What Is the Trump in Race and Affirmative Action?

The New York Times OP-ED Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Speed of Ascent, by David Brooks

“The Supreme Court didn’t exactly shock the world on Monday. But, by imposing stricter standards on how courts review affirmative action plans, the court did send another small signal that the era of explicitly race-based affirmative action is coming to an end…

So affirmative action gave us some wildly good and unfortunately negative outcomes, and it stirred up fierce debates. But that’s not why these racial preferences are going away.  They are going away because underlying realities have changed.

First, economic inequality now trumps racial inequality as the chief source of disadvantage… now the income gap is nearly twice (as) large as the race gap.  Given this, explicitly race-baced affirmative action just doesn’t respond to the needs of the moment…

We now have the means to measure speed of ascent in a fairer and better way. Explicit, raced-based affirmative action programs weren’t wrong for their time, but they are being replaced.”

Trump can be a verb as in the sentence above or a noun.  Its derivation is from a declared trump in cards, which when played wins over another card.   For example, if hearts are declared trump in a game of bridge:  My king of hearts trumps your ace of spades.

David Brooks, distinguished columnist on the New York Times OP-ED page, supports his thesis with specifc examples.  However, it is not the place for this blog to quote entire columns, but to point out how sports and games idioms are used in the media.

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