In what is surely an unusual move, given that the Bush administration had no legal involvement in the case, the president announced his intention to file a brief challenging racial preferences in student admissions at the
Following Mr. Bush’s deft deployment of the Trent Lott affair to curry electoral favor with minorities, it appeared that, by taking a stand ostensibly against affirmative action, the president had done an about face. Or had he?
Anyone who suggests the
The problems of affirmative action, as libertarians will point out, are the peculiar province of state-controlled schools. In a free market for education, schools would be able to establish any admission criteria they like. If a school wants to give preference to African-American albinos, that’s the prerogative of private property. Predictably—although ironically—the ideology promoted in state-controlled schools is also responsible for producing a mentally monolithic population. This is to be expected when the state has the power to define and enforce politically correct diversity.
Politicking aside, a closer look at the Bush brief should quell denunciations from Democrats and minorities. Bush agrees that the American “Constitution makes it clear that people of all races must be treated equally under the law.” “Yet we know that our society has not fully achieved that ideal,” he equivocates. “Racial prejudice is a reality in
The prevalence of deep-seated racism the president infers from the fact that African-Americans lag behind whites in academic and socio-economic achievements. This, of course, is a post hoc error, one that most Americans thoroughly reject.
Upheld by Mr. Bush, this error is the central tenet of affirmative action. According to the president’s diversity doxology, justice is achieved when racial and ethnic groups are reflected in academia and in the professions in proportion to their presence in the larger population, an impossibility considering individual and age-long inter-group differences. Absent such representation, Mr. Bush concludes that racism reigns.
This non sequitur is even harder to sustain when considering the Asian minority, a minority that has had its own historical hardships. In professions and academic pursuits where mathematical precocity is a factor, Asians are overrepresented and consistently outperform whites. If underrepresentation signals oppression, then overrepresentation equally must reflect an unfair advantage. Surely justice demands that overrepresentation of any group, not only of white males, be similarly corrected by the state? (How about making the NBA reflect
Malaysian governments certainly adopted this logic toward their Chinese population, whose starting status as indentured laborers didn’t stop them from rising to dominate business, professions, and universities. To achieve “racial balance,” pro-Malaysian affirmative action laws were mandated in all government-controlled institutions.
Did not Hitler awaken to the same logic? In proportion to their numbers, Jews were also overrepresented in the economic and cultural life of
Bush refuses to second this; his brief shies away from addressing “the outer bounds of the Constitution,” but only the case in its narrowest sense. Since he accepts racial discrimination as a cause for African-Americans’ lag in achievement, the president intends to reject only the methods associated with this faulty formulation. Diversity directives are to go full throttle ahead so long as they are “racially-neutral.”
Mr. Bush’s “road map” includes encouraging schools to come up with racial cue cards such as “a statement people can make about whether they’ve overcome hardship.”
The Condi, (Andy) Card and Karl (Rove) Crack Team has achieved a triumph of triangulation. The Bush base, of which 92 percent is white, will swallow the bait, believing, as it did after the landmark 1978 case of Bakke, that quotas had been outlawed. Despite Bakke, universities continued to take race into account. Same in this case: With presidential approval, the Michigan point system will be palliated somewhat, but business as usual will see public funds diverted to other, less conspicuous, race-friendly recruiting methods, much to the glee of the “civil rights” industry. Mr. Bush’s appeasement of both sides, while further entrenching the politically correct and favored side, is a prime example of slimy Clintonian tactics.