[Washington, D.C. June 29, 2023] – Today, the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC), the National Voice of Black Business, issued a public statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling to end affirmative action protections and race-based admissions practices in higher education. This decision portends wide-reaching ramifications for Black business owners and our communities’ challenges across the board.
In one of the most anticipated decisions this judicial term, the Supreme Court reversed more than 40 years of legal precedent that safeguarded affirmative action policies in higher education and related spheres designed to provide equitable access to opportunities for historically marginalized communities, including Black students and workers. This disappointing action ensures dire implications for Black Americans as related areas of the law that offer similar protections against discrimination will undoubtedly come under scrutiny and legal review in the future.
“Today’s decision from the nation’s highest court reinforces the deeply flawed systemic belief that all Americans, regardless of race, have equal access to opportunity and the American Dream,” said USBC President & CEO Ronald Busby, Sr. “Unfortunately, this belief is furthest from the truth as Black Americans face incredible challenges in nearly every sphere of public life, including housing, education, entertainment, the labor force, and small business ownership. Considering the history of our country, the intensely persistent gaps within these areas will be amplified by the lack of federal policies like affirmative action aimed at cementing diversity and inclusion as critical pillars in American life.”
“This ruling from the Supreme Court affirms our commitment to action,” said USBC Board of Directors Chairman Charles O’Neal. “Whatever fiction the majority on the Court and those opposed to affirmative action have allowed themselves to believe, there is NO Black person who was hired or admitted solely because of their race. Our continued commitment is to advocate for those policies and practices that level the proverbial playing field and open opportunities that have been denied BASED ON RACE. Today’s disappointing decision demonstrates a clear reversal of longstanding, hard-fought gains toward an equitable society.”
Notwithstanding compelling evidence illustrating the effectiveness and operability of the long-standing legal protections offered under affirmative action regulations, USBC believes the SCOTUS Justices set an extreme precedent that will likely give way to similar discrimination fights that can undermine private sector initiatives supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
According to research, the passage of California’s Proposition 209, a 20-year mandate barring racial preferences in college admissions, negatively impacted the number of Black freshmen at the University of California’s most selective campuses fell by half when the law first took effect. Evidence shows those numbers haven’t recovered in some cases. In a similar vein, the fallout of today’s affirmative action ruling will significantly challenge affirmative action regulations for private companies that fall under a nearly 60-year Executive Order signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson to strengthen private employers’ accountability and to hold government contractors to a higher standard for equal employment opportunity.
In considering the radiating effects of today’s ruling, USBC remains dedicated to upholding our mission to provide committed, visionary leadership, and advocacy in the realization of economic empowerment. We will continue to support the vast network of African American Chambers of Commerce and business organizations in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises through our resources and initiatives.