Affirmative action was the only reason MSNBC’s Joy Reid attended Harvard, the anchor insisted on Thursday.
Reid made the point while appearing on “All In with Chris Hayes” to comment on the US Supreme Court ruling that affirmative action in college admissions violated the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. While opposing the decision, Reid admitted that she benefited from affirmative action herself.
“I got into Harvard only because of affirmative action,” Reid said. “I went to a school no one had ever heard of in Denver, Colorado, in a small suburb. I didn’t go to Exeter or Andover. I didn’t have college test prep. I just happened to be really nerdy and smart and have really good grades and good SAT scores.”
She continued, “But someone came to Denver to look for me. A Harvard recruiter flew to Denver, and I met me up with her at the Village Inn Restaurant and did a pre-interview to pull me into Harvard. I was pulled in — affirmatively.”
The Supreme Court case arose after the accusation that Asian Americans students were being discriminated by being held to a higher standard compared to black or Hispanic students because of affirmative action. Several liberal personalities, however, have insisted that the decision will primarily benefit white students.
For example, after the decision, author Michael Harriot tweeted, “Before you begin your thinkpiece, the Supreme Court DID NOT strike down Affirmative Action. Admission preferences for legacies, donors, employee families and special recommendations are still allowed. The Court struck down Affirmative Action For everyone except WHITE PEOPLE.”
Reid did not reference the impact on Asian Americans but noted that her presence “was questioned by white people” at Harvard.
“I was in a big conference class where some white students stood up and said, ‘Those students, the black students, they’re only here because of affirmative action.’ It became a huge argument that we all ended up having,” Reid described.
She added, “I had never had my academic credentials questioned. I had never had anyone question whether I was intelligent — until I got to Harvard. And it was a defining point of my experience there. It was one of the many reasons I was miserable there my freshman year. You felt completely out of place. People kept telling me, ‘You shouldn’t be here.’ And yet, some of the people I went to school with were far less smart than me or the other black folks there.”
Other MSNBC personalities have also attacked the decision regarding affirmative action. MSNBC columnist Dean Obeidallah tweeted, “Next up the GOP’s Supreme ‘Court’ will strike down the Civil Rights Act to allow Jim Crow segregation to start again. Please don’t dismiss this as being over the top. This so called court ended reproductive freedom, gutted the Voting Rights Act and ended affirmative action.”
MSNBC legal analyst Charles Coleman argued, “When you’re limiting that, particularly in many respects based off of a misunderstanding or a disingenuous conversation about race, what you’re doing is you are limiting people’s access to the American Dream, and that is something that we have not really been honest about in our discussion.”