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Affirmative action ruling for Michigan

Lest anyone fear the country has taken a step backwards toward Plessy v. Ferguson with the recent court ruling allowing a Michigan ban on affirmative action, it is important to assess how much progress there really still is.
Obviously, if you had a choice between two cars that each got thirty miles per gallon, but one got that mileage on overall level roads and the other went downhill the whole time you would prefer the one tested on the level. Everyone can agree to that much.
Where disputes often occur elsewhere is about what is level and how exactly to ensure it is.
For example, does affirmative action "coddle" anyone? If two prospective employees each have a degree, but one went to a college with affirmative action, was he coddled? Was his run downhill? Or was it on the level?
Notice the minority prospective employee who graduated from the college without affirmative action does not have that problem. The employer can assume the applicant was not coddled since the program that might do that does not appear to exist.
Studies abound that indicate colleges with affirmative action graduate more minority students. Where are the studies though that show those degrees are as valuable? Is there a trade off between quantity and quality?
With so many successful minority graduates from colleges without affirmative action, are those graduates perhaps opposing affirmative action for their own reasons? Do they fear that affirmative action would degrade their own hard won degrees?
The sharpest disagreement over affirmative action appears to be whether it will always be necessary rather than whether it ever was. Many believe it was necessary at some point.
Maintaining it has become the issue. As seen here, it might cause more doubt about level playing fields than it makes any level.
Maintaining it presupposes some persistent trouble, and what is that? If it is persistent, is it realistic to believe there is any good solution, affirmative action or otherwise?
Difficult as all these questions are, and disturbing as the recent court ruling might be to some, something is very clear. While disagreement about how to treat people equally still happens there is an apparent, earnest and majority effort to treat them equally.

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