I disagree with Abdi Nor Iftin’s July 5 “Through My Lens” opinion article, “Affirmative action ruling hurts immigrants and everyone else.” In that U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the use of race as a factor in college admissions was rejected, citing it as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment equal protection clause. The ruling helps, not hurts, those whose constitutional rights are once again protected in the college admissions process.

Iftin states that the ruling “undermines the need for a support system to aid Black and minority students.” Race-based affirmative action was a support system designed to aid some students while infringing on the constitutional rights of others. Not acceptable. The issue is not the well-intentioned motive of affirmative action, but the protection of the constitutional rights of all, regardless of race. The interpretation of the U.S. Constitution requires “color-blindness” and affirmative action cannot be reconciled with the rights guaranteed in the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

Iftin’s personal story and that of a former prime minister of Somalia are inspiring, but provide no justification for race-based affirmative action’s collision with the Constitution. Iftin’s criticism of legacy admissions is legitimate. Their use is being scrutinized and challenged, but as a defense for continuing affirmative action – two wrongs don’t make a right.

Iftin says that the affirmative action ruling “hurts this country.” How can equal protection under the law hurt a country or its people? The ruling helps all, including those for whom Iftin expresses such concern.

Nancy Chesley

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