The U.S. government values Black people when we serve in their wars, but not enough to invest in our education.

by Kinjo Kiema, In These Times

In late June, the Right won a decades-long fight to overturn affirmative action when the Supreme Court ruled, in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, that considering race in college admissions violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The case that ultimately landed before the court’s 63 right-wing majority was brought by Students for Fair Admissions, a conservative group that for years has challenged the admissions policies of schools like Harvard and the University of North Carolina. Across the country, conservatives cheered.

But buried in a seemingly small footnote in the decision was a caveat that is just as telling about race and opportunity in America. In Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion, the Supreme Court allowed race-based admissions to continue in one place — military academies, which the Court declared have ​distinct” and ​compelling interests” that warrant an exception.

African American soldiers during the Korean War.

The decision’s finding that affirmative action is acceptable in the military, but nowhere else, encapsulates how the United States has never seen Black people as full citizens: declaring we aren’t worthy of educational investment, but are worth training to die in U.S. wars. It also demonstrates how for Black people, the opportunities offered by the military can amount to a no-win situation.

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