A blow to affirmative action in the U.S.
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that race-based admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina were unconstitutional. The decision means that elite campuses in the U.S. that have sought to increase diversity among their students are likely to become less Black and Latino.
“This was a momentous decision,” said my colleague Anemona Hartocollis, who covers American higher education. “We don’t know exactly how it will play out except that we know that the traditional way of doing things is over.”
The ruling was decided 6-3 by the court’s conservative majority. Chief Justice John Roberts said that race-conscious admission programs “unavoidably employ race in a negative manner” and “involve racial stereotyping.”
In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that “the devastating impact of this decision cannot be overstated.” The court, she added, was “further entrenching racial inequality in education, the very foundation of our democratic government and pluralistic society.”
Asian American admissions have been at the core of this debate. For years, applicants have downplayed their identity to appear “less Asian.” The plaintiffs accused Harvard of systematically discriminating against Asian Americans for years by using a subjective standard to gauge traits, like likability.
What’s next: The ruling could drastically alter admissions processes across the U.S. and prompt employers to rethink how they consider race in hiring.
Reactions: Criticizing the decision, President Biden said this was “not a normal court” and directed the Education Department “to analyze what practices can build a more inclusive and diverse” student body. Republicans running for president applauded the ruling.
France protests a police killing
The killing of a teenager in a Paris suburb has reignited anger in France at police violence, especially against people of color.
A police officer who fatally shot the 17-year-old driver on Tuesday was detained on homicide charges. The killing set off rioting in more than a dozen cities.
But the authorities were bracing for further demonstrations, with about 40,000 officers deployed to quell potential riots across the country — a major increase from the 9,000 the night before. At least 180 people have been arrested.
Public anger over the shooting was compounded by initial accounts in the French news media, based on anonymous police sources, that said the teenager had plowed into officers during a traffic stop. But a video appeared to contradict that claim.
Victim: He was identified as Nahel M., a French citizen of Algerian and Moroccan descent. He was an only child being raised by his mother, who took part in a march yesterday in Nanterre, the suburb where he was killed.
Background: In recent years, beatings and deaths in custody have led to heightened scrutiny of police tactics. Some lawmakers argue that a 2017 law that made it easier for officers to fire at moving vehicles should be repealed or at least revised.
How Shein’s influencer plan backfired
The fast-fashion brand Shein is facing a backlash after bringing influencers to China to tour its factories, hoping they would post upbeat narratives about the company.
The company, which was founded in China but is now based in Singapore, has been grappling with accusations that it uses forced labor. Shein and the social media creators have been roundly blasted in the past week by users who viewed the videos incredulously.
“They weren’t even sweating,” one creator posted to Instagram and TikTok. As creators sought to tell their followers that they interviewed happy workers, users left comments like “integrity is worth more than a trip.”
Shein issued a statement saying it was “saddened” to see the response.
THE LATEST NEWS
My colleagues gained rare access to a military field hospital in eastern Ukraine. Their striking 20-minute documentary captures the relentless toll of Russia’s war through the eyes of frontline combat medics and wounded soldiers.
“They’re not just defending their country,” Yousur Al-Hlou, a Times videojournalist, told The Morning. “They’re defending their families’ lives and their own lives.”
The scenes are graphic. I urge you to watch the video anyway. It intimately shows the pain and sacrifice of the fight.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Fooling A.I. detection tools
Computers powered by artificial intelligence can generate startlingly lifelike images that can trick humans (like one of the Pope in a puffer coat). A group of new companies now offer tools to detect what is a real photo and what’s not. They use sophisticated algorithms to see beyond what humans can, but they can still be fooled.
The Times tested five services using more than 100 images, both synthetic and real. At least one service was fooled by the images on the right, while all five were tricked by the picture of a giant on the left.