The Man Who Replaced Bakke
Allan Bakke was U.S. Marine Corps officer and a NASA engineer. At age 35, he decided to go to medical school and applied to the University of California, Davis. He was rejected.
Bakke had a GPA of 3.51 and a 3.45 in the sciences. On the quantitative part of the MCAT, he scored 94 and exceeded that score with a 97 in the sciences.
Despite these outstanding qualifications and consideration that should have been given to him as a veteran, Bakke was rejected not once but twice.
The medical school accepted 100 students each year and set aside 16 slots for minorities. Bakke learned that lesser qualified minorities had been admitted in preference to him and sued the Regents of the University of California.
The court ordered Bakke admitted and said that the university had erred in creating an impermissible quota. But the court then, in a convoluted statement, said that while quotas were impermissible, race could be one of many factors that could be considered in admissions.
Anyone who has spent five minutes on an academic admissions committee knows that when race is a consideration, it is the only consideration.
With affirmative action being the glorified policy of liberal Democrats, whose white and economically privileged children never have to face its consequences, the student who replaced Bakke was hyped as a stellar example of the wonders of racial discrimination.
In April of 1996, Sen. Edward Kennedy uttered these regrettable and false words, “Affirmative action is not about promoting or hiring unqualified women and minorities… Affirmative action has paid enormous dividends.”
Kennedy then went on to showcase Dr. Patrick Chavis, allegedly the man who replaced Bakke. While Bakke had become a board-certified anesthesiologist in Minnesota, Dr. Chavis, Kennedy noted, was a successful ob-gyn in “central Los Angeles, serving a disadvantaged and community and making a difference in the lives of scores of poor families.”
It was not just Kennedy who was lionizing Dr. Chavis. He made the cover of the New York Times Magazine, was featured in the Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, and was lauded in the documentary Eyes on the Prize.
Affirmative Action had found its Young Lochinvar, a champion to slay the rabble of opposition to a policy that would prevent a hero from making a difference in the lives of the underserved. Chavis’s scores might not have come too close to Bakke’s, but Bakke was just another anesthesiologist while Chavez was serving the poor.
Indeed, Chavis was making a difference, but not in the ways the mainstream media had communicated to an unsuspecting public.
Having completed half a course in liposuction, Chavis went from being an ob-gyn specialist to practicing liposuction. While still basking in the warmth of media hype and just months after Edward Kennedy’s pean to Chavis as a defense of black racial privilege, he performed liposuction on 43-year-old Tammaria Cotton and killed her. Two other women came close to being killed at Chavis’s incompetent hands.
In 1997, the Medical Board of California suspended Chavis’s license, citing his “inability to perform some of the most basic duties required of a physician.” The board further noted Chavez’s insensitivity to patients’ pain. The board had access to a tape recording of patients screaming in agony while Chavez humiliated them.
Chavis did not administer emergency medical treatment to any of the three women.
Jeff Jacoby, of the Boston Globe, had revealed that Chavis’ training in liposuction had been a four-day course at an institute in Beverly Hills of which he attended only two days.
But the story does not end there. Reporter William McGowan in his book, Coloring the News: How Crusading for Diversity Has Corrupted American Journalism, revealed that the very mainstream media that launched Chavis as the poster child for affirmative action did not bother to tell the rest of Chavis’s story.
No one who has followed the mainstream media’s Russian collusion hoax, its reluctance to characterize the Antifa and Black Lives Matter riots as violent, or its total lack of interest in the content of Hunter Biden’s laptop will be shocked by McGowan’s revelations.
The media has a narrative to spin and Dr. Chavis served that narrative. When he didn’t, when his consecration as an affirmative action saint fell apart, the mainstream media felt no obligation to report the rest of the story. This was in no way going to resemble Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story, for the epilogue did not serve the liberal policy interests of the mainstream media.
Decades ago, President William Clinton called for a dialogue on race. That never happened. Instead, handpicked proponents of one point of view, on the racial issue, led what was, in essence, a racial monologue.
When a colleague of mine was invited to a community forum on race and publicly stated that white people were too intimidated to speak openly about their feelings about race, he was asked never to show up again. Yet, everyone in the room knew what he said was true.
The Supreme Court will hear cases alleging anti-Asian discrimination in admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. It is time for the SCOTUS to strike down the ambiguous ruling in Bakke that permits racial preference to be a factor in college admissions.
We can have a society based either on achievement or ascription. Despite the pretense, we cannot have both. You can produce an Allan Bakke, a competent, board-certified anesthesiologist, or you can produce a Patrick Chavis.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. Biographical information is for identification purposes only.