Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Four More Days and a Six Page Essay

Today went off to an easy start with the overview of four cases: Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, Gratz v. Bollinger, Grutter v. Bollinger, and Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District

Out of all four cases, the case that peaked my interest the most was Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. In this case the petitioner, Alan Bakke, a white male, was denied admission to UC Davis Medical School on the grounds of is race. At the time UC Davis had reserved sixteen of one hundred spots for "qualified" minorities. Bakke found this system completely biased once he started noticing that minorities with lower GPA's and test scores were admitted. Furious, Bakke appealed his case to the lower courts and ended up going to the Supreme Court. Thankfully, the court ruled that UC Davis' racial affirmative action system violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I believe that the Supreme Court decided rightfully in this case as no individual should be deprived of their right to an education based on the color of their skin.

Central Park
Once the morning session concluded, we took a field trip down to the New York Historical Society to visit their exhibition on the battle for civil rights. After a quick lunch at the glorious Shake Shack, we took a short stroll through Central Park and straight to the New York Historical Society. Our guide, Ben, walked us into a small room filled with pictures from the historic Selma March. Once we all got ourselves situated, Ben spoke about how hard it was to just register to vote for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Southern states would issue mind boggling tests to both African Americans and under privileged whites during the time. These tests were purposely made to be extremely complicated in order to prevent these select group of people from voting. To our surprise, Ben had a sample of the actual test and gave us all copies to answer in ten minutes. These questions were said to be at "the 5th grade level", but these questions were just- stupid. The most confusing question for me was, "Spell backwards, forwards". Nobody was able to finish the test within the ten minute deadline, which left us all feeling extremely dumb and left behind. Once Ben went over the test, we all gave a sigh of relief after learning that there really was no right answer for each question. Sadly, the test graders during that time would grade and fail based off of whatever mistake they saw. For example, in the "forwards, backwards" question, the grader could grade not based on whether they spelled forwards backwards or backwards forwards, but maybe if they spelled the words "forwards backwards".

After that interesting quiz, Ben took us into another room filled with more photographs from the Selma march taken from both the point of view of the witness and the marcher. Once the short tour was over, we thanked Ben for his energetic take on the Civil Rights Movement and headed down to the subway back to Columbia.

Now here I am. I'm over 2,000 miles away from my home in a room that isn't even mine, writing a six paragraph essay on Bush v. Gore and the failing Electoral College. Not only do I have a paper to stress about, I also have an upcoming debate and quiz on my platter. Oh, isn't this wonderful?

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