Jesse Watters tried to celebrate the Supreme Court’s rejection of affirmative action in college admissions without sounding like a bigot but his condescending animosity toward Blacks came through loud and clear.
Watters began his nearly 11-minute commentary by arguing that whites and Asians are discriminated against when colleges and universities make it easier for minorities to be accepted. “All discrimination is wrong,” Watters said approvingly in his summation of the court’s ruling.
I’ll let that go because I'm not here to dissect how affirmative action works, that would take up more time and expertise on the subject than I have. But it’s funny how I can’t recall Watters or any other Fox host expressing concern for Blacks who still face discrimination, much less spending 11 minutes in a commentary.
Watters made a big effort to sound reasonable, that he’s not against affirmative action because he’s prejudiced (even though he has brazenly displayed his bigotry on the air). But his racial animus was unmistakeable.
WATTERS: Clarence Thomas, reading again this quote: Individuals are the sum of their unique experiences, challenges and accomplishments. What matters is not the barriers they face, but how they choose to confront them. And their race is not to blame for everything good or bad that happens in their lives. A contrary myopic worldview based on individual skin color to the total exclusion of their personal choices is nothing short of racial determinism.
Watters took it from there:
WATTERS: Race does not determine your value and your success in life. We're all born with free will and we can decide how we live our lives. Black people aren't poor because they're black. There's poor black people and there’s poor white people, poor Asians and poor Hispanics. It's not the job of the judicial system to slow certain people down and speed others up.
Yet in his very next sentence, Watters indicated he’s just fine with discrimination favoring wealth, class and lineage, i.e. privileged white folks like himself – because everyone else can just work harder!
WATTERS: Some people are born with fathers who went to Harvard. Some people are born on third base. And some people are born with nothing and work their tail off and become billionaires. An administrator in Cambridge, Massachusetts, isn't God...
But taking a victory lap for privileged white folks wasn’t enough. Watters went on to do what every person on the Fox payroll does: weaponize the news. He attacked President Joe Biden and four Black members of the media for thinking the Supreme Court ruling is very bad.
But what would they know? Watters now gave them a generous dose of what clearly sees as his superior White Wisdom. While he was at it, he insulted Blacks as lesser-than students who didn’t really deserve admission.
WATTERS: Primetime acknowledges that many Black Americans are heartbroken by this decision. We understand that. Many Black Americans acknowledge that they never would have achieved a certain level of success if it hadn't been for affirmative action. They own the fact that they were admitted because they were Black. And maybe they didn't have the perfect application. And I'm sympathetic to that. I get it.
But a white person who's more qualified was discriminated against and didn't get in. And when you discriminate on race, some people win and some people lose. Do you want to discriminate against someone because of something they can't control, because of the way they were born?
And there's a big stigma when it comes to affirmative action. You can be the most qualified Black guy out there who got into Harvard on merit, and then got a great job at a school but in the back of your head you think, Is this because of the color of my skin?
Michelle Obama herself said that question nagged her.
That’s quite a disingenuous representation of what Michelle Obama said. Yes, she said the question nagged her but this graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School (who seems to have earned every bit of her academic success) also said, “[T]he fact is this: I belonged. And semester after semester, decade after decade, for more than half a century, countless students like me showed they belonged, too.” Furthermore, Mrs. Obama said that affirmative action had a positive effect on white students, too. She’s right about that. I know, because I grew up in white neighborhoods but went to schools that made a point of admitting Blacks.
Mrs. Obama also noted that plenty of wealthy, white kids benefit from a different kind of affirmative action:
Of course, students on my campus and countless others across the country were — and continue to be — granted special consideration for admissions. Some have parents who graduated from the same school. Others have families who can afford coaches to help them run faster or hit a ball harder. Others go to high schools with lavish resources for tutors and extensive standardized test prep that help them score higher on college entrance exams. We don’t usually question if those students belong. So often, we just accept that money, power, and privilege are perfectly justifiable forms of affirmative action, while kids growing up like I did are expected to compete when the ground is anything but level.
Isn’t it funny how Watters, while claiming to be interested in her perspective, left out those larger parts of it?
You can watch it below, from the June 29, 2023 Jesse Watters Primetime.
In the USA, blacks were enslaved as from the early 1600s, and they were systematically pushed to the back of the line after their emancipation in the mid-1800s. What’s that if not discrimination!
There’s no denying that Asians were sometimes mistreated in the USA (cf. the Japanese during WW2), but they were never treated like livestock. There’s a need for a lot more affirmative action to make up for that sort of discrimination and preferential access to higher education was at best a timid step in the right direction.