The University of Texas at Austin was one of my top two choices for college since I was 12 years old. I'd learned about the school in part because I was born in Texas and everyone knows the Longhorns and in part because, in South Carolina, there was a computer program that provided information about colleges you should attend based on a personalized test measuring your skills and interest called SCOIS.
No one in my immediate family graduated from a four-year college, and we grew up poor, so I knew it would take a lot of hard work and dedication to both attend UT-Austin and to find a way to pay for it.
So that's what I did. I put my head down and worked my ass off all through middle and high school, graduated near the top of my class, participated in a ton of extra-curricular activities and groups like the marching band and cross-country team, and found myself the recipient of over $100,000 in college scholarships.
Was race a factor in my admissions to the University of Texas? Not directly. I graduated far inside the top 10% of my high school class.
But the top 10% rule itself is a good method to remove at least some racial barriers from the college admissions process, and that is how I was granted automatic admissions to this great public university.
Today, I'm happy with the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold UT's admissions policy which attempts, however difficult, to account for at least one additional and important non-academic factor in determining its student body.
America has a long way to go and this Supreme Court desperately needs more empathy and compassion for those who have it the hardest in this country going forward, but today was a big win.
I am not a fan of quotas, but I am a lifelong fan of progress. We must pursue progress, particularly in our educational institutions, even in the face of a false belief in meritocracy and post-racism.