.
Affirmative action’s future looks bleak. The Supreme Court, in 2016, approved the University of Texas’ method of using applicants’ race as a factor in its admission process. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy provided the swing vote that affirmative action advocates needed. Kennedy, however, announced in June that he’s retiring from the bench, which opens the door for Trump to nominate an anti-affirmative action judge to fill the vacancy.