Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke says she’s “deeply troubled” by remarks made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia during the oral argument for Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, “which could result in a decision invalidating programs intended to increase diversity at college and universities.”
Justice Scalia said: “There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less — a slower-track school where they do well.”
“I am deeply troubled by Justice Scalia’s false assumption that African Americans are less deserving of the opportunity to attend a prestigious college or university,” said Clarke, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn.
“This categorization of millions of people – millions of individuals – based on a stereotype that African American students are less qualified defies logic and does not represent reality,” she added. “The ideas expressed by Justice Scalia are reprehensible.”
Clarke said Scalia has attempted not only to diminish the intellect of African American students but also the value of historically Black colleges and universities and predominately Black institutions, such as Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn.
“These universities continue to provide excellent educational opportunities to millions of Americans of every race,” she said. “I urge Justice Scalia to apologize for his remarks. Racism, and these assumptions are racist, has no place in this country or its courts.”
At the same time, Clarke welcomed a statement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it will release demographic information from clinical trials used to evaluate prescription drugs, which often fail to include women and people of color.
The agency has created a website, Drug Trials Snapshots, that will include information on the sex, race and age of individuals who participated in clinical trials.
“Historically, women and people of color have been proportionally underrepresented in clinical trials for prescription drugs, consistent with the refusal of many medical professionals to recognize their health problems (doctors often refuse, for example, to provide adequate anesthesia and pain medication for African American and Latino patients),” Clarke said.
“As a result, complications sometimes have occurred in women and minorities because the permitted uses of prescription drugs are based on information that does not accurately represent the entire population,” she added.
“With the release of information about the participants in clinical trials, we will finally have the ability to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for studies that are not representative of the population of the United States,” continued Clarke, who, as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, included provisions in the Twenty-First Century Cures Act that will increase diversity at the FDA and the National Institutes of Health.
To access the Drug Trials Snapshots website, please visit www.fda.gov/