Racial preferences through the back door

On Tuesday, Michigan voters will be considering  the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, a ballot measure that would make it unlawful for public employers, public contractors and public schools, to discriminate or grant preferential treatment on the basis of race, ethnicity, skin color, gender or national origin. The initiative was spearheaded by Jennifer Gratz, a white woman who was denied admission to the University of Muchigan and took her lawsuit to the Supreme Court, which ruled the university had violated the constitution, but still allowed that some use of racial factors was justified.

Calfornia's Ward Connerly, who led  the similar Proposition 209 to passage in California 10 years ago, has been assisting her, and the San Francisco Chronicle is covering his efforts as an outside agitator. Of course, they don't use that term, but a bit of nuance may be there.

Civil rights groups like the NAACP and the Urban League have visited Michigan in recent weeks to oppose the initiative. And experts from UC Berkeley have gone to speak about the dropping proportion of African American students in California's public colleges and universities and the impact the ban has had on admissions at law and medical schools.

The article makes no mention of the efforts of some of these same groups in California, supplemented by academic insiders, to subvert if not flout the law in California. In a separate story on a separate day, the Chron reports in a deadpan tone on a conference at UC Berkeley of those who think we still need a butcher's thumb on the scale when it comes to certain special minorities getting into the elite campuses of the University of California system.

The University of California disproportionately serves the state's highest—income, best—educated families, and UC needs to look beyond test scores so high—school graduates from all backgrounds get a fair chance of being admitted, say two faculty reports released Friday.

UC should consider dramatically cutting the number of freshman applicants guaranteed admission because their high—school grades and UC eligibility test scores are highest, the reports say.

At the same time, the university should drastically increase the number of slots awarded after a comprehensive review of all applications from students with at least a C average on UC—required prep courses, the reports say.

Comprehensive review of a broader applicant pool would point up such qualities as leadership and "spark," according to one report, which argues that such factors are better predicters than SAT scores of a student's success....

Why on earth should admission to the most demanding and rigorous campuses be presumed to be a matter of distributional equity? It is a matter of who can understand, master, and use the education, not a matter of handing out benefits to aggreived constituencies.

Membership on the Berkeley football team is not regarded as a matter of distributional equity. Where is the state's large Asian American population when it comes to the Cal Bears, who are Rose Bowl hopefuls this year? Cal and UCLA are playing Saturday and it will be broadcast on ABC for the nation to see. Please keep a count of all the Asian American players you see on the field. It won't be too demanding. Asian Americans constitute almost half the students at the two highly competitive campuses — because of their hard work and intelligence, not because they were handed a boon by an all—caring goverment.

The same goes for the football teams. The members were selected because of their excellence. I want to have future surgeons, lawyers, engineers, and philosophers gradauted by schools comprised of the best and the brightest, not some C—average students with hard luck stories.

If the football teams were selected on the racial distribution theory, nobody would be hjarmed the way an incompetent surgeon or engineer can cause harm. But nobody dares suggest such a system for football teams because the incompetence would be visible to everyone watching on TV and in the stadia, and there would be consequences.

The people have spoken in California, as they will speak in Michigan next week. The elitists who condescend to certain minorities by the bigotry of lower expectations insult the voters, subvert the law, and damage higher education and society through their intended back door manipulation of the admissions systems. They are despicable, yet self—righteous.

I hope Michganders follow California and Washington State, and pass this initiative. It is time to say "no" to the racial engineers and their racism.

Thomas Lifson  11 2 06

On Tuesday, Michigan voters will be considering  the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, a ballot measure that would make it unlawful for public employers, public contractors and public schools, to discriminate or grant preferential treatment on the basis of race, ethnicity, skin color, gender or national origin. The initiative was spearheaded by Jennifer Gratz, a white woman who was denied admission to the University of Muchigan and took her lawsuit to the Supreme Court, which ruled the university had violated the constitution, but still allowed that some use of racial factors was justified.

Calfornia's Ward Connerly, who led  the similar Proposition 209 to passage in California 10 years ago, has been assisting her, and the San Francisco Chronicle is covering his efforts as an outside agitator. Of course, they don't use that term, but a bit of nuance may be there.

Civil rights groups like the NAACP and the Urban League have visited Michigan in recent weeks to oppose the initiative. And experts from UC Berkeley have gone to speak about the dropping proportion of African American students in California's public colleges and universities and the impact the ban has had on admissions at law and medical schools.

The article makes no mention of the efforts of some of these same groups in California, supplemented by academic insiders, to subvert if not flout the law in California. In a separate story on a separate day, the Chron reports in a deadpan tone on a conference at UC Berkeley of those who think we still need a butcher's thumb on the scale when it comes to certain special minorities getting into the elite campuses of the University of California system.

The University of California disproportionately serves the state's highest—income, best—educated families, and UC needs to look beyond test scores so high—school graduates from all backgrounds get a fair chance of being admitted, say two faculty reports released Friday.

UC should consider dramatically cutting the number of freshman applicants guaranteed admission because their high—school grades and UC eligibility test scores are highest, the reports say.

At the same time, the university should drastically increase the number of slots awarded after a comprehensive review of all applications from students with at least a C average on UC—required prep courses, the reports say.

Comprehensive review of a broader applicant pool would point up such qualities as leadership and "spark," according to one report, which argues that such factors are better predicters than SAT scores of a student's success....

Why on earth should admission to the most demanding and rigorous campuses be presumed to be a matter of distributional equity? It is a matter of who can understand, master, and use the education, not a matter of handing out benefits to aggreived constituencies.

Membership on the Berkeley football team is not regarded as a matter of distributional equity. Where is the state's large Asian American population when it comes to the Cal Bears, who are Rose Bowl hopefuls this year? Cal and UCLA are playing Saturday and it will be broadcast on ABC for the nation to see. Please keep a count of all the Asian American players you see on the field. It won't be too demanding. Asian Americans constitute almost half the students at the two highly competitive campuses — because of their hard work and intelligence, not because they were handed a boon by an all—caring goverment.

The same goes for the football teams. The members were selected because of their excellence. I want to have future surgeons, lawyers, engineers, and philosophers gradauted by schools comprised of the best and the brightest, not some C—average students with hard luck stories.

If the football teams were selected on the racial distribution theory, nobody would be hjarmed the way an incompetent surgeon or engineer can cause harm. But nobody dares suggest such a system for football teams because the incompetence would be visible to everyone watching on TV and in the stadia, and there would be consequences.

The people have spoken in California, as they will speak in Michigan next week. The elitists who condescend to certain minorities by the bigotry of lower expectations insult the voters, subvert the law, and damage higher education and society through their intended back door manipulation of the admissions systems. They are despicable, yet self—righteous.

I hope Michganders follow California and Washington State, and pass this initiative. It is time to say "no" to the racial engineers and their racism.

Thomas Lifson  11 2 06