Statement from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee on the Overturn of Affirmative Action

Washington, D.C. | | June 29, 2023 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is profoundly disheartened by the recent decision of the US Supreme Court to overturn affirmative action in the cases of Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina. Today, the Supreme Court declared that the legacy left by centuries of institutional and legal discrimination has disappeared. We disagree. That legacy continues to stunt the growth of the Arab American community.

Since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, the very bill which established affirmative action struck down by the Court today, Arab Americans have been direct and collateral beneficiaries of affirmative action. It was that very bill that dismantled the racist and restrictive immigration quotas, allowing for the longest sustained period of growth of Arab immigrants in this nation’s history.

By enshrining diversity on college campuses, affirmative action has fostered an environment of mutual understanding and respect, bridging gaps between different communities and cultures. It has also spurred the creation of new areas of study and programs dedicated to the study of Arab Americans, and ones which placed Middle East studies in the proper context and history.

As Arab Americans are on the cusp of finally being identified as a distinct ethnic group, our community was poised to access vital minority contracts and business considerations, which could be endangered by the effects of this ruling. However, this Supreme Court decision undermines these advancements. It threatens to perpetuate disparities and halt the progress we have collectively made toward true inclusivity and equality.

ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub said, “Alongside our fellow civil rights organizations, we underscore that this decision is limited to just one aspect of college admissions. It cannot and should not disturb our commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The ADC is committed to opposing this regressive decision. We will continue to work with communities of color and other historically marginalized people to tear down barriers to opportunity and ensure that pathways to higher education and leadership are open to all. Our democracy demands no less.”

Together, we can and will challenge this decision, uphold the principles of diversity and inclusivity, and continue to make progress toward a more equitable society.

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